Stasha Furlan Seaton, a woman of incredible strength, faith, intellect, generosity and enthusiasm for life, died on June 11, 2022.
Stasha was born February 6, 1924, in Trieste, Italy, and moved as a small child to Ljubljana, Slovenia. There she had an idyllic life with her parents, Boris and Ana Furlan, her nona, Virginia, and her two brothers, Borut and Aljoša. She was an extremely active young girl, with an insatiable love for the outdoors, especially the mountains. She climbed Triglav, the highest mountain in the Julian Alps, three times, and she loved to ski with her family, ride her bike through the countryside with her girlfriends, and camp with the girl scouts. She also loved modern dance, which she studied seriously with an eminent teacher in Ljubljana.
Stasha’s father, Boris, was a prominent lawyer and professor of law and philosophy in Ljubljana. In March, 1941, when she was just 17, the family escaped, with the help of the British, from Yugoslavia, shortly before it was invaded by the Germans and Italians, so that her father could work with the Yugoslav government in exile. During World War II she traveled with her family to New York, where she enrolled in Barnard College, even though, as she liked to say, she was a high school drop-out. After attending Barnard for one year, she decided to return to Yugoslavia to help in the fight against Hitler and Mussolini, so by January 1943 she had enrolled in nursing school at New York Presbyterian Hospital and by September 1944 she was on her way to join the Yugoslav partisans. Her time in the partisans was physically and mentally grueling, and she was sustained by her own incredible determination and by her deep Catholic faith. While in the partisans, she realized the communist party in Yugoslavia was ruthless and uncompromising, and, indeed, at the end of the war her father was arrested on false charges because he was seen as a threat to the regime. With the help of her brother, she moved to Trieste to work as an interpreter (she had a gift for languages) for the Slovenians. From there she made a dramatic escape to Rome. After obtaining a Red Cross visa, she returned to New York, this time as a war refugee, with no family and no resources.
Upon her return to the U.S., Barnard College re-admitted her as a student and provided some financial support, for which she was forever grateful. She received a BA from Barnard, and an MA in philosophy from Bryn Mawr, and then was accepted to the PhD program in philosophy at the University of Chicago. She was very proud that at Chicago she was one of the few students to receive an A from the distinguished professor, Richard McKeon. At Chicago, she made many brilliant and wonderful friends, and she met her husband to be, Donald Seaton. She and Don moved to Washington, D.C. and then Maryland, where they had their daughter, Jessica. After Don and Stasha separated, Stasha became an elementary school teacher. She loved teaching, especially art, and she loved the children she taught. She fondly remembered many of them for her whole life.
In retirement, Stasha was a devoted member of prayer groups and bible studies, and she practiced centering prayer daily. She also wrote a remarkable book, War Changes Everything, about her life, especially focusing on the period during and right after World War II.
The greatest joy of her later life was being with friends and family, including Jessica Seaton and Linda Swartz, and especially her grandson, Michael.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Stasha’s memory to Barnard College, St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Hoboken, or Family Promise of Hudson County, each of which was close to her heart.
Visitation for Stasha will be held on Friday, June 17, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Hoboken (704 Jefferson Street). A Funeral Mass at the church will follow, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.