Jean Ann Stanlake
August 28, 1945 – May 14, 2020
Jean Ann (Hambrick) Stanlake was taken from this earth sooner than she or her family expected on May 14, 2020.
Born at the end of WWII in Oklahoma City to Arvil Fred Hambrick, Sr., and Offie “Bobbie” (Wheat) Hambrick, Jean enjoyed being the first member of her family born north of the Red River. As a child, she spent her days both tormenting and idolizing her brother, Fred, Jr., who was 10 years her senior. Through him, she discovered her love of music and playing the piano, later serving as the pianist in Oklahoma City’s Valley View Baptist Church, where Fred pastored. She continued serving as both a pianist and organist in other churches throughout her youth.
Jean attended Oklahoma City University, where she met Gary Stanlake (an exotic Californian) at a Valentine’s Day party hosted by the Baptist Student Union. Even though they were too shy to ask the other’s name, Gary and Jean demonstrated their compatibility as they beat everyone that night in doubles table tennis. From that day forward, Gary and Jean forged their life together, marrying during the Summer of Love, enduring Gary’s deployment to Vietnam, and holding close to one another through the early deaths of Jean’s beloved parents.
Upon graduation, Jean began teaching at Linwood Elementary in Oklahoma City. Gary returned from Vietnam and commenced his studies for a doctorate in microbiology from OU. They welcomed their first child, daughter Christy, into the world as Gary finished his Ph.D. and Jean completed her M.A. in Teaching from OCU. That devotion to education would continue to shape their lives and inspire their family’s second generation. The little family of three, along with their menagerie of pets, moved across country from Oklahoma to Pueblo, CO; to Ithaca, NY; and to Abilene, TX, where they took root, as Gary began his tenure at Hardin-Simmons University. The Stanlake family was made whole upon the joyous arrival of their second daughter, Melissa (Missy). In Abilene, Jean’s love of teaching inspired hundreds of students from Wiley Baptist Day Care, where she served as Director; to Calvary Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday School; to Reagan Elementary; and finally, to Bassetti Elementary, where she taught fifth grade until her retirement. In honor of Jean’s commitment to her students’ young lives, The Abilene Education Council and Chamber of Commerce named her Abilene Teacher of the Year in 2001. After her retirement, Jean continued to share her gifts by teaching literacy classes for Congolese Refugees through First Baptist Church of Abilene, and serving as a volunteer docent for the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL). Jean and Gary’s devotion to education continues through the lives of their beloved niece, Dr. Margaret Hambrick, Ph.D., Professor of Communications at Florida Gulf Coast University; and treasured daughters, Dr. Christy Stanlake, Ph.D., Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy; and Dr. Melissa Stanlake DeFilippis, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas.
As empty nesters, Jean and Gary indulged their adventurous spirits and reveled in nature’s beauty, pulling their Casita trailer to campsites across the United States and into Canada. They celebrated the births of their cherished grandnephews, grandnieces, and grandchildren, eventually moving to Annapolis, Maryland, after Gary’s retirement to be closer to family. The couple hosted magical family Christmases in their mountain cabin in Pagosa Springs, CO. Everywhere Jean made her home, she created a world of peace and beauty, using her artistic talent to lovingly craft every inch of her physical world. We honor her for bringing that same level of care into the hearts of all who know her through her deep well of compassion and her attention to the meaningful details of each person’s story. Jean embodied the teachings of Jesus Christ our Savior through her unconditional love of all people, and all creatures great and small. The purity of her heart and her ability to see each person in his or her best light made each person she touched feel special. She continues this selflessness by giving the gift of life to strangers through organ donation. Jean will be dearly missed by all who loved her, including her family: her sweetheart, Gary Stanlake; her daughters and sons in law, Christy Stanlake and Judah Nyden, and Missy and Nick DeFilippis; her little lambs, Mason DeFilippis, Aubrey Nyden, Kattrin Nyden, and Adeline Jean DeFilippis; her sisters in law, Lola Hambrick and Donna Kerr; and her nieces and nephews, Margaret Hambrick, Greta Beaver, Brian Kerr, Wade Hambrick, Michael Kerr, Allen Hambrick, and their families.
A memorial service celebrating Jean’s life must be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her internment will be in the Houston National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in her memory to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or a charity of your choosing.