Mary Ann Stobenau first became my Counselee, then became my friend, when we met at the Valentine Museum in the early 1980s. The Valentine Assembly was the predecessor of NAN and was a part of the needleart programs of that Richmond, Virginia museum. Mary Ann was an excellent student, winning a scholarship in 1985 to continue her studies in crewel and other surface techniques. Her home in Pennsylvania was not far from mine in Maryland, so we met frequently to discuss her progress, and sometimes just to meet.
She finished her Certification in 1986, when our program had become the National Academy of Needlearts, and the Annual Assembly had moved to Williamsburg. She had offers for several teaching opportunities and a promising future ahead of her.
In the following fall, we met with a small group of embroiderers in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for a wonderful week of study with Verina Warren, the British designer. Although we weren’t able to room together, we met every day and had a delightful time creating, stitching, laughing.
That was the last time that I saw her. A year later, in the fall of 1988, her life was cut short by a runaway truck as she drove to pick up her children after school.
Mary Ann Stobenau was a lovely person, both inside and out. I’ll always remember her talent, and cherish our friendship. In her memory, the Mary Ann Stobenau Scholarship from Level 1 to Level 2 was established to help other students to continue their study and realize their potential as she did. This was the same scholarship she had been awarded only a few years earlier.
Written by Dolores Andrew