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Elaine E. (Kull) Liley

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Elaine E. (Kull) Liley Obituary
Elaine E. (Kull) Liley, 84

Elaine E. (Kull) Liley, 84, died Thursday, June 19, 2014 in Chestnut Hill, Mass., from colon cancer that was undiagnosed until a week earlier. With her better half Peter, Elaine was a great hostess and dancer. She was an incredible cook, an avid gardener and an enthusiastic traveler who completed her long - wished - for trips to Australia for her 70th birthday and Buenos Aires for her 82nd birthday. Always vibrant and embracing life, Elaine finally, after recovering from a stroke in late 2012, took the time to pursue her interest in painting, showing the talent that her lifelong habit of drawing caricatures and line drawings had suggested. Over the course of 18 months, she painted about two dozen acrylic and watercolor paintings, using one as the cover of her last Christmas card. After receiving her bachelor's degree in home economics from Purdue University, Elaine moved to South Bend, where she took a job with Indiana Michigan Power and White - Westinghouse. While at White - Westinghouse, she worked in the test kitchen and supported the development of recipes and information for The Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book, by Julia Kiene, a classic that continues to be sold today. Elaine also helped to develop and then to demonstrate Westinghouse's first microwave oven. When her father died in 1954, she returned to Lafayette and worked for Public Service Indiana. Later, she spent many years as the Carroll County Home Extension agent. She was seemingly omnipresent throughout the communities there: working with 4-Hers, farm wives, community groups and others. One of her typically creative and clever creations was a Carroll County newsletter she called Miss-Elaine-eous.

She left work to raise her family and continued and expanded her volunteer efforts serving her community, church and at her daughters' schools. She was a room mother, Scout leader and field trip supervisor as well as chauffeur to numerous athletes, speech competitors and thespians. Still, her commitment to professional women never wavered. She helped to found the Business and Professional Women's Organization (BPW) in Tippecanoe County in the late 1950s and was an active member into the 1970s. For 50 years she served on and for 40 years led the Corporation Board for the Beta Sigma chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority at Purdue, which her sister helped to found while they were students. Elaine masterminded an addition that more than doubled the physical size of the house, making it one of the largest sorority houses in the nation at that time. Sigma Kappa was one of the first Purdue sororities to take on that kind of expansion. She managed a multi-million budget and oversaw many renovations and upgrades while managing the chapter's relationship with the national sorority. She also was an active member of the Purdue Alumni Panhellenic Council, representing Sigma Kappa. She managed her family's farm until 2013, when the property celebrated 97 years of being owned by the Kull Family. She was president, treasurer and held other offices in the St. James Ladies Society, the oldest service group at the church. She also helped to start, and then for decades managed the congregation's funeral meal program. She was an active Democrat, hosting one of the initial teas for the first mayoral election of her high school classmate and six-term Mayor Jim Riehle. She was the Democratic precinct leader at the election polls for 30 - plus years.

Elaine was born on March 2, 1930, in Lafayette, Indiana. She was the youngest child of August H. and Eva D. (Higman) Kull. She was married August 16, 1963, to Peter E. Liley, who died in March 2009. They had two children, Betsy (husband Roman Goz) and Becky (husband Bernd Wagner).

Elaine attended St. James Lutheran School, Jefferson High School and graduated from Purdue University in 1952.

Memorial contributions in Elaine's honor may be made to benefit St. James Lutheran School, 615 N. 8th St., Lafayette, Indiana 47901.

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Friday, June 27, at Hippensteel Funeral Home and one hour prior to the 11:00 a.m. service Saturday, June 28, at St. James Lutheran Church, 800 Cincinnati Street, Lafayette, with Pastor Daniel May officiating. Burial will be in Spring Vale Cemetery, Lafayette immediately following the service. Hippensteel Funeral Home is entrusted with care. Share memories and condolences online at www.hippensteelfuneralservice.com

Published in the Journal & Courier on June 22, 2014
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