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Stella Margaret May McStravick

October 25, 1918 — November 25, 2022

Monroe, LA

Stella Margaret May McStravick

Stella was born on October 25, 1918 at the May family home 710 N. 5th St. The youngest of five children, she was known as “baby” throughout her early life. Tragically, her mother, Phonie Thomas May passed away unexpectedly when Stella was just a little over 5 years old. Mr. Frank May, now widowed and father to 5 children, worked in the hardware business that required his traveling out of town at times. He needed help. Mrs. Tennessee Thomas, the children’s grandmother, moved from Arkansas to raise the May children. She taught young Stella Margaret the values of faith and family that would carry her through her long life. The loss of their mother and the presence of their grandmother gave all the May children a strong bond to one another: Frances (Guthrie), Thomas, Jack, and Kathryn (Jenkins) all preceded Stella in death.

With their individual and collective lives a remarkable example was set of what a loving family could be.

Stella attended Monroe Public Schools, graduating from Neville High School in 1935 and Northeast Junior College in the class of 1937. Her first job was with Crescent Drilling Company, owned by Mr. Harold Woods, where, soon after her hiring, she lost the company bank deposit book on DeSiard St. during her lunch hour. After nervously confessing to Mr. Woods, she was forgiven and continued to work in the office, where she later met Leo McStravick, who became her husband in 1941 prior to his departure for duty in WWII.

In the winter of 1946, the family home burned, displacing the 6 family members that lived there. Stella, husband, and their first child moved into a garage apartment until April 1947, when they moved back into the rebuilt house now located on Hilton Street, where she lived for the remainder of her life, and where she died peacefully, Friday, November 25.

Stella worked for and retired in 1993 from the United Way.

She is survived by sons Leo (wife Melanie) of Monroe and Frank (wife Faye) of New Orleans, grandchildren Sarah Kuenstler (Husband Paul) of London, UK, Colin McStravick (wife Leslie) of Eugene, OR, great-grandchildren: Nicholas Kuenstler, Henry Kuenstler, and Paige Stella McStravick. Nieces and nephews: Kathryn Caldwell, Carolyn Allman, Douglas Jenkins, Frances Jones, Anne May Erwin, Dr. Cary Robertson and Ginny Robertson.

Because she outlived her husband and all of her contemporaries, many of whom were lifelong friends, it became very meaningful to her that their children and others of a younger group became close to her in her later years, particularly Ellen Breed, Susan Nenney, and Anna Rowan. She treasured their visits, phone calls, and cards. They, as well as others, enjoyed Stella’s Chocolate Sheet Cake on birthdays and home made fudge at Christmas. Because of them, as well as her positive spirit, one could say Stella died young at 104.

She loved all living things and recognized that connection to us.

Stella was an active member and cared deeply for the mission and members of PEO.

Particular thanks to Trey Burton, friend and caregiver, as well as to Cleveland Burton, who was always there to help. We acknowledge and are grateful for the nurses and CNAs of Heart of Hospice, particularly Katie Robinson R.N. and CNA LaTonya Jackson.

If considering a donation, please consider donations to the NE LA Food Bank in Stella’s name.

“She longest lives who most to others gives, herself forgetting.”


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Stella Margaret May McStravick, please visit our flower store.


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