Stella Norma (Falkner) Barnette, age 93, passed away peacefully on October 20, 2019. Stella was born in Queens, New York on May 26, 1926 to parents Arthur and Martha Falkner. During her childhood, Stella’s mother did domestic work for the renowned American artist Edward Hopper and his wife, and Stella became the subject of one of Hopper’s portraits in 1936 at the age of 10. The drawing is part of the Edward Hopper collection housed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan. Stella completed a geology degree from the City College of New York. In the fall of 1946, Stella began work at the American Museum of Natural History in the Publications department. In 1947, she married celebrated Native American artist Tom Dorsey. He was also known as Tom Two Arrows and worked in the AMNH Education department. Their daughter, Okanta (“Little Owl”) was born in 1948 during the time they both worked at the Museum. During the 1950s, Stella traveled extensively throughout Asia, accompanying her husband on goodwill tours sponsored by the US State Department to present the American Indian and his culture. In the 1960s, they lived in Albany, NY until their divorce. Stella later married Stuart Barnette and the couple lived in Ithaca, NY, where Stuart taught architecture at Cornell University until he retired in 1970. Stella moved to York Harbor in 1967, and the couple later divorced. For the next 36 years, Stella worked and volunteered for several organizations in the area. She served as past president of the York Public Library board of trustees and secretary of the York Housing board of directors. In 2003, Stella moved into York Housing’s brand new Village Woods apartments. Up until a few months before her passing, she continued volunteering at the library assisting with processing most of the new books, something she took pride in doing with meticulous precision. Her friends remember her as an avid gardener, reader, and a good listener who gave wonderful advice from the heart and knew how to keep confidences. She especially loved flowers, birds and trees. Stella will be deeply missed, by her friends and neighbors at York Housing and her colleagues at York Public Library. Stella was predeceased by her parents, Arthur and Martha Falkner, an older sister, Etta, first husband, artist Tom “Two Arrows” Dorsey, and second husband, architect Stuart M. Barnette. Stella leaves a daughter, Okanta Dorsey Leonard and a grandson. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Nature Conservancy of Maine York Public Library Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home, York, Maine. Visit www.lucaseatonfuneralhome.com
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