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Stella Ash

Posted 2/08/12 (Wed)

Stella Ash, 89, of Sidney, Mont., formerly of Underwood, N.D., died on Monday, Jan. 30, 2012, at the Sidney Health Center Extended Care Facility.
Funeral services for Stella Ash were held on Feb. 1, 2012, at the Lonsdale United Methodist Church. Interment of cremains will be at 2:00 p.m., CST, on Saturday, July 7, 2012, at the Coleharbor Cemetery, Coleharbor, N.D. Remembrances and condolences may be shared with the family at www.fulkersons.com
Stella I. Ash, a native of Underwood, N.D., was born on Jan. 29, 1923, to farmers John and Albina (Stoebner) Schell. After high school graduation in 1941, she graduated in 1942 from Interstate Business College in Fargo. Following her Civil Service test success, she began working in Washington, D.C., for the War Department doing office work for the Judge Adjutant General’s (JAG) Office. From there, she went to Alaska and worked wartime at the Supply Depot for the Naval Air Station on Kodiak Island on a contract from the Navy Department. Stella is listed on the World War II Memorial in our nation’s capital. In Alaska, she married, then moved to Indiana and Michigan and had a son, James Lee Presuhn.  The marriage was short-lived, and after the divorce, she moved to Minneapolis, working there for the Commodity Credit Corp. Department of Agriculture; then at the Gratiot County Grain Commissioner’s Office in Ithaca, Mich. With a move back to Underwood, she worked in the Branch of Engineering and Branch of Construction for the Corps of Engineers at Riverdale, N.D., during the building of the Garrison Dam.
On Nov. 7, 1952, Stella married Ralph Howard Ash of Underwood at the McLean County Courthouse in Washburn. They had three children, Dale Ann, Janet, and Wayne. Ralph adopted Jim and his last name became Ash. When the children were older Stella worked in Bismarck for KFYR_TV.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, she took another Civil Service test and returned to work at Riverdale with the Minuteman Missile Program.
In July 1965, the family moved to New Town, N.D., where Stella worked in the Realty Branch of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Fort Berthold Agency as a legal clerk.
She earned the following awards: Appraisal and Quality Step Increases as GS-5, Corps of Engineers; Superior Performance Rating and Cash Award May 1973 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in New Town; and Sustained Superior Performance and Cash Award, November 1975 from the BIA.
Ralph died in June 1981, and Stella moved back to Underwood after her retirement in 1982 from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Stella was an active member of the Underwood Senior Citizens, a member of the Mercer-McLean Counties Commission on Aging Meals Board, and very active in the New Town’s Study Club. Music held an important place in her life and she played her electric organ and sang in church, also entertaining at nursing homes and the Senior Center in Underwood. Her hobbies included embroidery and tending houseplants. She loved to read, especially the National Geographic and the Smithsonian Magazine.
In 2007, to be closer to her family, Stella moved to Sidney, Mont., living at the Crestwood Inn. In May of 2009, Stella moved into the Sidney Health Center Extended Care Facility.
Surviving Stella are: her son, Wayne (Renae) Ash of Sidney, Mont.; her daughters, Dale Ann (Rev. Timothy J.) Swenson of Arnegard, N.D. and Janet (Tom) May of Richland, Wash.; her sister, Ruth Schell, Overholser of Wyomissing, Pa.; eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Ralph; her son, James; her sisters, Delia Henne, Emma Roe, Edna Swanson, Elma Stengel, Wanda Jam and Joan Schell; and her brother, Don Schell.