John Roberts Stabler

StablerJohn Roberts Stabler, 89, on January 27, 2022, at the Phoenix at Tucker, an assisted living facility in Tucker, Ga. John died during an outbreak of COVID at the facility, so unfortunately family members were not present, but were able to speak with him and see him on video calls. John and his wife, Joan, had lived at the Phoenix for more than a year. Joan went into hospice care and passed away six months later on July 27, 2022.

John was born on April 11, 1932, to Norman and Elizabeth Stabler in New Rochelle, N.Y. His was a family of many generations of Quakers. Both his maternal grandparents and his parents met at George School in Newtown, Pa., and spoke using “thee” and “thou” to John.

As was expected of all four Stabler boys, John got his first job at the age of 14. After struggles in public school following his parents’ divorce, John attended Mount Hermon, a prep school for boys in Massachusetts. The support and encouragement that John received from his teachers helped him greatly during his emotionally turbulent high school years. John came to realize that he had the potential to excel academically.

Following high school, John participated in an American Friends Service Committee workcamp in Missouri. He attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., for a year during the Korean War, during which time he received conscientious objector (CO) status. He transferred to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he met Joan Obrist. John and Joan married on October 13, 1955. John earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Antioch in 1956. Despite his CO status, John volunteered for the U.S. Army and spent two years in Texas as an intelligence testing specialist. He enrolled at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., where he received his master’s degree in 1958. In 1961, John was awarded his doctorate from the University of Texas. John and Joan’s two children, Hetty “Sue” Suzanne and John “Mike” Michael, were born during these years.

John was an assistant professor of psychology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge from 1961 to 1968 and director of Office Child Research, from 1963 to 1969. While In Baton Rouge, John and Joan were founding members of Baton Rouge (La.) Meeting.

John was recruited to teach at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Ga., in 1969. He led a committee to increase the racial diversity of both faculty and students at Georgia State and served on the board of directors of the Georgia Youth Advocate Program. In 1991, John retired after nearly 40 years of teaching. John estimated that he had taught more than 8,000 students over the course of his career. Teaching was his way of making a difference in the lives of others and was something he loved and valued.

John and his family attended Atlanta Meeting for a time, but took a break during their children’s teen years. John returned to Atlanta Meeting following his retirement.

John made a lifelong attempt to follow two adages. One from Horace Mann: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity,” and the other from Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

John and Joan made many trips to Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Malta, Greece, Alaska, China, Thailand, and Bhutan. One of John’s greatest pleasures was playing and spending time with his grandchildren. They remember the fun of discovering and exploring with Granddad the many fancy hotel restaurants and skyscrapers in downtown Atlanta.

John was survived by his wife, Joan Stabler, until her death in July 2022. He is survived by two children, Hetty Suzanne Srikanchana (PaiBoon) and John Michael Stabler (Karen Vansciver); four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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