July 8, 1959 - February 11, 2021
Beth Ann Stehling (Barbee), 61, died unexpectedly at her home in Farmers Branch, Texas on February 11, 2021. She was deeply loved and an inspiration for many, and she will be deeply missed. Even in our grief and sadness we are very grateful she got her wish and passed peacefully at home.
Beth was born in Amarillo, Texas, the middle child of three, and moved with her family to Broomfield, Colorado where she began her school years. The family later moved to Littleton, Colorado where Beth attended and then graduated from Heritage High School. She went on to attend Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado, graduating with a degree in Business Administration.
Beth met Thom Stehling in 1986. In January, 1988 Beth and Thom were married, and she left Colorado to go to Tyler, Texas where Thom was working. They lived in Tyler for a few years before moving to Dallas, ultimately settling in Farmers Branch and starting a family. They joined the parish at St. Rita’s Catholic Church and Beth became involved with St. Theresa Circle and St. Gerard Circle. Throughout Matthew and Daniel’s school years she was also involved with their activities: various soccer and basketball teams, track and field, Scout group, and other school and church groups.
Beth was talented in many ways: mother, business person, seamstress, cook, and homemaker, but over time, in order to hold her ground against the ravages of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), she shifted more and more of her energy to strength building. She was dedicated to her Aquatics, exercise and dance classes for many years, and she maintained a regular home exercise routine. The people she saw at her classes throughout the years also became some of her best friends, and this network allowed her to both inspire and draw inspiration from others fighting the battle against MS or other movement disorders.
Beth lived with MS for 33 years – over half of her life. While it took away her ability to walk unassisted as well as other things many of us take for granted, MS never took her spirit. She was dedicated to finding a cure, if not in time for her, to save others. For several years she participated in clinical studies to promote and support research and understanding about MS, and for over 10 years she led a top fundraising team, Fitness Pals, for the local MS Walk fundraiser. A friend of Beth’s recently described her as “A true MS warrior”.
In 2018 Beth survived a very difficult medical situation where she was hospitalized for over 4 and a half months. We were afraid we might lose her then, but she fought back with determination. After being nearly immobile in hospitals for half of 2018, she had to work really hard to regain strength to resume even daily activities. She grudgingly understood that she could never regain all the strength she’d lost, but she worked hard to regain enough so that she could travel to Colorado to attend Daniel’s college graduation in May, 2019. She continued to work hard: exercising on her own, with PT and in the pool: she was in the pool only 2 days before her death! Her recovery from everything in 2018, and her discipline about exercise was an inspiration to many.
Beth is survived by her devoted and loving husband, Thom and beloved sons, Matthew and Daniel; her family in Colorado: father Garland Barbee, sister Janice (Carolyn Norblom) Barbee and brother Bill (Lynette) Barbee as well as nieces, nephews and cousins. She is predeceased by her mother, Earlena Barbee as well as her grandparents, aunts, uncles and some cousins.
Despite her physical absence, we can all still look to the light of inspiration that Beth lit, and do our part to share inspiration with others in what we say and do. Her many FB friends know that in her posts and reposts Beth promoted peace, positivity and being a good person and she would be proud to inspire others to work to be their best person, even when it is hard, just as she did.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Beth and the Fitness Pals team for the 2021 Addison MS Walk https://secure.nationalmssociety.org/site/Donation2?idb=968238644&df_id=64361&64361.donation=form1&FR_ID=31761&mfc_pref=T&PROXY_ID=1587777&PROXY_TYPE=20
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