Following three traumatic losses, Iris Stober never gave up.
The 79-year-old former nurse and missionary said her life felt like it was over when her husband Dick Hayden and two sons Richie and Rodney died in a 1970 plane crash.
As missionaries in Nicaragua, Stober said her husband was trying to keep a schedule to retrieve a motor and flew with the boys in bad weather. Her daughter Carmen was the only immediate family she had left.
“I thought I had four options — suicide, drugs and alcohol, fall into self-pity or bury my heartache and earn a living by helping others,” she said.
This story is one one many parts in Stober’s book “God Leads in Perplexities, Joys, and Sorrows.”
Even after heartbreak, Stober found God is in control when things go wrong.
“Many would go astray but God didn’t make the airplane. God helped me through it along with my very supportive family,” she said.
,Originally a farm girl from Iowa and the fifth of eight children, Stober followed her dreams to travel. After the crash, she moved to Texas for three years for work before furthering her education at University of Washington.
For nine years she directed a health project in Honduras helping locals with sanitation and health.
Later she served as a nurse consultant for the Adventist Church World Headquarters visiting hospitals and colleges in 70-plus countries. In 1990, she moved to Bakersfield, Calif., where she was director of a medical surgical nurses unit. She retired five years later and moved to Sequim in 1996.
“God Leads” is actually her second book. She wrote a guide on basic hygiene for people in Africa in the 1980s with a doctor she worked with. For her newest book she was challenged by her friend Roger Dowling at a Sequim Seventh-day Adventist depression seminar to write her story.
“Everyone needs a challenge he said and that I should write my life story,” Stober said. “But I write like a masters thesis so Carolyn Byers requested to be a co-author.”
They started the book six years ago together but Byers died in 2011 before it saw print.
With the book, Stober hopes to leave her story to posterity and be of help to anyone with similar experiences.
“In my life, God leads in different ways. He’s led more behind the scenes than do this or that,” she said.
One highlight, she said, is that she helped create a Bachelor’s of Science program for a nursing school in Kenya which is still going today. A master’s program is in development, too, she said.
Today, Stober acts as director of Adventist Community Services that provides food and clothing to those in need for free from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays.
She remarried in 1985 to Elvin Stober.
Her recommendation for everyone is to “live your life productively and in service for others rather than sitting around.”