07/19/2017 - Mabel Muller
Services for Amabella “Mabel” de Leon Santiago Muller, formerly of Chadron, NE, will be at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church in Omaha, NE.
A memorial has been established for the Chadron State College Foundation online at www.csc.edu/foundation/donate.csc. Under “Gift Restrictions or Unrestricted,” enter “In honor of Mabel Muller for the International Club.”
Mabel (Ma-Bell) passed away on July 14, 2017 in Millard, NE. Born on January 18, 1927, Mabel was the second child of four children born in Baliuag, Bulocan, Philippines, a city north of Manila. Her father was a school principal and then an accountant for the local hospital. Her mother was a hard-working wife who unfortunately died of tuberculosis at a young age when Mabel was six years old. Mabel embraced her tomboy status and loved playing softball & badminton all through her school years.
After high school, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree and teaching certificate in the Philippines and taught grade school for 9 years. In 1957, she came to the United States to attend Washington University in St. Louis as a graduate student in Social Work. In St. Louis she met her husband Chris Muller who was also a graduate student there. Mabel received her Master’s Degree in June 1960, and the two were married a month later on July 3 in the small town of Pierce, NE. She joined Chris at Lutheran Family Services in Omaha working with families in the adoption process.
Mabel and her father-in-law, Chris 1st, enjoyed a special relationship as they loved to fish, bowl, and play cards together. One of her special memories was becoming a United States Citizen with her father-in-law, who emigrated from Germany, together in 1961.
In 1962 Mabel gave birth to their first child, Chris III. A few years later they were blessed with their daughter Robbin, whom they adopted, and eight months later their family was complete with the birth of their third child Jeff. Mabel stayed home during the kids’ early years. She supported Chris as he became the founding Director of Big Brothers of Omaha.
In 1972, the Muller family moved to the town of Chadron, NE and eventually to a beautiful piece of land south of Chadron where they built their dream home.
Mabel started working at Chadron State College in 1975 and over the 17 years she was there, she was an Academic Advisor, Director of the Tutoring program, and Director of the Student Development Center. While being known for her gracious nature, she was also known to give some students a good scolding for goofing off academically! She was also a sponsor of the International Club at Chadron State and the International Night with food, entertainment and attire that became one of the go-to events in Chadron. In 1992, both Mabel and her husband Chris retired together from Chadron State College.
The retirement years brought about a great amount of travel, often to visit their children and grandchildren. They became snowbirds, living in Arizona in the winters and the Black Hills in the summers with numerous trips, usually in their motorhome, in between. While in Arizona, Mabel took up various arts and craft projects with “Zipper Art” becoming one of her favorites. She loved the retirement years, and they developed lifelong friends that would be her “Angels” in her later years.
After Chris’s passing in 2009, Mabel continued living the snowbird life for another three years until her family and friends convinced her to move to Omaha full-time to be close to Chris III and his family. She lived at Walnut Grove, an independent living retirement community, until January 2017. At Walnut Grove, she quickly became involved in many activities and was best known for her crazy costumes that Susie, whom she affectionately called “her daughter outlaw”, would create for her and that she wore so well!
Mabel will be remembered for her hard work, her graciousness, her fun sense of humor, and her loud cheering for her children, grandchildren and Nebraska Cornhuskers! But when her family and friends were asked to share memories of times with her, one constant theme kept coming up. Her love of entertaining people with Filipino themed parties and her famous cinnamon rolls. Receiving a dozen of her cinnamon rolls was like getting a bottle of fine wine. Family members were known to hide the cinnamon rolls from each other!
Mabel was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her sister and brother. Surviving Mabel are brother Cayetano Santiago; sons Chris III and Jeff; daughter Robbin; daughter outlaw Susie; grandchildren Chris IV, Will, Katie, Colten and Chase; and a legacy of relationships and friendships that will live on!
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