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Obituary: Stella K. Sanchez

On June 11, 2023, our matriarch, spouse, mother, sister and auntie Stella K Sanchez passed on surrounded by her closest family after months of loving care from her husband and partner for life Lawrence.

Stella Molina was born on September 21, 1948 to mother Mela and father JD Molina.

During her childhood she and her family would move up and down the Santa Fe Railway on which Stella's father JD worked for many years.

Stella graduated from Cathedral Catholic High School in Gallup, New Mexico with a high school diploma in 1966 and returned to Williams to be near her sisters and mother in the late 1960s.

Stella met her future husband, Lawrence, in Williams after he was honorably discharged from the US Army in late 1967 and they were married in 1969.

Soon after they married son Toby was born as Stella split her time as a homemaker and working retail service jobs during the early 1970s.

During the late 70s and early 80s, she was employed as a factory worker at KC Highlights while she and Lawrence built a family life for their son.

In 1985, she and Lawrence embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that would last nearly 40 years when she and Lawrence purchased the landmark "Rod's Steak House" and transformed it into a formidable and growing service employer.

Stella would soon go on to lead general operations, staffing and bookkeeping as she and Lawrence grew into full fledged business owners while guiding their son to pursue his education and adult life.

Many Williams residents were hired by, worked for and with Stella, while many also credit her with being a compassionate soul that wished to help anyone in need. Still more count her as a primary inspiration for their own business endeavors and spark for their own personal growth.

Like her mother Mela, and sisters Marie, Martha, Priscilla and Debra, Stella had a knack for arts, crafts, decorating and excellent home cooking that added a spice and panache to her home and business life and to the lives of anyone lucky enough to earn her love and or compassion.

Stella was never afraid to learn new skills both in business and personal endeavors and her pioneering use of personal computers was admired by many and was an integral part of the personal touch Stella added to everything she was involved with in her later years.

Stella is survived by her husband of 54 years Lawrence, her son Toby, his wife Reeta, brother Robert (Bobby), sisters Marie and Martha, canine Coochie Coo, and many nieces and nephews, and scores of "adopted" temporarily lost souls that she helped to set their own lives straight through her compassion for others to get a second chance at life.

In addition to supporting others' individual growth, Stella supported numerous charities and invested in the local community. Among others, she supported St Mary's Food Bank, the American Cancer Society, the Williams Senior Center, Northern Arizona women's shelters, Williams public schools, Northern Arizona Youth Football and Williams Little League baseball.

She was proceeded in death by her father JD, mother Mela, stepfather Johnny Martinez, brother Simon Molino, sister Debra Martinez and sister Priscilla Rodarte who passed on in the morning the same day as Stella.

We will always miss her dearly and the immensity of her absence will be felt by the thousands of lives she wished to better.

We love you so much Stella.

Services will be held June 28 at St Joseph Catholic Church. A rosary will be at 10 a.m. followed by a 10:30 a.m. mass.

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