Vera Josephine Kinkela Libby Wood Stavig
Nov. 18, 1918 — Feb. 22, 2011
Vera Stavig, of Anacortes, died Feb. 22, 2011 from complications of pneumonia at the age of 92, in the presence of three generations that loved her.
She was born Nov. 18, 1918 in Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, to Croatian immigrants, Josip Kinkela of Kastav and Marija Lovric Kinkela of Grizane. Josip became a naturalized citizen in 1917 and they left two daughters, Ana and Marija in Croatia with an aunt.
Mary came to the U.S. in 1925, when she was 21, to join her parents and Vera, her seven-year-old sister. Ana remained in Croatia — they were never to meet again.
The Kinkela’s lived in a Croatian community in South Tacoma, and Vera had happy memories of those days.
She didn’t learn English until she attended kindergarten. In 1926, they were living in Friday Harbor and her sister, Mary, married Tony Surina in 1927; Vera and her mother lived with them after the death of Josip in that year, and were soon joined by Mary and Tony’s sons, Antone and Albert.
Vera attended Friday Harbor schools, graduating with the class of 1937. Vera met Coast Guardsman, Kelly Libby in Friday Harbor and married him in 1938. Both of their daughters, Arlene and Karen, were born in Ella Dightman’s house on Tucker Street. They continued to reside in Friday Harbor until Kelly was transferred to Seattle.
The next decade would find them in Bellingham, Richmond, Calif., Everett, Wash., Charleston, S.C., and Ocala, Fla. After Kelly’s death in Ocala in 1953, Vera worked in the local shirt factory. Having a keen eye, she was the final inspector before the shirts left the factory. Vera and her daughters remained in Ocala until 1957 when they returned to Everett and Vera married Wallace Wood, Kelly’s best friend.
Wally died within two years. Vera returned to the work force, once again, she was the final inspector — this time at Simpson paper mill.
In 1965, she married Inar (Curly) Stavig, her daughter’s widowed father-in-law. They resided in Mukilteo until moving to Anacortes in 1977. Inar died in 1979.
Vera was a resident of Harbor House for 25 years before moving to San Juan Rehab in 2009. She was a Mariners fan and always read the sports section of the paper first. While married to Curly, Vera loved camping in their travel trailer and became quite adept at river fishing. She wowed her daughters with her whistling rendition of a Hawaiian War Chant.
Evidently, Vera enjoyed singing, but nobody knew until tapes were discovered, which her grandsons transferred onto CD’s for family members — a real treasure.
Surviving Vera are her daughters, Arlene Stavig and Karen Libby, both of Anacortes; six grandsons: Bradford, Brenton, Crane Stavig, and Bryce, Bryan, and Sidney Olson; great-grandchildren, Conner, Allison, Lena Josephine Stavig and Carson and Dryden Olson.
Vera also leaves her son-in-law/stepson Charles Stavig, grandniece T. J. Surina Huffman, niece Anka Simic in Zagreb, Croatia and other family members in Croatia.
Preceding Vera in death were her sisters Ana, and Mary Surina, nephews Antone and Albert, and three husbands, Kelly, Wally, and Curly.
The family would like to express their gratitude and appreciation to the staff of San Juan Rehab and Care Center for their exceptional care of Vera during her extended stay.
There will be a private burial at Saint Francis Cemetery in Friday Harbor. Memorials in Vera’s name may be made to the San Juan Preservation Trust, P.O. Box 327, Lopez Island, WA, 98261. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, WA and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Vera, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.
— The Stavig Family