Anita Stoltz, 92, of Pacific, Missouri, passed away Friday, March 10, 2023 in St. Louis County. She was for 72 years the beloved wife of Robert Stoltz, mother of Jane (Terry) Pursley, John (Sandra) Stoltz, Martha (John) Useted, Nancy (Tracy) Fulkerson, and Daniel (Deanna) Stoltz, grandmother of 16, great grandmother of 28, and a cherished aunt and friend to so many whose lives are less bright today, but so immeasurably enriched for having shared in her life.
Anita was born September 22, 1930, in Robertsville, Missouri, the eighth and last surviving child of George and Edna Stuhlmann. The family moved to a nearby farm when she was very young. There she learned the resourcefulness, independence, and other traits she put to use for the rest of her long life.
While Anita’s formal education concluded with her graduation as the valedictorian of the Pacific High School class of 1948, she never tired of learning new things. She enjoyed traveling and loved to read, and her expansive memory allowed her to recall details with which she enlivened the stories she told her family. Her telling, seasoned throughout with hand gestures, facial expressions, and onomatopoeia, improved even (and perhaps especially) those stories whose events her listeners experienced firsthand. For all that she shared and wrote down over the years, a lot of knowledge was lost with her passing.
Following her graduation, Anita lived for a time with her sister in St. Louis City, and worked in the office at the Alligator Oil Clothing Company in the Bevo Mill neighborhood. In 1949, she became engaged to Robert Stoltz, whose hand she took in marriage on May 27, 1950 and held as she released her final breath. In their early years, among other enjoyments, they loved to go square dancing.
Anita and Robert raised their five children in a farmhouse near Pacific, where she cooked, baked, gardened, canned, milked cows, drove the truck in the hay field, enjoyed the birds, and created a space that would always feel like home to her family, even as their numbers grew too large for it to comfortably accommodate at one time. She found joy in thrift, making clothes for her children out of patterned cotton flour sacks, and she loved feeding her family. Anita made holidays and birthdays special for children of all ages. She organized Easter egg hunts and took delight in coming up with riddles, rhymes, and clever clues. No pun was too silly for her. Her family will miss her quick and often unexpected wit, and took comfort in its undiminished presence even in her last days.
In addition to her family, of chief importance to Anita was the community at Catawissa Union Church, which she attended from her childhood on the farm. She and Robert were married there, and attended Sunday services there for the rest of her life. She enjoyed quilting and participating in other activities through the church’s Ladies’ Aid Society, taught Sunday school for many years, and sang in the choir. Her favorite hymns were “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” and “Love Lifted Me,” which was the first song for which she discovered she could sing in harmony.
She shared and demonstrated her faith in God in her actions and words. During the years of her marriage, Anita cared for Robert’s grandmother and mother, as well as her own parents. She called and visited those who were homebound or lonely, and kept up contact with individuals from all stages of her life. It mattered to Anita that people be shown encouragement. She knew people as individuals and showed her care for them in an individual way. She knew what to say and how to say it to be encouraging and comforting to a person who had been visited by loneliness, sadness, or pain.
Anita was a modest person who didn’t like having attention brought to herself. But her life of service and caring, both public and private, was and shall remain an inspiration to her family and all who knew and loved her. She is already so missed, but her family takes comfort in the knowledge that she knew just how much she was loved, and how much her love was felt, while she was with them.
Anita’s visitation will take place Tuesday, March 14, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Nieburg-Vitt Thiebes Funeral Home, 231 Union Street, Pacific, MO 63069. Her funeral will take place Wednesday, March 15, at 10:00 am at Catawissa Union Church, 1086 McKissock Avenue, Catawissa, MO 63015 at the intersection of Wild Plum Valley and Highway N, with burial and lunch to follow.
Memorials may be sent in memory of Anita Stoltz to Catawissa Union Church, P.O. Box 208, Catawissa, MO 63015, or Mitchell Cemetery c/o Charlene Alt, 1701 Denton Road, Pacific, MO 63069.