Teresa Mary Davies Stelting, an English war bride who spent 11 years homesteading at Glacier Point and gave birth to a daughter there in 1950, died at Grants Pass, Ore., Saturday. She was 88.
Stelting’s daughter Denise Fields this week recounted the story of her younger sister’s birth at the isolated moraine. “Mom said, ‘I am not getting in that boat to go to town.’ Daddy wanted to travel up the inlet a couple miles to get the neighbor lady to come help. Mom said, ‘No, you are staying here.’ A while later I had a sister!”
The family raised rabbits and chickens and subsisted on garden vegetables, squirrels, porcupines, seals and porpoises during their 11 years at the point. Teresa moved her young family into a dilapidated cabin, covering walls with newspaper and fashioning curtains from flour sacks. She worked summers gillnetting alongside husband Herb.
Friend Carol Waldo of Haines this week said Stelting was optimistic and resourceful, recalling that she could knit mittens in a darkened movie theater. “She never said anything bad about people. She made do with very little. She was quite a woman.”
In her 2001 book, “Children of Glacier Point,” an account based on family diaries, Fields wrote about “seagulling” or scavenging flotsam from the point’s beach.
“Besides boards, many other things were found, especially after a storm. Fishing floats, containers, canned food, rope, an occasional Japanese glass float were all amongst the bounty. Sometimes we found oranges, and this was a real treat. The salt water did not bother them and they were like they had been refrigerated,” she wrote.
The family lived in town for three years and Teresa was involved in the local PTA, 4-H, and Lynn Canal Community Players.
Due to a respiratory ailment Herb suffered, the Steltings left Haines in 1963 for Patagonia, Ariz. They later moved to southwest Oregon and Idaho before settling in remote Halfway, Ore., population 355. Teresa worked as a postmaster in Grandview, Idaho, and justice of the peace in Halfway, according to her daughter.
“She was equally proud of being a judge and a veteran,” Denise Fields said. In Arizona, Teresa worked at the ‘Museum of the Horse’ and drove a school bus. Later jobs included picking pears and green beans and working for Montgomery Ward.
Teresa Mary Davies was born to William and Annie Bedelia Davies in Frinton-on-Sea, County Essex, England, in December 1923.
She worked in a dry goods store, served in the Red Cross and helped her mother care for evacuated children before enlisting in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force at age 17. She met Herb Stelting, a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, when they were both stationed at the same radar facility.
After living briefly in northeast Oregon, they moved to Southeast Alaska with 14-month-old Denise after Herb heard about a group of veterans taking over the mothballed Chilkoot Barracks.
Teresa Stelting is survived by her four daughters Denise Fields, Linda Nelsen, Nancy Fincher and Ruth Rubelt; 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; her brother Jim Davies and many nieces and nephews around the world. She was preceded in death by an infant son Richard, husband Herbert Willard Stelting, and eldest grandson Ted Fields.
Memorial donation can be made to a veterans’ group.