Audrey Marie Stein
Grace Dee May Museum
Educator, Professor, Mentor, Researcher, Art Collector and Founder and Director Emeritus of the Grace Dee May Museum, Audrey Marie Stein was a woman of remarkable vision.
A native of Nebraska, Audrey was the daughter of William and Amelia Stein. Bright and inquisitive, Audrey was an excellent student and, at a time when few women were seeking degrees in higher education, Audrey set her sights on improving her knowledge and advancing her career opportunities. She first achieved a Bachelor of Science in Education at Emporia State University in Kansas majoring in Biological Science with a Minor in Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. She next earned a Masters Degree in Education in 1953 from the Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado.
Beginning her career as a high school teacher in Grand Island, Nebraska, Audrey spent three years in midwest classrooms before moving to California where she worked for the Downey School District, first as a teacher and then as a district supervisor.
Seeking a wider range of professional opportunities, Audrey became a professor at Orange Coast College beginning in 1968 before serving as the Director of Vocational Education for Orange Coast College from 1978 through 1986.
As a champion of vocational training opportunities for students, Audrey authored several career-related publications for the Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa. She also served as Director of a groundbreaking pilot program for mobile classrooms to expand access to vocational education.
Over the course of her career, she achieved recognition for implementing innovations in educational opportunities including the development of a Power Sewing Vocational Program, the design of Vocational Foods Occupations Trailer Concept, and the development of the Vocational Training Program of Commercial Food Services.
As part of the Family of Freemasonry, Audrey was initiated into the Order of the Eastern Star, Garden Grove Chapter No. 483 in 1997 and five years later she joined the Order of the Amaranth, Charity Court No. 120.
Audrey enjoyed a wonderful marriage with her husband Joseph Leonard Feisthammel. As a couple, they shared a loved of learning, travel, art, and history which led them to become avid collectors of fine art and historical artifacts from all corners of the globe.
In 2004, Audrey Marie Stein became the Director of the Grace Dee May Museum. Her lifelong passion for collecting and preserving works of art combined with her affinity for education was the cornerstone of establishing a museum to display her private collections. Her vision was to create a venue where students and the public could not only view her incredible collections but also enjoy researching opportunities and hands-on learning experiences to enrich their understanding of the creative expressions of artists from around the world.
Today, the Grace Dee May Museum stands as a dream fulfilled. The Museum will remain a place where art and history can be studied and appreciated for generations to come.