When it came time to writing my mother's obituary - I did what I think she knew I would. I researched how to write an obituary. How do you share and immortalize when such an amazing person leaves this world to return home to God? Everything I read said to start with the basics.
Denyce Collins Stellmach, 71, passed away at home in the early morning hours of October 15, 2023 with her husband Jeffrey Stellmach by her side. He had not left her side in the 46 years they had been married.
Meeting at the Galley Hatch in Hampton, NH in 1976, somehow Jeff charmed Denyce into doing his laundry in exchange for paying her bar tab. He later tells the story with joy in his eyes and a smile on his face saying "it was the most expensive load of laundry he ever had" As many of us knew, Denyce had a darn good time over the years as the pictures from her and Jeff's annual Christmas Party in Hampton always showed.
Growing up, Denyce spent her summers on Ossipee Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee, referring to that area as "God's Country" She graduated from Newburyport High School in 1970 where she was a cheerleader and Senior Class President. When asked, her friends shared she belonged to many clubs, dabbled in sports, and was a friend to everyone. She went on to major in Political Science at the University of Massachusetts where she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority.
She and Jeff spent the majority of their life in Hampton, NH raising their family. During this time she worked at the Galley Hatch before teaching at Exeter High School, Lincoln Akeman Elementary School, and Hampton Academy Junior High School, and ending her career at Rush Reality in Hampton.
Moving from New Hampshire to Kentucky and North Carolina before finally settling in Mount Pleasant, SC. Denyce met her tribe of friends in the 'Burgh who quickly became her extended family to celebrate all of lives moments with her. Life in South Carolina held many joys. Her daughter soon joined Denyce and Jeff in Mount Pleasant with her husband and son. She celebrated the marriage of her Son, JT, to his wife and got to share in the joy of life with the birth of their son. It wasn't long before her Step Daughter, Jennifer and her children joined the family in the Charleston, marking the first time in over 30 years that the family resided in the same area.
Preceding her in death were her father, Tom Collins, mother Barbara (Currier) Collins, and brother Tom Collins. Her Father in Law, Joeseph Stellmach and Mother in Law Regina Stellmach, along with other friends and family who welcomed her with open arms.
She is survived by her husband, Jeff Stellmach, her step daughter Jennifer Stellmach, her daughter Cassie (Stellmach) and her husband Max Mitchell, and her son JT and his wife Hailey (Goldstein) Stellmach. She is remembered by many in-laws, family, and friends - so many they outnumber the stars in the sky!
Denyce's true joy in life, above all else, was her grandchildren, Kelsey and Zachary Kersey, Billy Mitchell, and Jackson Stellmach. Each time they entered the room Gran or GaGa, as she was known, would light up in a way that only she could. Her smile and laugh were infectious!
The family will host friends for an informal celebration of life for those in the Charleston, SC area on Saturday October 28th at the Park West Club House (2701 Park W Blvd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29466) from 2 PM - 4 PM.
The Family will also host friends at The Galley Hatch Restaurant in Hampton, NH (25 Lafayette Rd, Hampton, NH 03842) Saturday November 25th from 2 PM - 5 PM.
Dad, Jenn, JT, and I request that if you'd like to do something to remember Denyce you consider organ donation, if you haven't already, as she was blessed being the recipient of a kidney transplant a few years ago. Additionally, she was passionate about ensuring that women who were survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence were always taken care of. Please consider donating or volunteering to the organization of your choice.