Cherished Farm Memories Leave Lasting Legacy

Posted: November 10, 2022

Family honors memories by establishing a new George W. “Bill” and Ann Marie Stanley Scholarship

To honor these cherished farm memories of Ann Marie and her husband Bill Stanley, their family has established an endowed scholarship in their names with the DeKalb County Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

George W. “Bill” and Ann Marie Stanley are being honored by family with an endowed scholarship through the Farm Bureau Foundation.

Continuing family scholarships

The legacy of “agriculture and education” was a passion for Ann Marie’s parents, Arden and Dorothy Baie. The Waterman farm couple shared their love of the farm and commitment to higher education standards with their children.

This was the premise for the establishment of the Arden and Dorothy Baie Scholarship by their daughters Ann Marie, Joan and Donna in 2015. Now, after the passing of Ann Marie and Bill, family members have created another scholarship in their namesake.

Ann Marie and Bill’s daughter, Valerie Stanley, along with her aunts Joan Stanley and Donna (Darnell) Pettengill established the George W. “Bill” and Ann Marie Stanley Scholarship with a gift to the Farm Bureau Foundation. The new scholarship fund will annually provide a $2,000 scholarship to a deserving college junior or senior in any undergraduate field of study beginning in 2023.

“My sisters and I set up a scholarship to honor our parents, in 2015, and now we are honoring my sister and brother-in-law with yet another scholarship,” said Donna Pettengill. “Each year I am amazed by the caliber of students that apply and receive the many Farm Bureau Scholarships which the Foundation awards. It really gives me hope for the future.”

Remembering the past

Ann Marie and Bill Stanley cherished their time spent on the farm and memories in DeKalb County.

“Of all the great memories my parents shared over the years, their time spent on the farm stood out,” said Valerie Stanley. “My mom said it undoubtedly shaped the woman she became and felt it was one of her biggest blessings in life.”

Ann Marie Baie was awarded the title of Illinois Spot Queen by the Illinois Spotted Swine Association in 1963. She enjoyed showing Spotted Poland China pigs at several fairs.

“My sister Ann Marie always said that growing up on a farm provided the best childhood,” recalls Joan Stanley. “She loved showing pigs with our dad at the Sandwich Fair, her years of 4-H with our mother as her 4-H leader, and giving speeches on Spotted Poland China hogs, which our father bred.”

In 1963, Ann Marie was awarded the title of Illinois Spot Queen by the Illinois Spotted Swine Association.

Ann Marie was a graduate of Waterman High School and attended Nebraska Wesleyan University. Bill grew up in Elizabeth, West Virginia and graduated from Wirt County High School. The couple met in Lincoln, Nebraska while Ann Marie was attending college and Bill was serving in the U.S. Air Force.

Bill and Ann Marie began their married life on the Baie Farm on Preserve Road in rural Waterman. Bill worked with his father-in-law, Arden, on the family farm until it was sold in 1967.

The Stanleys lived in Waterman for 19 years before moving to Summersville, West Virginia. They were partners in Pizza Hut franchises and franchise owners of Mister Donut until their retirement in 2001. The couple enjoyed their retirement years in Ocala, Florida.

Honoring family members

Bill and Ann Marie were married for 53 years and were blessed with two children, Valerie and Eric; and four grandchildren, Sophie and Phoebe Kiser and Hunter and Hailey Stanley. Bill passed away in 2017 and Ann Marie passed in January, 2022.

Upon Ann Marie’s death, Valerie Stanley, Joan Stanley and Donna Pettengill chose to honor their loved ones with the startup of a scholarship.

Valerie Stanley says her parents were remarkable and passionate about their farming past and higher education. Valerie is pictured with her mother, Ann Marie.

“Growing up, my parents emphasized the importance of education,” said Valerie. “My parents had remarkable work ethics. They recognized that this, coupled with higher education, could unlock pathways to new opportunities.”

Valerie Stanley is an enrollment counselor for Western Governors University. She resides in Ocala, FL and has two adult daughters.

Joan Stanley is a property owner and manager of JC Homes Property Management. Joan resides in DeKalb and has two adult daughters, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Donna Pettengill is a retired insurance underwriter. Her husband, Darnell, is a retired attorney for American Agricultural Insurance Company. They reside in Rio Verde, AZ and Door County, WI and have two adult children and two grandchildren.

The Baie family spent many happy years on their family farm located on Preserve Road in rural Waterman. Ann Marie (Baie) Stanley said some of her best childhood memories were growing up on the farm.