To know Starla (Graham) Hauser was to experience love and kindness incarnate.
This is according to her sister, Misty Costello, 55, and is evident by the myriad of Facebook memories and comments on Hauser’s personal page.
“She was just one of the most precious, beautiful (and) caring people,” Costello said. “She was devoted completely to her family.”
Hauser died June 27 at Tacoma General Hospital after an eight-year battle with cancer. She celebrated her 43rd birthday on June 19.
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“She stayed so positive. She never ever was like ‘Why me? Why do I have this disease?” Costello said. “She said to me: ‘I have it, I feel, to help others.’ She reached out to so many women.”
She was just one of the most precious, beautiful (and) caring people. She was devoted completely to her family.
While continuing her own fight with breast cancer — which was first discovered in 2009 and then metastasized in 2012 and spread to her bones — Hauser took time to reach out to others fighting cancer, offering her advice, encouragement and support to anyone who asked, from strangers to her own sister.
“She walked me through it all and made me feel so comfortable in such a scary time,” Costello said. “She said she really felt that, other than a wife and a mother, her purpose was to help others who are going through this terrible thing.”
Costello is a breast cancer survivor, a disease that affected their mother, Jacquelynn (Jackie) Graham and their aunt, Vicky Goodman.
Their mother died March 15, 2016, and Costello said that Hauser was the family’s support in the following months, especially for their brother Audie Graham, who has special needs and moved in with Hauser’s family with the help of Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One.
“We lost our mom and Starla took over. Starla just took care of all of us,” Costello said.
She is the oldest sibling, followed by Hauser, Graham and their youngest brother, Adam Graham.
She walked me through it all and made me feel so comfortable in such a scary time. She said she really felt that, other than a wife and a mother, her purpose was to help others who are going through this terrible thing.
Hauser is survived by her husband, Matthew (Matt), and their four children: Matthew Jr., 22, Michael, 19, Nicholas, 18 and Hailey, 16.
The family was able to take a trip to Hawaii earlier this spring with the support of the Dream Foundation and Gig Harbor friends who raised funds to cover the remaining costs for the family.
Costello said their parents moved to Gig Harbor when Hauser was a toddler. She graduated from Gig Harbor High School and stayed in the area to raise her children.
A memorial service for Hauser will be held at 1 p.m. July 22 at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, 7700 Skansie Avenue in Gig Harbor.
In lieu of flowers, Hauser’s family have asked that donations be given in her name to Food Backpacks 4 Kids, a nonprofit organization that works in Peninsula School District to feed hungry children and their families.
“We know her so well,” Costello said. “It’s absolutely perfect because instead of the focus on flowers she would want that money used to help other people.”
Donations can be made directly to the organization at foodbackpacks4kids.org/donate or at any US Bank branch, to the Starla Hauser Donation Fund X4304.
“She was everything to me. I would like her legacy to remember what a special, loving, caring, person she was,” Costello said. “Her memory will remain strong through her children ... She’s very missed. I’m so happy she has the children and we can all see Starla in those kids.”
A service for Starla Hauser will be held at 1 p.m. July 22 at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, 7700 Skansie Avenue in Gig Harbor.