Gisela Stahlschmidt Tibbets, 98, of Darrington, WA, passed away January 14, 2016 in Everett, WA. “Nell” or “Nellie,” was born to Oskar and Magdalena (Wollschlager) Stahlschmidt in Comfort, TX on September 28, 1917.
At the age of 9 she moved with her mother and siblings to Live Oak, CA, where she graduated from high school in 1936. She moved to Modoc County, CA to take her first job as cook at the Bayley Dorris ranch. On November 17, 1936 she married John L. “Jack” Tibbets in Alturas, CA and began her married life helping Jack manage John and Mary Faulkner’s ranch up Parker Cr. During a flood of the Pit River on December 11, 1937, their daughter Merlene was born,
with sons Martin following in 1942 and James in 1946. While Jack was in the Navy she worked at the Steak House, for Mrs. Bolaude at Alturas Steam Laundry, and for Katie Neer, Marvel Sloss, and Grace Drown, among others. She was an absolute whiz at washing shirts without popping off the buttons in the wringer washer, and ironed clothing with a finesse and artistry we all still are in awe of—probably as a result of mastering the mangle at the Steam Laundry.
Though she lived most of her life in other places, Modoc was always “home” in her heart, but she always jumped right into life wherever she went. Darrington, WA was their home from 1949 to 1959, where she was active in her family’s and community concerns. Elk River, ID is where she spent her career with US Postal Service, retiring as Postmaster in 1985. She was a member of the Mail Handlers Union. She spent many happy days fishing, hiking, gardening, and with family and friends, serving on the School Board and many other community activities. When Elk River’s winters became too long and icy, she relocated to western Washington to be near her daughter, in a milder climate. She could actually raise flowers year-round! She was a resident at Laurie House at the time of her passing, where she luxuriated in the loving care of Julie and Marc Ford, Angel, Allie Joanne and Josie.
Her husband Jack and her parents preceded her in death, along with all her siblings, Odin, Sig, Baldur and Alarich Stahlschmidt and Don Stahl, as well as her daughter-in-law Debbie Tibbets, son-in-law Tom Buller; niece Shayla Crocker Mesa; nephew Chad Crocker Ryle; sisters-in-law Minnie, Sadie and Ann Stahlschmidt and Fay Stahl.
She is survived by her daughter, Merlene Buller of Marblemount, WA; sons, Martin Tibbets of Elk River, ID and Jim Tibbets of Rigby, ID; sisters-in-law, Mabel Teschner (Russell) of Fredericksburg, TX and Irene Carlile (Fen) of Denver, CO; brother-in-law, B.C. Crocker (Candi) of Fernwood, ID; 9 grandchildren, Patrick Buller and his wife Sacha and their daughters Vashti and Phoebe of Rockport, WA, Helen Buller of Missoula, MT, Amy, Ben, Tom and Sami Tibbets, Shawn Voyles, Brian Allery and Wendy Allery and their families, and 5 additional great-grandchildren, all of Idaho.
At her request, no formal services will be held. Public Graveside services will be at 1:00 pm on Monday, January 25, 2016 at the Modoc County Cemetery in Alturas.CA. All are welcome to gather at 720 E. 4th Street in Alturas for refreshments and visiting afterward.
Arrangements are in the care of Kerr Mortuary in Alturas, CA and Lemley Chapel in Sedro-Woolley, WA.