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Jan Trahan
I worked with Stephanie for more than 6 years.  I will never forget her joy for life, her passion, her smiling eyes and infectious laugh. 

Stephany gave me and my husband dance lessons in the spring of 2010 for our son's wedding.  I will never forget her patience.  I still have not figured out how to follow instead of lead!  Sorry Steph! :) 

Steph talked me into going snow shoeing with her on lunches as well as taking her latin rhythm core classes-things totally not like me to do.  She would gently nudge me into pushing myself further than I normally would go.  To this day I think of her when I feel like giving up about something and she urges me on.

Steph was wonderful at being able to laugh at herself and to never take things too seriously.  She had a wonderful prospective on life that I can only aspire to adapt for myself.

I know few people who are as genuinely caring and compassionate as Steph.  We can all learn from her example.  Kindness, gentleness, laughter all just bubbled from her.  She oozed enthusiasm.  When Steph stopped by my desk for a few minutes I would be uplifted for hours afterward - even though she was snitching my creamer for her coffee! :)  Replacing my creamer more often was well worth what I got out of my chats with her.

Steph, I know you are watching over us all and using your powers of persuasion on us still.  I often talk to you.  I feel your influence in my life.  I know you are in a wonderful place and that you are happy.  Thank you for everything you have meant in my life and always will.  Miss you girlfriend!

Cari Panitzke
It was about a year ago today (July 22, 2011) that Steph and her kids, along with my family, and Ramona and the girls, headed for a road trip to California to meet with Aaron and Carol at their "Tahoe Hut" for a fun and adventurous vacation together. I never EVER believed that would be the last time I would see Steph alive. There is so much I would do over again and with her if I would have known that...the bunk house area was so fun for all of the kids...the little "kid cave" and boot camp that Aaron ran with the kids. The bike rides and the geocache adventure, and we will never forget about the pontoon ride on Lake Tahoe that almost became the sunken pontoon...I miss you sweet Steph...
Cathy Roller 6/26/2011
I'm reading emails from the past from Steph as well as other family.  It is great fun, lots of love from all there.  Here is one from her to Cari and myself when she was pregnant with Ellie.  Love her wisecrack about a cavity.  Love you my dear Steph, love all my family!!

Subject: FW: for all moms
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 19:08:44 -0600

This is sweet.  Maybe so sweet it could cause a cavity in your teeth, but still it's worth the read!

Being A Mom

We are sitting at lunch one day when my daughter casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking of "starting a family."

"We're taking a survey," she says half-joking.

"Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral.

"I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous vacations."

But that is not what I meant at all. I look at my Daughter, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes.

I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will forever be vulnerable.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without asking, "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die.

I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub. That an urgent call of "Mom!" will cause her to drop a soufflé or her best crystal without a moments hesitation.

I feel that I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for childcare, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting and she will think of her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her baby is all right.

I want my daughter to know that every day decisions will no longer be routine. That a five year old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at McDonald's will become a major dilemma. That right there, in the midst of clattering trays and screaming children, issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in that restroom.

However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive daughter, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the pounds of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself.

That her life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. That she would give herself up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years, not to accomplish her own dreams, but to watch her child accomplish theirs.

I want her to know that a cesarean scar or shiny stretch marks will become badges of honor. My daughter's relationship with her husband will change, but not in the way she thinks.

I wish she could understand how much more you can love a man who is careful to powder the baby or who never hesitates to play with his child. I think she should know that she will fall in love with him again for reasons she would now find very unromantic.

I wish my daughter could sense the bond she will feel with women throughout history who have tried to stop war, prejudice and drunk driving.

I want to describe to my daughter the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to ride a bike. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog or cat for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it actually hurts.

My daughter's quizzical look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I finally say. Then I reached across the table, squeezed my daughter's hand and offered a silent prayer for her, and for me, and for all the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this most wonderful of callings.

Please share this with a Mom that you know or all of your girlfriends who may someday be Moms.

Cathy Roller 1/25/01
Partial letter from me to Steph, Cari, and Ramona on 2/12/09.  I spoke of the blossoms and my exercise regime and I also said  "Aaron and I went to Benjamin Buttons last nite.  We both really liked it.  Believe it or not, that is my first Brad Pitt movie :)  He is pretty good looking."

Steph's reply:  "Great job. All is as I expected, all but the Brad Pitt virgin thing. Blasphemy I tell you."

I saw Brad in a clip on YouTube tonite and was reminded of the Brad Pitt virgin line.  What a classic, Steph!!!
Cari (Roller) Panitzke
Here is the second one, that I like better...
Total Memories: 62
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