MOUNT HOREB - Dr. Bluebell Reade Standal (Syiem), was born Feb. 8, 1921, in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, to Shim Kiri Syiem and Wilson Medley Reade.
Bluebell was the eighth child of eleven siblings. She was preceded in death by her son, John; her mother and father; her brothers, Winston, Carlton, Heraldton, Ebanton and Levanton; and sisters, Edith, Maebel, and Clarabel. Her son, Gregory; and her sister, Marybell Muir, survive Bluebell. She was, and her surviving families are, partly Khasi people, endonym: Ki Khun U Hynñiewtrep "Children of the Seven Huts", an indigenous ethnic group of Meghalaya in northeastern India.
Bluebell received her primary and secondary education at the Presbyterian Girls High School in Shillong. She obtained her baccalaureate of science in physics and chemistry from Cotton College in Guwahati, Assam, India. In late 1943, she obtained a scholarship to study home economics in the United States. She traveled from Shillong to Calcutta and then to Bombay by rail to board the USS Hermitage, a troop and refugee transport ship. The six-week ocean journey occurred via Perth and Melbourne, Australia, zig-zagged the Pacific through the Solomon Islands to avoid an attack by the Japanese, to arrive at San Pedro, Calif. Her final destination lay further on to Chicago, Ill., to attend the University of Chicago. However, the coming from the cool, fall climate of Shillong to the beginning of the midwest winter of Illinois was more than she could bear. She managed to obtain a second posting at the University of California at Berkeley, where she completed her doctorate in human nutrition. She was the first Khasi female to be conferred a Ph.D.
In 1955, Bluebell returned to India, this time traveling by air. Bluebell was stationed in New Delhi at the Indian Institute of Medical Research. In 1958-59, she returned to the United States to take up residence at the University of Hawaii as an assistant professor of human nutrition with emphasis on protein research. She continued to advance her academic responsibilities eventually as full professor and department chair.
In Hawaii, she met Stanley Wallace Standal on a hike to Mount Olomana. They were married and had two sons, Gregory and John. Bluebell and Stan divorced in 1968 leaving Bluebell to raise her two sons with the assistance of her sister, Marybell. Bluebell purchased the family home in 1969 and raised her sons to graduate from the University of Hawaii. Gregory married Vicki France of Boscobel, Wis. He went on to a profession in teaching and the two raised two children, Brandon and Mariah. Brandon is married to Annaliese Morkri, of Mount Horeb, Wis. Mariah is married to Brock Schoepp of Milwaukee, Wis. Her son, John, became a data analyst and database engineer working to create a database of spoken languages across the world. Sadly, John preceded Bluebell in death in 2006.
Bluebell had a warm, vibrant and adventurous personality. Her faith in Christianity gave her a solid foundation from which she developed kindness, love and generosity to most people that encountered her. She was greatly loved and had a lasting impact on those who knew her.
Bluebell lived in Hawaii throughout her retirement. Given her advanced age, Gregory moved Bluebell to Wisconsin where she lived out the remainder of her days at Girlie's Manor in Mount Horeb. Bluebell passed on July 10, 2019. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the staff at Girlie's Manor who tirelessly took care of Bluebell. She was loved and had a great impact on many people. A Hui Ho, my dear mother. Until we meet again.
Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com
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