About Anita Stadler (Greiner)
Local Centenarian Eager for Year 2000
by Vickie Hull
Anita Margaret Greiner Stadler has a good chance of living in three centuries. Born Sept. 8, 1899, Stadler will celebrate, her 100th birthday in a few days. God willing, she could be able to say she lived in the nineteenth, twenty and twenty-first centuries.
Born to German immigrants, John and Frances (Blechel) Greiner, Stadler lived her first three months of life in Engel, New Mexico. She has spent nearly all of her 100 years in Eudora.
"My parents came from Germany. My mother was 10 and my father was 12 when they came over on a ship," Stadler recalled during an interview at Eudora Nursing Center, where she now resides.
"They saw big fish hitting against the ship."
After graduating from Eudora High School in 1917, Stadler worked as a telephone switchboard operator in Eudora and later at Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant.
"Back then people would just pick up the receiver and talk to the operator," she said. "I just loved it."
There were some stressful times working the large switchboard at Sunflower during the WWII era.
"Sometimes there would be fire explosions and we would have to call for help," Stadler, said. "It made us nervous and we had to be on the ball and could make no mistakes."
When she was 24, Stadler married a widower with a young daughter, Wilmaurine. William Stadler is best known throughout Eudora's history for his fiery editorial comments in the local newspaper.
"Oh, yes, he had opinions," Stadler said smiling. "I got kind of nervous with some of his opinions."
Charolette Altenbernd, the Stadler's daughter, said she also remembers her father's strong beliefs and political stances. He was "very Republican," Altenbernd said.
"At one time the Ku Klux Klan was active in Eudora. My dad was very against prejudice and taught us to treat all people well," she said. "My father knew some of them and knew the field south of town where they burned their crosses.
"I was about eight or nine when the Kluxers drove by our house. My dad kept a shotgun under his bed, and I remember one of the men coming up onto our porch and my dad telling him to take off his hood. And he called him a coward.
"That made such an impression on me. He was very outspoken."
According to "The Eudora Community Heritage," Will Stadler first got ink on his hands in 1901 when he began working at the Eudora Weekly News. He leased the paper in 1906, then bought it in 1907 and built the subscription list to 645.
He leased the paper and took it back several times in the early 1900s.
Stadler said her husband did all the news gathering and hand set the type himself. She said he worked, "day and night" writing, selling advertising and printing the newspaper. She helped a little with advertising solicitation.
Even though Will Stadler worked as Eudora Postmaster in 1923, newspaper work continued to be his passion. He came back to the Eudora Weekly News and later worked for the Lawrence Journal World and also the Lawrence Outlook. Altenbernd said her father at one time also owned newspapers in Linwood, DeSoto, and Missouri.
"People back then did not always support their local paper and there were many hard times for my parents," Altenbernd said.
Her, mother added, "We had hard times making a living and meeting expenses, but I have many lovely, good memories."
Will Stadler died during the Depression. Altenbernd said her mother was a "very responsible" woman and worked hard to raise her four children: Virginia, now a Topeka resident; Charlotte, Lawrence; and Bill and Kenneth, both deceased.
Stadler did not remarry and has been a widow for about 55 years. And in all those years, she never gave it much thought that she might live 100 years or see the year 2000.
"I just had birthday after birthday and never really thought about being 100," she said. "The 100 years have gone fast and I can't believe it's here. I'm pleased with what I've got and what I did."
Despite arthritis in her hands and some heart trouble, Stadler enjoys good health. Although she misses writing letters now, she is proud that her eyes are still good enough to read the newspaper every day. She is also an avid Kansas University basketball and Chiefs football fan and wouldn't dream of missing a televised game. Sports schedules even hang in her room at ENC.
Staff members at the local nursing center describe Stadler as independent and determined. She is active in residents' council, bingo, social events and church services at the center. She is a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Eudora.
Stadler moved to ENC about four years ago. Until then, she was still making Christmas cookies in her Pine Crest apartment with the help of local children.
Today, Stadler has 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren, including Gabriel, a lively two-year old who was adopted from Romania by his parents, Bart and Micki Altenbernd. Bart is Charolette Altenbernd's son.
"The grandkids all call her G-G. which stands for Grandma the Great," Altenbernd said.
Many family members will be on hand for Stadler's century-breaking birthday from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at ENC. Friends are also invited for cake and ice cream.
But before the party could be planned, Altenbernd said a new birth certificate had to be ordered. Stadler's original had the wrong birth date and the wrong birth year (Sept. 7, 1900).
Don't look for the soon-to-be centenarian to eat a lot of birthday cake, even if it is her birthday. She said not eating many sweets is one of the keys to her longevity. That and having the proper heritage.
"Germans are hardy people," she said.
23 June 2001
Eudora Mass of Christian Burial for Anita Stadler, 101, Eudora, will be 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Holy Family Catholic Church, Eudora. Burial will be in Holy Family Cemetery, Eudora.
Mrs. Stadler died Thursday, June 21, 2001, at Eudora Nursing Center. She was born Sept. 8, 1899, in Engel, N.M., the daughter of John and Francis (Blechel) Greiner.
She was a lifelong resident of Eudora. She graduated from Eudora High School in 1919. She worked at Sunflower Ordnance Plant and Eudora Telephone Co. She was a member of Holy Family Parish and St. Theresa Women's Society.
She married William Stadler Feb. 2, 1923. He died Dec. 20, 1943.
Survivors include two daughters, Virginia Senogles, Topeka, and Charlotte Altenbernd, Lawrence; 14 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Two sons, Bill and Kenneth Stadler, and a daughter, Wilmaurine, died earlier.
A rosary will be read at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the church. The family will greet friends after the rosary. The family suggests memorials to the Eudora Nursing Center or Holy Family Cemetery Fund, sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
Anita Stadler's Timeline
September 8, 1899
Engle, Sierra, New Mexico, United States
February 2, 1923
June 21, 2001
Eudora, Douglas, Kansas, United States
June 28, 2001
Holy Family Cemetery, Eudora, Kansas, United States
June 28, 2001