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Memorials: Great Falls Worship Group


Date of birth

July 31, 1928

Date of death

May 14, 2020


Great Falls Worship Group

Memorial minute

Starshine passed away May 14, 2020, Mother’s Day in Monroe, Utah in the presence of two of her four children. She was born to Anna Fields and James Matchett in Tulsa, Oklahoma on July 31, 1928. The family moved to Seagraves, Texas where Starshine had a horse named Traveler who taught her how to rope calves and barrel race in rodeos.

During WWII, she initiated a scrap metal drive, grew a Victory Garden and won a sharpshooter’s medal from the American Rifle Association.

In 1950, she earned a B.S. in chemistry and physics from the University of Texas in Austin, TX. In the same year she married Bob Stockton, also a Southern Baptist. They had four children - Lois Gilge, Havre, MT; Susan Nelson, Monroe, UT, Clifford Stockton, Hagerman, ID; and Thomas Stockton, Helena, MT.

In 1954, the family moved to Kalispell, MT where Glacier Park became a playground for hiking and camping in the summer and sledding in the winter. Sometime while raising a young family Starshine read The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. Although Smith was not a Quaker, it opened the door for Starshine to Christian mysticism. At the age of 35, Starshine was invited to a Quaker Meeting by Claire Sinclare. It was a powerful experience for her, and her spiritual life became real. She felt that she now walked with God as a steady companion. A move to Helena, MT in 1965 allowed Starshine to obtain a teacher certificate from Carroll College.

Sometime in the 1970’s she divorced her husband and began attending the small Quaker worship group in Helena. In 1982 she obtained a Masters's Degree in Education and in 1984 a Ph.D. in Reading Education, both from the University of Georgia, after which she taught reading in the Helena Public School System.

For many years she wrote an astronomy column for the Independent Record, “Helena’s Heavens” and led star viewings. Many called her the “Star Lady” which led to her name change, Starshine, following the divorce. At the Montana Gathering of Friends there was not one community night that went by without Starshine sharing with all a story about the stars. Usually, these stories were from Native American traditions. She brought her telescope and showed many of us the rings of Saturn for the first time.

Upon retiring from being a public school teacher she came out as a lesbian and shortly after that in 1995 she moved to Great Falls to be near her partner, Alice Miller.

The move to Great Falls was life-saving for a small Quaker group struggling for vitality. Starshine was the “third log on the fire,” and with her presence the group has persisted over the last 25 years. She was always present, gave deep vocal ministry during unprogrammed worship, and pushed us all on to doing better and seeing what love could do. She represented the Quaker community with her pithy, short letters to the editor on peace and equality for all. She brought people together and invited them to join our Quaker worship and she was supportive of our individual gifts to our Quaker witness. She stood weekly on the Civic Center steps for 7 years protesting the war in Iraq.

Starshine loved adventure and challenge. To celebrate her 50th birthday, she ran in the Governor’s Cup marathon. She hiked to Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the Grand Canyon to celebrate her 70th birthday. With her mother she traveled around the world followed by hiking up Granite Peak, the highest natural point in Montana. She rode her bike everywhere well into her 90s and her yoga balance was a challenge to all of us in the class.

With her partner of 20 years, Alice, she joined Wild Women, and canoed the Yukon, saw the polar bears near Churchill, Manitoba, traveled along the coast of Turkey and more.

She was a loving involved grandmother to her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many sought her out for support over the years.

She was always reaching out to know more about her faith, her growth with Spirit, and her relationship with others, no matter who they were. Her mantra was LOVE IS ALL THERE IS!