ALUMNI DIRECTOR TERESA STANLEY (SECOND FROM LEFT) WITH GRADUATES AT AN ALUMNI REUNION.
ALUMNI DIRECTOR TERESA STANLEY (CENTER) HELPS PRESENT A DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD TO ALUMNUS AND PROFESSOR EMERITUS DAVID ARMBRISTER.
ALUMNI DIRECTOR TERESA STANLEY (RIGHT) WITH HER HUSBAND, JIM, AT A BC HOMECOMING DANCE.
Stanley, 63, of Princeton, West Virginia, had battled an eye disorder for more than two years, which required treatment that lowered her body’s immune system. She ultimately developed an autoimmune disorder and eventually succumbed to pneumonia and other respiratory ailments.
A native of Bluefield, West Virginia, Stanley came to Bluefield College first as a student in the fall of 1994. She was not your typical student, even though she enrolled in the school’s traditional program to pursue a degree in psychology. She had attended Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, in the 1970s, but had spent most of her life serving as a pastor’s wife.
“That’s really all I knew,” said Stanley in 2009 about her marriage to minister Ernie Croy. “I was a minister’s wife for more than 20 years. It was my life.”
But sadly, the life she knew so well came to an end in 1993 when her husband died in a tragic accident. Stanley said that she and her two sons, Andy and Jason, were suddenly asking themselves, “what now?” God, she said then, provided the answer.
“God just opened the doors for me at Bluefield College,” Stanley recalled in 2009. “I was at a point in my life where I needed to start over, and Bluefield College gave me that opportunity. Once I got in and saw how this institution worked with students, I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to work here.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree from BC in 1997, Stanley joined the staff as an accounts payable clerk and a receptionist in the Business Office. Later, she became an administrative assistant to the dean of students, before serving in the same role for the Department of Athletics. In 2001, she became the director of alumni relations.
“The thought of being able to work with alumni who felt the same way about Bluefield College as I did was very exciting,” said Stanley in 2009 about being named the new alumni director. “I had worked several years with students and enjoyed that aspect greatly, but I felt like this new role would take me to a broader group who loved the college.”
Stanley, who also influenced both her sons to attend Bluefield College, worked eight years as BC’s director of alumni relations before retiring in 2009. During that span, she revived regional alumni chapters and played a key role in creating an on-campus Ministers’ Conference. She also was instrumental in developing a Scholarship Auction to support the BC Fund for Scholarships. In addition, she created the Delgado Christian Service Award to pay tribute to former academic dean Primitivo Delgado and to honor those alumni who exemplify his Christian service.
“Teresa loved engaging with people and was an excellent representative of Bluefield College,” said BC’s Crystal Kieloch, director of the Quality Enhancement Program. “She was dedicated to the mission of the college because she was an ardent follower of Christ, and it truly showed in her life.”
The 1998 recipient of BC’s Distinguished Staff Award, Stanley also spearheaded the publication of a new Alumni Directory in 2005 and developed a President’s Graduation Dinner to recognize graduating seniors prior to Commencement. During her final year as alumni director, she created the Golden Graduates Society to honor alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago. And, just before her retirement in 2009 she was elected president of the Association of Southern Baptist Alumni Directors.
“It (her decision to retire) was a tearful and prayerful decision for me,” said Stanley, who met her second husband, Jim, who is also a pastor, through a BC co-worker, “but I sensed my season was drawing to a close. I came to BC in God’s timing, and I left in God’s timing. It was time for me to give more to Jim’s ministry, as well as to our families.”
And that she did. Alongside her husband, Jim, pastor of the Church of Christ in Pettry, West Virginia, she played the piano for the church and for several music groups. She led Bible studies and spoke often to women’s organizations. She also spearheaded church meals and other gatherings, all while devoting the latter part of her life to her grandchildren.
“Teresa was an amazing encourager,” said Kieloch. “I collaborated with her on women’s Bible studies from time to time, and I am truly a stronger Christian because of her investment in me. I never left Teresa’s presence without a smile, and I’m a better person because of her example. I will miss her terribly.”
Friends and family celebrated Stanley’s life during a memorial service June 14, speaking of her commitment to her husband Jim’s ministry and her joy in being a grandparent, expressing admiration about her ability to cook, sharing humorous stories about her parenting and eager desire to give advice, and honoring her faith, influence and devotion to Jesus Christ.
“Teresa is a fellow Christ-follower who has impacted my life for years with her genuine care, wise counsel, constant prayers, and keen wit,” said Tim Havens, former BC director of admissions. “Yes, the final page of her earthly journey’s story has been turned, and I mourn her passing, but she now finds herself enjoying a grand new beginning in the presence of her King. She does so with total confidence that her Sovereign God is at work in her life for His glory and her good. It is well with her soul!”
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