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Lois Elaine Ciepley, 80, a longtime Evansville school teacher, died Tuesday the 26th of November at her home in Sarasota, Florida.
Born in 1932 in Fairfax, South Dakota, she was the third of eleven children born to Reverend Adelbert and Anna Oesch. In 1957 she married Ted Ciepley, an art student and sculptor, whom she met in Chicago, and with whom she had three boys.
Beginning her teaching career in Palatine, IL in a one-room school house, Lois moved with Ted to Evansville in 1965, where Lois taught students in the beginning grades, first at Lincoln and later at Highland. A gifted teacher trained in the Pestalozzi method, she deflected prodding to pursue a principalship, as her true passion was for the classroom. She spent many years teaching in Highland's gifted and talented program, earning the school system's Teacher of the Year award, and wrote much of the early-grade gifted and talented curriculum for the city. She retired from teaching in 2009 at the age of 76, one year after the loss of her husband, and subsequently moved full-time to Sarasota, FL to be near her sisters.
Lois played the organ for her father's church as a teenager, and encouraged the musical development of her children. She became a master cook with the help of Julia Child, and her children grew up on her homemade bread. She was to be found in the evenings curled up with a book in the lamplight. She read widely and followed politics. Under the tutelage of her sister Nona, she developed late in life a love of the chop saw and home improvement, and traded labor hours with her sisters. With her sister Ruth, she took up quilting for Lutheran World Relief Services. She also took up watercolor painting, for which she had genuine talent. She was an avid gardener throughout her life, keeping a gorgeous yard in Evansville, and in her final weeks was flaunting HOA rules by digging in flowerbeds around her beloved Sarasota house and down the drive.
Lois is survived by her sisters Eunice, Ruth, Mim, Abby, Nona, and Anne, her brothers Gene, Norbert, and David, her sons Christopher, David, and Alex, her daughter-in-law Nancy, and her grandsons, Nicholas and Nathan, who were a special joy to her.
Memorial gifts may be made to the St. Armands Key Lutheran Church, 40 N Adams Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236, marked for the Habitat for Humanity house, on which she was volunteering with her sisters.
Published in Courier Press on Dec. 15, 2013