A sports mom and more
She was known in Wellington as “Mama Stall.”
Dorothy Stallbaumer was a “sports mom.” A mother of eight children, she hardly ever missed one of her kid’s ball games.
Stallbaumer passed away last week, on Aug. 11, at 92 years of age. Her children and grandchildren and their friends quickly took to Facebook, sharing memories of how she and her late husband, Roger Stallbaumer, Sr., opened their home to numerous kids who gathered there before football and baseball games.
But her oldest son, Roger Stallbaumer, said, “It goes way beyond sports. She was just a mom.”
He recalled one summer night, probably around 1970. Roger was Playing American Legion baseball in El Dorado. A 7 inning ball game turned into an 18 inning marathon that lasted till 2 a.m.
“I played 3rd base so got a straight-on look at my family who were all clustered in seats along the 1st base line,” Roger said. “Tears came to my eye when I looked up just before the end of the game and saw my mom still cheering while my baby brother slept curled up in her arms. Really touching moment as I felt the love all around. (We lost the game, by the way).”
Her grandson, Jesse Cornejo recalled in a Facebook post how there were always kids playing in the front yard and everyone knew they were welcome at the home.
“She wanted a close and loving family that enjoyed being with one another and that's the way I grew up,” Cornejo said.
Roger recalled being at the house with a friend before the game and his mother telling them to go to church on the way to their game. So they would go to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, say a prayer, then go to the game. After a while, several other players would join them.
“Those kids, all of them seemed to really appreciate what she did for them,” Roger said. “They recognized that that wasn’t her duty, it wasn’t her job.”
Dorothy gave a lot of hugs, Roger recalled, but she was also a “yeller,” he said. With a lot of boys in the house, things could sometimes get rowdy.
She’d yell at us,” he said. “You could shake that off. You knew it was coming. We never got it unless we asked for it. We weren’t perfect kids by any means.”
Her son also remembered her as a selfless person. “It was never me first with her,” he said.
Roger recalled going to Lawrence for a winter weekend in 1971. He got snowed in. Back in Wellington, several motorists who had slid off the turnpike road were being housed in Memorial Auditorium. Dorothy sent one of her daughters to the building and she came back with a family and a couple of service men, all of whom took shelter in the Stallbaumer house.
Her youngest son, Scott Stallbaumer, remembered one day when she sent him to buy cold drinks for jail inmates, working in the hot sun outside the courthouse, which was right across the street from the Stallbaumer house.
Cornejo said, “I would often wonder if my grandma ever did anything for herself.”
It was a life she seemed to enjoy. A healthcare provider who worked with Dorothy in her final years in a nursing home sent Scott a Facebook comment, saying she once asked her what she regretted in life.
“Not a damn thing,” Mama Stall replied.