Nell R. Stoltze
January 18, 1928 – December 29, 2018
Her father always liked to tell of this fellah that he knew. Folks said you could tie him to a tree, but he’d have money in his pockets by morning. Not that his daughter Nell Stoltze thought all you needed was charm and guile in order to succeed. But using your wits, education, and some good old-fashioned horse-sense were vitally important to her. Those attributes would see to it that you were not, as she would put it, simply “existing” in this life.
There were few opportunities in the middle of The Piney Woods and the little East Texas town of Broaddus in the 1940’s. Named for her grandfather John Beck, Johnnie Wanell Rudd was born on January 18, 1928, not long before the Great Depression. She was raised by her father Hoyte and mother Arrie on the family farm in San Augustine County, along with her older siblings Martin and Mavis, brother Leon, and younger sister Billie. After graduation from high school, and with the aid of her cherished brother Martin, Nell moved to Dallas and got a job with AT&T. There she met Milton Stoltze while he was teaching a class in her building and they were married and wed in Big D on May 16, 1953. They settled in his hometown of Kansas City, MO, specifically Independence, MO and Overland Park, KS, and their son Barry was born in KCMO in 1955 and daughter Kim in 1961. Milt stayed with AT&T for 38 years and during that time, the family also lived in Morristown, NJ; Naperville, IL; and Tehran, Iran, where he worked for ABII. The latter job gave Nell and the family the chance to travel extensively throughout Europe, as well as to Israel, Egypt, and Russia, on journeys she very much enjoyed.
Nell devoted her life to motherhood and homemaking, acting at times in such capacities as cook, grocery shopper, den mother, ironer, dresser, child wrangler, scheduler, and chauffeur. To her, life was all about family, a deep-seated belief that it always came first, and one that she shared with her husband of 43 years.
Milt passed away in 1997 and Nell decided to relocate back to Texas in 2000, finally building that ranch house she had always longed for, in Sun City Georgetown. Now nearer to Kim and her family, she embraced her new beginnings as an independent lady of a certain age.
It is impossible to sum up such a long-lived life in just a few short sentences. However, in an attempt to get a glimpse of what she thought mattered most in her life, here are a few snapshots of Nell’s favorite things: A Thanksgiving dinner with the entire family
Raising and then watching her progeny grow up
Playing with her many grandkids, nieces, and nephews
The beautiful Bluebonnets of the Hill Country
Bright red Cardinals in the snow
Long walks, especially through the woods
Pecan pralines from River Street Sweets
A Doris Day/Rock Hudson movie or “good” Christmas film
Talking for hours on the phone (benefits from AT&T)
Listening to a little Nat King Cole, Dino, or Marty Robbins
Heroines: Strong-willed women like Jackie O, Susan Hayward, Lauren Bacall, Rosalind Russell, and Mary Martin
“The Big Valley” starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck
All those PBS Specials on Nature
Pepper, the beloved family poodle, born in NJ, died in IL
Fresh Illinois corn on the cob. Or some “good” tomatoes.
Collecting milk glass and Hummels
Traveling and discovering all of her beloved Texas
Playing Bunco with the seniors at Sun City
Going to see a stage show, preferably a musical
A great bargain Nell Stoltze left us on December 29, 2018 at the age of 90 years and 11 months. That means she lived into the start of her 10th decade and 2nd Century here on Earth. But her steadfast love of family will forever live in our hearts and she will remain present in our memories as we continue on our own mortal journeys. We love and miss you, Mom. May you be at peace now and enjoying that lovely walk through the woods.
Contributions and tributes in Nell’s name can be made to the following organizations: the National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Sierra Club.
- John Beck (deceased), Maternal Grandfather
- Leah Hopkins (deceased), Maternal Grandmother
- Hoyt Alexander Rudd (deceased), Paternal Grandfather
- Delia Stephens (deceased), Paternal Grandmother
- Hoyte Rudd (deceased), Father
- Arrie (Beck) Rudd (deceased), Mother
- Milton Stoltze (deceased), Husband of 43 years
- Barry and Kim, Children
- National Audubon Society, 225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
- National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190
- The Nature Conservancy, Attn: Treasury, 4245 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 100, Arlington, Virginia 22203
- Sierra Club, 2101 Webster Street, Suite 1300, Oakland, CA 94612
- Memorial Service Saturday, February 23, 2019
- Committal Service Saturday, February 23, 2019