Jennifer L. Stellwagon, 48, passed away Monday morning May 28, 2018 on the Big Island of Hawaii, in Kona Community Hospital located in Kealakekua.
Services will be held on Saturday, June 9, 2018 at 2:30 pm at First United Methodist Church–West Campus in Lawrence, Kansas. Family will receive friends from 1:30-2:30 pm for a visitation prior to the service.
Jennifer was born February 15, 1970 in Iola, Kansas, the daughter of Martha Werntz and Charles Hammond. She graduated from Burlington High School in 1988. She attended Emporia State University, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1992.
She married Joseph Stellwagon on October 27, 1993 in Ochos Rios, Jamaica. To this union four children were born, including two sons, Kiefer (22) and Reese (19) and two daughters, Carli (19) and Rylie (16).
Jennifer and Joe made their home in Lawrence, Kansas, where Jennifer was a busy mom and homemaker raising their four children. As the kids grew up, she devoted her time to volunteering as a room parent and as a PTA member at Broken Arrow Elementary and South Middle Schools. She was a volunteer with Girl Scouts, serving as troop leader for both of her daughters. She was also an adult leader with Boy Scouts, Troop 59. She went on many adventures with her children through Scouts, including a 10-day canoe trip at the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota in 2011.
As the children continued to grow older, she started to work outside the home as a preschool teacher for Kids First, and as an elementary substitute teacher for USD 497.
Jennifer had an adventurous spirit and loved being outdoors. She loved going to the lake, camping, kayaking and challenging herself with a 3,000 piece puzzle. She was also very family oriented. Spending time with them brought her immense amounts of joy. Despite her life ending too soon, she lived a very blessed life surrounded by friends and family.
She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2016. Despite the adversity she faced with the disease, she fought it with an incredibly positive attitude. At both Lawrence Memorial Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, she made friends with everyone in her presence. From receptionists, aides, nurses and doctors, she greeted everyone warmly and always called them by name. With such a positive attitude she was often quoted saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”.
Jennifer is survived by her husband, Joseph, and their four children. She is also survived by her step father, William Werntz; sisters, Christina Brumley, Kathleen Rhodes; and her brother, Justin Hammond, along with several nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Jennifer Stellwagon Children’s Education Fund, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.