Stella Frances (Holosko) Staley, an educator and teacher at the high school and college level, passed away peacefully at home on July 22 in Pacific Palisades. She was “98 and four months,” as she would say. Stella’s dear caregiver, Florian, was there next to her, and she held Florian’s hand tight.
Stella was born March 26, 1921, in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, to Francis (Kshyk) and John Holosko. Her family also lived in Vegreville, Innisfree and Wainwright.
They were farmers, carpenters, sculptors and craftsmen. She had two brothers, Emil and Joseph.
Stella played the violin as a child. She enjoyed entertaining; in plays, musicals and ballet as a young student. Her early affiliation with health and recreation leaders provided her with many friends, confidence and teaching skills.
Stella received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta; she was so proud of her accomplishment and “pulling herself up from her bootstraps,” as she referenced.
Stella enjoyed being in the choir at the university. She was one of the founders of the university’s ballet program; producing, directing and choreographing several ballets and teaching dance. She was instrumental in creating the first Edmonton Children’s Ballet in the late 1940s.
In 1949, Stella left Canada to attend the University of Southern California. She obtained a master’s degree in education while her husband was obtaining his Ph.D. She and her late husband, Edwin John Staley, II, who was from Toronto, Canada, met at the university and were married in Santa Ana, California, in 1952; “the happiest day,” “such a joyous occasion.”
They moved many times during their careers, finally finding the home they loved in Pacific Palisades where they raised their four children.
Stella worked at several schools during her career, including the University of Alberta, Orange High School (where she started a modern dance program), Riverside Schools, Berkeley High School, San Mateo Schools and South Hills High School.
In 1968, she started her 30-year teaching career at Santa Monica High School. She always tried her very best at balancing and keeping up with the household, the kids’ activities and teaching; quite a challenging time.
Following her retirement in 1995, Stella was actively involved in the UCLA Teacher for America Mentor Program. She was involved with the UCLA Women’s Health Initiative Program, as well.
Stella participated in a mentor teacher program for a remedial reading program in Pacific Palisades. She also pursued and loved taking computer classes.
Stella enjoyed spending time with family and friends. She loved to travel. She continued to pursue her interests in line dancing, fitness and walks at Will Rogers State Beach.
She spent many earlier years playing the slot machines in Las Vegas with her dear friend Tess Allen. In her latest years, she pursued that interest by playing three-card poker at the Hollywood Park Casino. She really came alive and had lots of energy with that big smile of hers! A friend remarking recently, “Stella was winning wherever she sat; she had a winning ability.”
Stella is survived by her children: Linda (Peter) Biche, Craig (Cathy) Staley, Cheryl Staley and Edwin (Gina) Staley, III; three grandchildren: Tyler, Riley and Connor; and one great-grandchild, Avery.
She is predeceased by her husband, Edwin Staley, her brothers, Emil and Joe, her parents, and several Holosko and Staley relatives.
Stella’s family, with the greatest and warmest gratitude, wishes to thank all of those who cared for her during her last days. We will always carry Stella’s memories, her life of pictures and her beautiful smile in our hearts.
Funeral services will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery, Holy Redeemer Chapel on August 31 at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, a charitable donation may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Salvation Army or a charitable donation of your choice.
For further information, contact Holy Cross Mortuary at 310-836-5500.