2016-08-18 / Obituaries

Elizabeth McDaniel

Elizabeth McDaniel passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 28, 2016, surrounded by her beloved husband Jim and loved ones at her home near Raymond, Calif., following her courageous battle with cancer.

Elizabeth, or Liz or Libby, as she was known to her friends and family, was born on Nov. 24, 1947, to Willard McDaniel and Jewel McDaniel, one of six children. Her father was a pastor with the Church of the Brethren, a teacher and a superintendent of a school. Her mother was a homemaker and a teacher. Elizabeth made a life-time commitment to care for her parents as they grew older. She, her siblings, extended family and friends were instrumental in ensuring their parents were well taken care of in their later years. The family honored a traditional religious lifestyle. And, they traveled every summer, by car, camping between destinations. This became the foundation for Elizabeth’s lifelong love of travel. Elizabeth grew to love the arts, dance and music. Over time and international travel, she came to embrace a wider, more ecumenical vision of life and God.

Elizabeth expressed great love throughout her life for her five siblings and she deeply appreciated the incredible diversity of their personalities and ways of life. She made efforts to stay close to her brothers and sisters and thought of each of them each day until the end of her life.

Elizabeth loved children and taught in public schools with great skill, creativity, dedication and passion for more than 30 years, beginning in Long Beach and eventually teaching at the Bass Lake Unified School District. She completed her work at the Mountain Home School for students on independent study. She cared deeply for all of her students and colleagues. Elizabeth had a special gift for identifying a child in need, providing warmth and affection and a unique ability to think outside the box to meet each student’s educational and developmental needs.

Elizabeth was sensitive, contemplative and introverted, but she was also confident and actively engaged in social gatherings and could enter into any form of debate on various topics at any time with great clarity and conviction. She had great expertise and knowledge of diverse subjects, including genealogy.

Elizabeth was married to Arthur James Hubbard on June 13, 1987. Jim and Elizabeth had just enjoyed their 29th anniversary and were planning to travel and enjoy retirement together.

In November 1992, Elizabeth and Jim experienced great joy and love when their adopted son Dustin came into their home and hearts and the lives of their families. Elizabeth was immensely proud of Dustin’s courageous choices and achievements in life, his growth and development, his unusual combination of strength and kindness, and his committed service in the United States Navy.

Elizabeth loved travel and had been to Africa on safari, to South Africa and on a mission to Nelson Mandela’s prison where she donated money to a local Methodist Church. She also traveled to Europe numerous times and to Indonesia. Elizabeth and Jim sojourned to China on another mission to provide funds for a local school. Dustin, Jim, and Elizabeth also enjoyed traveling to many places, including Canada, Bali, Indonesia, Singapore and much of the United States. Elizabeth’s love of travel has been passed down to Dustin who has traveled and explored many other parts of the world.

Elizabeth was a certified lay minister in the Methodist Church for the last 10 years. She took her spiritual vocation seriously, attending retreats at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, Calif., for week-long trainings and religious education. During that decade, she provided sermons at the Methodist churches in Mariposa and Oakhurst, in which she took great joy in crafting and delivering. Three weeks before she passed away, she delivered her final sermon entitled “Gratitude” where she expressed her deep thankfulness for the life she had been given, and the people and experiences that she had been graced to know.

She oversaw the creation of a small labyrinth at the Methodist Church in Oakhurst. After its completion, she engaged the help of friends to create a sacred space at her home of a physical labyrinth for spiritual contemplation and reflection. Then she discovered there was already a natural labyrinth created by the crisscrossing pathways of four-legged creatures that roam the property.

Elizabeth fed and clothed the hungry and the homeless, gave rides to wandering walkers along any road, and helped others in any way she could. Elizabeth welcomed everyone into her heart and life.

She was a devoted, lifelong learner and was an omnivorous reader, devouring every form of literature. Toward the end of her life, and her fierce battle with cancer, she shared with friends and family how much she enjoyed the sounds of life waking up in the morning as each creature sang its own hymn to the rising day.

When her doctors informed her that her cancer was terminal, Elizabeth chose to continue to live her life to the fullest. She and Jim made plans to travel extensively during the final months of her life and to visit with her family and friends.

Elizabeth is survived by her husband Jim, their son Dustin, both of Raymond, her sisters Grace Lohman and husband Werner of Marathon, Fla., Lorene Williams and husband Lyle of Alberta, Canada, Hope Campbell and husband Rick of San Diego, Calif., and her brothers, Merlin McDaniel and wife Cathy of Medford, Calif., and Ted McDaniel and wife Pat of Minot, N.D., her many nieces and nephews and all those fortunate to have received her grace in their lives.

Services will be at the New Community United Methodist Church in Oakhurst on Friday, Oct. 14 at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the New Community United Methodist Church in Oakhurst or to the charity of your choice.

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