Stefanie Marie Whannel was born in Manhattan, Kansas on September 25, 1987. Her adoptive parents, Gene and Lisa Whannel were present at the hospital when she was born. Upon Stefanie and her birth mother’s release from the hospital, there was a service for the immediate family and adoptive parents at her birth mother’s church where her birth mother read a beautiful note of love to transfer her baby to Gene and Lisa. Stefanie was brought home to Great Bend, Kansas after the service. Stefanie was baptized at the Great Bend Presbyterian Church at a service where nearly all of Gene and Lisa’s family from across the country attended.
In 1988, the Whannel family moved to the Cincinnati suburb of Landen, Ohio. While in Ohio Stef made many lifelong friends. She enjoyed spending time at the nearby Kings Island amusement park where her dad taught her to stand on her tip toes so that she would pass the height restriction and he would have a partner in riding the roller coasters. She enjoyed her Brownie troop, ballet, gymnastics, piano lessons, Sunday school and swimming while in Ohio. She especially enjoyed our family Thanksgiving/Winter celebrations in Ohio where the Ask family would gather to celebrate the winter holidays over a three day period! In 1997, the family moved to Fort Collins Colorado. Stefanie started at Werner Elementary School that fall in the 4th grade.
Stefanie loved making the trips to Iowa to spend time with her Whannel family at the local hardware store in Traer Iowa. Her time with her grandparents and family in Traer was a treasure she fondly remembered.
In Fort Collins Stefanie participated in her church’s youth group, choir at Werner Elementary and other activities. Stefanie’s passion was swimming. She was a very gifted athlete. She joined the FAST swim team in Fort Collins. While swimming for the FAST team she was privileged to have an amazingly talented group of young ladies swimming with her. Stef traveled to several national swim meets with these young ladies. This group of girls also swam for the Fort Collins High School swim team. During Stef’s freshman year, she won the 200 yard freestyle event at the conference meet. At the state meet, the Fort Collins team came close to winning the state championship! It was an exciting experience.
Stefanie was proud of her Native American heritage and made several trips to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota where her birth father is now a pastor and actively involved in the Rosebud Boys and Girls Club.
Stef loved her family and her friends. She had recently started back to school to get her psychology degree with the hope that she could help people who struggled with mental health and addiction issues as she had. She passed away on March 24, 2020 and is survived by her parents, Gene and Lisa Whannel, her birth parents, Andrea Law and Paul Mitchell, her aunts and uncles: Lynne Rusley, Stuart & Von Whannel, Jay and Toni Whannel, Bernard & Kathy Ask, Marie Anne & Steve Bernhard, Tom and Beth Ask, Susan Ask & Joe Mazza; Brent Law, Dwight Law - cousins: Eric Rusley, Janean Dicari, Jason Rusley, Jay Whannel, Jodi Ask Richard, Kim Ask Peffley, Daniel Bernhard, Christopher Bernhard, Eric Ask and Elayna Ask and her special friend Nate Pitsch. Memorials can be made to Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park or Rosebud Boys and Girls Club, in care of Allnutt Funeral Service, 1302 Graves Ave., Estes Park, CO 80517.
A service for Stefanie will be held at Rocky Mountain Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 18th.