Thelma Catherine Stanley, 94, Carmel and formerly of Kokomo, passed away Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. She was born Feb. 7, 1918, in Prairie Township, the second of seven daughters to Edith (Pavey) Wright and Jesse Wright. She graduated from high school there in 1936. On March 14, 1937, she eloped with (Paul) Merton Stanley. Sustaining the effects of the Depression, they spent their first few years living with his paternal grandfather then Merton’s parents, Audra Mae (McAfee) and Charles Archie Stanley. Thelma’s mother passed away when Thelma was in her late 20s, and she always loved her mother-in-law as her own mother.
Her life was focused on her husband, children and making a lovely home. The meals were always ones that she had prepared herself “from scratch.” Her thoughts were always what she could do for her family to care for them and make them happy. She also worked at several places, including L.S. Ayres, during their building years whenever it was necessary to help the family financially. She was a selfless, nurturing person who never wanted to inconvenience anyone, as she always put others first.
Throughout her life, she supported her husband’s career as an attorney, Circuit Court judge, chairman of the Public Service Commission of Indiana, Indiana state senator, as well as involvement in numerous community organizations. She was active in several organizations, including church, Psi Iota Xi, and Legislative Wives. They had many friends in Kokomo and Indianapolis, where they enjoyed many evenings of dinners, canasta, and bridge, and always had a great fondness for their friends in their church groups. She and her husband also established two perpetual scholarships at Indiana University Kokomo.
She had definite creative and artistic talents, including decorating their homes, creating cloth-lined and ornamented handbags from baskets, sewing clothes for her children and grandchildren, knitting, creating many pottery pieces, and she loved painting with oils.
She was a beautiful person, who will always be remembered as having a wonderful and easy laugh, and a deep love and pride for her family. To her, the most important word in her life was “family.”
She leaves behind her husband of 75½ years, Merton Stanley; daughter (Zonda) Kay Emmert and husband Clayton Emmert, Hilton Head Island, S.C.; and son, Paul Merton Stanley Jr., Terre Haute; grandchildren, Stephanie Emmert, Bradford Emmert and wife Claudia, all from Hilton Head Island, S.C., Gregory Stanley and wife Kim, Westfield, and Sherry Stanley, Louisville, Ky.; and great-grandchildren, Payton and Carson Stanley, Reimi and Sashi Escobar, and Clayton Emmert. Also surviving are her sister, Alma Newby and sister and brother-in-law, Rosemary and George Wisehart, Russiaville; and many nieces and nephews.
Sisters preceding her in death are Gertrude Waters, Reba Morrow, Phyllis Miller and Carol Durr.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 2000 W. Jefferson St., with Jim Davis and Pastor Joyce Harris officiating. Visitation will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Shirley and Stout Funeral Home, 1315 W. Lincoln Road, and 10 a.m. until the time of service at the church on Saturday. Entombment will follow in Sunset Memory Gardens Mausoleum.
Memorial contributions can be made to First Evangelical Presbyterian Church or to the Thelma and Merton Stanley Scholarship Fund at Indiana University. Condolences can be left at stoutandson.com.