2015 State Mothers of the Year

ALABAMA - CHARLENE RABREN 

Charlene Howell Rabren was born and raised in the rural area of Pike Road, Alabama. She will quickly tell you that her most important job on earth was first, raising her children, and second, loving on her seven grandchildren. You do not need to know the Rabren’s long to fully understand that their love of family, God and country takes precedence over all other matters. Charlene has been described as a “do-er”. But, there is no doubt her people skills are the most outstanding! As the City Clerk for the Town of Pike Road Charlene has been the glue that has kept a sometimes strained community intact. Few people enjoy change, and when a community grows from 305 people to over 8,000 in just 17 years there will be change. Charlene has the incredible ability of letting each individual know their needs will be met even as change happens.

ALASKA - VIKKI SOLBERG

Vikki was born on July 4th 1952 in Anchorage Alaska.  She is the happy mom of 11 children and grandmother to 17.  She and her husband Rick of 43 years, run a fast paced natural foods store with 47 employees in Anchorage.  While she helps manage the day to day operations of the store, she is most involved in the kitchen gadgets and specialty departments.  If Vikki knew then what she knows now- she would have taken Business Management instead of Shorthand and Interior Design in college. The children were all raised around the business.  Vikki laughs when she recalls, an employee called in sick and Vikki had to help cashier.  She had a 3 month old who was getting hungry.  Vikki did what any good mom and business owner would do, the baby latched on, the blanket stayed put and the customers bagged their own groceries.

ARIZONA - BETTE DOXEY

Bette was born in Arizona to Robert and Lora Magnusson. Extremely talented, Bette, wrote many musicals and plays while in high school and college.  After graduating in Early Childhood and Family Relationships for the purpose of creating her own Academic Learning Center, she married Ronald Doxey, teaching until he completed his specialty degree in Pediatric Dentistry at Northwestern in Chicago, Illinois. They settled in Phoenix, Arizona, becoming parents to five, and are now grandparents to twelve.  As a seminary teacher in Hawaii, she wrote a Ten-Act Religious Musical Pageant where it was showcased for many years under her personal direction in Hawaii, Chicago, Illinois, Mexico City, and many times in Curitiba, Brazil and Phoenix, Arizona. This resulted in creating within Bette a strong connection with students and friends who contributed to the success of the pageant---as it blessed the lives of many thousands of men, women, and children.

CALIFORNIA - JoANNE MICHELS

JoAnne and her husband have a close-knit family of eight children (all of whom earned advanced degrees and participate in multiple humanitarian projects as a life-style), and twenty-one grandchildren continuing the tradition. She has opened her home to forty people, for periods of two to eight years each, according to their needs (post-earthquake, life-crises, drug rehabilitation, etc). Her global service projects include: The Sean Michels School for Special Needs Children (Kenya); Globe Theater restoration (London); Ayuda, providing dental care, (Belize), and Operation Underground Railroad.  She’s served on the National Democratic Finance Committee; as Seminary Instructor; Boy Scout Leader; American Red Cross Instructor, and teacher of multiple “Becoming A Better Parent” courses.  She’s an accomplished speaker and writer, having spoken hundreds of times on topics ranging from Literature to Exploited Children. She is currently writing the biography of a street-child.

COLORADO - LINDA NARGI

Linda Nargi was born in Naples, Florida and is one of seven children.   Linda became a mother at the age of 20 with the joyful birth of her daughter Tiffani.  18 months later she celebrated the birth of her son Justin.  Linda spent the majority of Tiffani and Justin’s growing up years as a single parent. When Linda was 36 she met a man named Nick who stole her heart.  Linda and Nick married two years later, in 2004.  In September of 2006, Linda gave birth to Lila, who has Down syndrome.  In 2011, Lexi joined their family through the gift of adoption.  Lexi was 6 months old at the time and also has Down syndrome.   Linda’s greatest joy comes from spending time with her family and volunteering with her local Down Syndrome Association supporting other families and spreading awareness about Down syndrome.

DELAWARE - ELLEN BARROSSE

Married to Paul Antle for 35 years, Ellen has three daughters.  Laura earned her PhD from Oxford University in England and teaches at Sidwell Freinds School.  Mary graduated from Yale, after which she helped malnourished children in the Congo. She is in medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.  Sarah, adopted in 2004, recently began 6th grade at Wilmington Friends.  Ellen founded a $15M pharmaceutical services business in 1986, acting as CEO through its sale in 2014.  In addition to six US offices, Synchrogenix has international subsidiaries in England and Manila.  Ellen pioneered offering parents flexibility to raise their families.  Five of Synchrogenix’s seven leaders are young mothers.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - BARBARA REYNOLDS

Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds is  an educator, author, journalist, and social activist. She has a distinguished career in journalism: Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, columnist/editor at USA TODAY, columnist at the Washington Post.  She has authored six books including: No I won’t Shut UP: 30 Years of Telling it Like it is and Doing Good in the Hood: The Life, Leadership, @ legacy of Bishop Alfred Owens Jr. She recently completed the memoirs of her mentor Coretta Scott King. She has taught at scores of seminaries and universities and was elected to the Board of Preachers at Morehouse College, for exemplifying the qualities of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the school’s most revered graduate. She is the mother of John Eric Reynolds, godmother of Pastor Keith Magee, as well as several daughters. She has mentored and mothered scores of men and women especially in the Harriets Ministry she founded to break the chains of hindrance.

FLORIDA - TERRI GONZALES

Terri Gonzalez is a breast cancer survivor and an autism advocate. She received a degree in biology from The University of South Florida. Michael, the youngest of three, was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of two only one year after she completed aggressive chemotherapy and several surgeries.  With cancer, doctors had a plan.  With autism, no one knew what to do.  She uses her knowledge in science and creative abilities to think out of the box to solve complex behaviors in her son. She co-chaired the 2008 Autism Speaks walk in Tampa with over 3,000 participants and was fortunate to lobby in Washington.  Her favorite hobby is writing and making up stories for her two grandchildren.  She is a lifelong Tampa resident and has been married twenty-six years to a Tampa Firefighter.

GEORGIA - ANGIE McLANE

Angie grew up in Athens, Georgia and Kingsport, Tennessee while her father earned his doctorate in Chemistry and pursued a career as a research scientist.  Her mother was a wonderful example of a stay-at-home mom. After high school, Angie graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English Education and with a certification to teach Latin.   Her first teaching job was at Brookwood High School where she met her husband, Benjie.  Angie decided to take a break from teaching, and went to work for her father.  As their family grew with the addition of their three children, Courtney,Ben and Joey, they were fortunate to have loving family and a fabulous church family as an anchor while they weathered the storms and calm seas of raising their family.  When their last child entered middle school, Angie returned to the classroom at Alton C. Crews middle school where she created a Latin/Language Arts class and coached basketball.   Currently, she teaches Gifted 9th and 10th Grade Language Arts at Brookwood High School.  In addition, she coaches basketball and lacrosse.

IDAHO - ERIKA SOELBERG

Erika was born and raised in Southern California in a faith based family. She married a wonderful man who shares her values and faith and they are the parents of seven children. She attended Brigham Young University and earned a degree in Elementary Education. Although she only taught ”officially” for three years, her degree has proven to be invaluable as she mentored her children through their educations.  Music has been a joyful part of Erika’s life. She studied piano and voice and took that love into her marriage. She and her family have loved singing together through the years and performing in many arenas. Music continues to be a unifying factor to draw her children “home.”  Erika’s hobbies include: reading, music of all kinds, live theater (mostly watching!), healthy living, re-defining her relationship with hubby (now most of the children are gone), and most recently, GRANDMOTHERING! The role of Grandmother is bringing a new measure of joy to her life!

ILLINOIS - SARAH CURTIS

Sarah Lotz Myers Curtis was raised by a family consisting of her mother, grandmother and six uncles.  Sarah attended Industry Elementary School and Macomb Senior High. She married Roger Myers, her high school sweetheart. They purchased a small farm nurturing livestock, tending a large garden and raising four successful children.  Sarah managed a 40 member 4-H club and coordinated local Missionettes along with a 10-church section.  With school-age children she worked at Western Illinois University and retired after almost 23 years.  She also completed an education degree, allowing her to substitute and tutor underachieving reading students. Roger, her husband of 45 years, passed on from pancreatic cancer.  Sarah filled her time with traveling until she dined with a wonderful fellow named Ronnie Curtis.  They fell in love and a few months later they were married.  Both she and Ronnie enjoy adventures and many more miles of traveling.

IOWA - DONNA EWERT

Donna was born in Chicago, Illinois, and soon thereafter was adopted. They lived in an apartment building in a totally integrated neighborhood.  A move to suburban life left her wondering where all the other people were. She loved school and decided to teach. She thought her community was the perfect place to live.  Life included church activities, scouts, school, and playing outside.  She took piano, saxophone, dance. She babysat, worked at a bakery, and did filing.  She attended Cornell College in Iowa, with several scholarships and board jobs, majoring in Elementary Education and Music Education. That’s where she met her husband.  She taught first grade and began a Master of Music degree in vocal performance. Finally their children arrived to make the family complete!  Donna believed she had been doing what God wanted: mom, teacher, and church worker, but one day told a friend, “If I had my druthers, I would go to seminary.” That shocked her! After praying about it, she enrolled in seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree. She accepted a call in Harlan, Iowa, and became very involved in community life.

MAINE - THERESA CLOUTIER

Theresa was born in Augusta, Maine, to poor Franco- American parents, the oldest of 6 children.  Very proud of her heritage, through perseverance, hard work and an engaging personality she became respected by her peers at school, at work and in the community in an era when being French was considered a minority. Marrying the love of her life, Roland Cloutier, after graduation, they raised a family of 10 children, 8 by birth and 2 by adoption. Shortly after the last child was born, her husband became ill and found himself unable to work as his illness got worst until death in 1998. Actively involved with church and the community, while raising her family, she worked in public service until her retirement 6 years ago when she left the State of Maine Service Center after 30 years.  Theresa remains actively involved with family, church and community through volunteerism and the organizations to which she belongs.

MARYLAND - DARA FELDMAN

Dara Feldman is a loving and committed mother. She is also a passionate educator, speaker, author, coach and consultant whose life-long goal is to transform our schools and the systems that support them into environments that embrace the love of learning with the recognition of self-worth.  She is the author of The Heart of Education:  Bringing Joy, Meaning and Purpose Back to Teaching and Learning. Dara is committed to ending the school-to-prison pipeline through her work with Restorative Practices and by facilitating Virtues Project workshops preserving the dignity of all families. Dara was honored as Disney’s 2005 Outstanding Elementary Teacher of the Year and Educator of the Year for the National Association for Self Esteem in 2009.  She is one of 10 teachers featured in the book, One on One with America’s Most Inspiring Teachers.  Dara is the happily married and the mother of 2 grown compassionate and service-minded children.

MONTANA  - CORINNE BLUDWORTH

Corinne grew up in rural Montana where she met her husband Donald. They have been married for 26 years and have raised 3 amazing kids.  When their children were young, Corinne chose to be a stay at home mom. As their children got older, it was a natural transition for Corinne to begin a journey working with and advocating for people with special needs, since their daughter, Jordan, was born with Down syndrome.  It became Corinne's mission to spread awareness and acceptance for people with Down syndrome, and to educate people, with the hopes of eradicating the stigma and misconceptions that surround individuals with Down syndrome.  In 2013, Corinne organized the first annual Buddy Walk® in Kalispell, Mt.  She works full time and spends as much time as possible with her husband and children. Corinne and Donald are anxiously awaiting the birth of their first grandchild.

NEBRASKA - DONNA LEFLER

Donna Lefler was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1945 and grew up in the Wood River area on a farm.   After graduating from  high school she attended Kearney State College for a year and a half taking business courses and then accepted a job at York, Nebraska with Farmers Home Administration.  She married a farmer, Howard, from Fairmont in 1968 and they had two children, Marcia and Mike. Donna was involved in their school, church and sports activities while her children were growing up.  Both children moved to Lincoln following high school and attended Nebraska Wesleyan University. Both Marcia and Mike are married and now have children of their own,  Donna enjoys spending as much time as she can with their three grandchildren ages 7, 4 and 1 yr old.  Donna and her husband continue to live on a farm near Fairmont.  Donna keeps busy being active in their church and church women's group,  GFWC Fairmont Woman's Club, P.E.O, Red Cross Blood Drive and Bookworms Group.

NEVADA - CANDY KRAUSMAN

Candy Krausman began her “mothering adventures” with her brothers and sister in 1966 due to the death of her own mother.  She has been married to Gary Krausman for 45 years.  She is the mother of 2 children, Megan Jones and Bryce Krausman and the grandmother of Gabriella and Liam Jones. Most of her community service has been with children.  She is still involved in Cub Scouting and has been for over 30 years.  She has received the Silver Beaver Award and Influential Women in Scouting Award.  She has a passion for music and has directed numerous children and adult choirs. She worked for Sunrise Children’s Foundation for 10 years administrating a state wide program focused on teen pregnancy prevention, STD Awareness, and FAS education.  For fun 12 years ago, she obtained a national certification in Reflexology.  Now retired, she enjoys teaching cooking classes and taking organ lessons.

NEW MEXICO - ESTHER GARCIA

Esther Garcia has given a lifetime of service in Northern New Mexico serving as a member of the school board, Commissioner of the Acequia Association and as the first female Mayor of the Village of Questa.  She was privileged to sign the Declaration of the Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument and was one of the few people who worked diligently for that declaration.  Esther was one of four women who started the Questa Public Library which has served the community with great success.  She was selected as one of the top 20 Women in New Mexico and has continued to serve on many committees throughout Taos County, New Mexico. Esther has three children and five grandchildren and states that ‘motherhood by far has been the most rewarding part of her life.’

NORTH DAKOTA - MARGARET SHAW

Margaret was born in Provo Utah.  She is the second oldest in her family of 4 children.  She was raised on a dairy farm and from an early age learned the value of hard work. She had been married to her best friend Marvin for over 40 years.  She has the wonderful opportunity to be the mother (or mother-in-law) to 6 of her favorite people, Tracy and Michael, Jeffery and Lindsay, David and Emily.    Her favorite thing is to be called Grandma, GMA or Grammy by her 7 grandchildren ages  12 to 5.   Her family is her greatest joy and she is very proud of each of them. Margaret has lived in Utah, Colorado and North Dakota.  With each area she has lived in she has made friends for life.  She loves to sew, quilt, read and craft.  She feels like she has been very blessed in her life.

OKLAHOMA - DEB STANALAND

Deb Stanaland is currently the Chief Support Services Officer for YWCA Oklahoma City.  She is a Certified Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Professional with a Professional Certificate in Victim Services and serves as Chair of the Oklahoma Crime Victims Compensation Board, appointed consecutively by two Governors.  Deb provides expert testimony in Criminal and Civil Domestic Violence cases at State and Federal levels and facilitates training and education regarding Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  She is a member of the Oklahoma Women’s Coalition, Edmond Chamber of Commerce, Lawyers Against Domestic Violence Committee, Oklahoma County Bar Association, and the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. Most importantly, Deb is a mother.  She and her husband reside in Edmond, Oklahoma.

PUERTO RICO - AURORA LUGO

Ms. Aurora Lugo Jimenez was born in San German, on October 24, 1930. Her parents were Mr. Pedro Lugo Hernández and Mrs. Maria Jimenez Morales, had 4 siblings. He attended primary, intermediate and advanced studies in public schools, where it reaches the third year. Interrupts them and moved to the US, seeking a better future. Meet her husband and father of her children, Luis Freytes Serrano and these union 3 children were born: Luis, Carlos Alberto and Iris Minerva. When your children are school age and decide to work in manufacturing industry in a shirt factory. With sacrifice and dedication alone manages to pull their children later; Luis, Neurologist, Carlos Alberto, Physical Education Teacher and Iris Minerva,Electroencephalogram Technique. We were presented with nine (9) grandchildren and twelve (12) great-grandchildren. She is an active Catholic, great human being, citizen and exemplary mother.

SOUTH DAKOTA - LYNN STARZL

Lynn Starzl was raised by her paternal grandmother from age 12 to adulthood.  Her father died when she was 5 from Hodgkin's disease and her mother died when she was 12 from a heart attack, most likely caused by alcoholism.  Her grandmother finally provided a stable and loving home life.  Lynn married at 18 and she and her husband, Calvin, just celebrated their 43rd anniversary.  They raised 8 children (5 girls and 3 boys), and have 25 grandchildren.  She has worked in a factory, as a medical transcriptionist, and administrative secretary.  She wanted to be a stay at home mom and raise her children but needed to provide an income while doing so, so she started doing day care in her home.  She has provided day care to others for 34+ years. Her husband has been a long haul truck driver most of their married life so raising the children and running the household were her responsibility.

TENNESSEE - JULIE FINE

Julie Dawn (Henderson) Fine was born May 31, 1960, in Chattanooga, TN to George and Dot Henderson. She attended Spring Creek Elementary School and as a child, enjoyed teaching neighborhood friends Bible stories using her own flannel graph board. Julie attended Tennessee Temple Middle/High School where she was a cheerleader and the valedictorian of her senior class. She attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she earned a Bachelor Of Science in Education and later a Masters of Administration in Education. Julie married Billy Fine on August 1, 1980 and together they have two daughters-Amber (1984) and Dana (1987). Julie has enjoyed participating in a number of activities with her daughters including Vacation Bible School, sports and mission camps, Girls in Action. Awanas, and various sports. For twenty-eight years, Julie taught at Snow Hill Elementary. She became a school administrator in 2010. She currently serves as the principal at Hixson Elementary School. Julie enjoys spending her free time with her family, especially her four grandsons.

TEXAS - LINDA METCALF

Linda was born in Waco, Texas, attended Baylor University for an Education degree, Texas Christian University for a Masters in School Counseling and Texas Woman's University for a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy.  She has been married for forty years to Roger Metcalf, DDS, a forensic dentist and together, they have reared three children, Roger Jr., 34, Kelli Anne, 32 and Ryan, 30.  She is the oldest of two children and daughter of Lucille and Bob Cervenka of Waco, Texas.  She prides herself on having a true connection with her children, sharing the belief with her husband that once those relationships are solid and mutually respectful, few issues develop that can't be solved together.  This philosophy holds true for her family and friend relationships, in that getting back means giving forth, whether it was to her junior high students in 1973 to her graduate counseling students in 2014.

UTAH - JAN ZOGMAISTER

Jan Macfarlane Zogmaister grew up in Ogden Utah, the third daughter of five, born to Lois Nelson and Karl Orton Macfarlane. She and her husband, Darrow, reside in West Haven, UT.  Over the last 44 years they have raised 5 daughters and their family has grown to include 4 sons in law and 21 grandchildren.  Jan and Darrow work side by side, operating their successful small business.  Jan was appointed to serve on her local planning commission, was president of Weber Homemakers and volunteered in PTA. She dedicates time to serve in many capacities in her church. Along with her service on many local, regional and state boards she recently completed 2 terms as an elected official serving as a Weber County commissioner.  She is currently on the planning committee for the 2015 World Congress on Families. When she is not serving in her church and community she is gardening, reading and spending time with her family.

VERMONT - CAROL WILLEY

Carol Willey is a native of Vermont and lives in Bakersfield. Next to God, family is her priority. She is married to a pastor, and together they have four wonderful children and seven grandchildren. Carol is a homemaker in the literal sense. She and her husband built their own home from the foundation up! She loves sheet-rocking, painting, and decorating, as well as Tai Chi, singing, gardening, and cooking from scratch. She has a passion for helping by using her gifts and talents to bless others, whether it is helping her husband in church activities, assisting one of the kids with their projects, or reaching out to the community. For seventeen years Carol has worked at Ave Maria Community Care Homes where she is the Activity Director and staff trainer. She also volunteers for Champlain Valley Agency on Aging and is on the leadership board at her church.