Louise Lindsay ~ F-Faculty
Departed ~ 4/6/2022
Lovingly submitted by her son, Ken Lindsay.
Happy Mother’s Day Louise. Thanks for all your helpful guidance and good intentions.
Miss Louise (12/3/1932 — 4/6/2022)
On Wednesday evening, shortly before Easter, the nighttime caregiver telephoned to say that Miss Louise had taken her last breath and the Good Lord has called her home. Louise’s last word that I heard was “yes” when we said “you’ll probably be seeing God soon” and Louise responded immediately and clearly “yes”.
Wednesday was a good day for Louise. She had extended visits from two priests and received the last rites. The daytime caregiver sang to her and held her hand, rubbed lotion on her feet and read from The Little Prince, one of Louise’s favorite books. We talked to her several times and the last one she seemed much more at peace. Her breath was calm, not labored.
Born Louise Marie Spencer in Kansas City to Florence Bjorkman Spencer and Francis Edward Spencer, Louise was half pure Swedish and half Anglo-American mix. She grew up in the Great Depression and World War Two which led her to being a fiscal and political conservative. As the Republican party became more partisan and extreme, and abandoned traditional conservative values, Louise migrated towards the Democrats and reluctantly supported them for the last several elections in which she voted.
Louise was an extremely intelligent woman and excelled in school. She went to University of Missouri in Columbia and was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority. Her sisters sought her help with studies and school work to such an extent that apparently it attracted some disapproval from University authorities, the details of which are lost in the murky depths of time.
Louise met Bob Lindsay at a football game between Mizzou and KU (Bob’s alma mater). They fell in love immediately and were married before too long. For many years Bob carried a picture in his wallet of the two of them after a Chi Omega song and dance review, with Bob standing next to Louise looking dazzled and shy, and Louise kicking her leg high in the air, wearing a chorus line costume and a smile as big as Montana. Louise gave life to two boys, Gary (died from covid 2020) and Ken (still kicking, as Bob often said). She is survived by her younger brother Steve, and many cousins, nieces and nephews. In her last few months, one of the caregivers discovered that Louise enjoyed watching NASCAR racing and NFL football, which was completely unknown to the rest of the family. It does make sense though since Louise and Bob met at a football game, and brother Steve is a hotrod enthusiast from way back and still enjoys racing motorcycles as he approaches his 80th birthday.
In 1969 Bob received an assignment to work for Goodyear Thailand, and so the family moved to Bangkok where the boys went to high school, Louise taught high school science, and Bob managed the manufacturing of tires. After Thailand Bob was assigned to Northern Ireland and then South Africa. Louise and Bob lived together in those two places while the boys attended college. After Louise and Bob moved back to the States and retired, they did a variety of interesting and beneficial activities. Notably Louise earned her private pilot license and instrument rating for flying small airplanes, and they participated for several years in the church’s Kairos prison outreach program. In Kairos they prepared and served special meals to the inmates, and talked with them offering counsel to help them improve their lives and be ready to do well outside when they were released.
Louise was very musical and played piano (Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin et al.), flute and ukulele, popular due to Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. When the boys reached an age to be interested in playing music, Louise enrolled them with a single mom piano teacher, in keeping with her lifelong support of motherhood and especially single mothers. She supported the March of Dimes and various women’s shelters throughout her life.
It was in science and education that Louise found her lifetime avocation, earning a Masters degree in Botany from University of Kansas and a teaching certificate from Kansas State Teachers College. She taught high school science for several decades, first in Oskaloosa Kansas, International School Bangkok, and ending at Bishop Flaget in Chillicothe Ohio. In South Africa where regulations prevented her from teaching with American credentials, she did various other education related activities including appearing on a television science show with Dr. Christiaan Barnard, inventor of human heart transplants.
Louise taught chemistry, biology, earth science and IPS (Introductory Physical Science) which was hands down her favorite subject. IPS introduced students to many basic physical properties of the world including length, area and volume; weight and mass; thermal expansion and contraction of solids, liquids and gases, among many other topics. Louise’s favorite lab experiment was the “black box” wherein every team of 3 or 4 students was given a closed cardboard box containing various physical objects, and by shaking, weighing and other interactions, students were to develop theories about the types of objects contained in the box, e.g. pencil vs. ball point pen, metal nuts and bolts vs. wooden shapes etc. One experiment involved discovering the empty space contained in sand by measuring the volume of sand and the volume of a certain amount of water, and then pouring the water into the sand and measuring the “lost” volume that comprises the empty spaces between the grains of sand. One year all of the students came up with a radically abnormal measure of the lost volume (typically 30 to 40%). Ever the scientist, Louise took the sample of sand under a microscope and discovered that the sand contained grains of a wide range of sizes, and so the smaller grains filled in what would have been the standard empty space to be filled by water in the normal sample where all sand grains are approximately the same size. At home, Louise applied these principles to educating the boys, e.g. the best way to dissolve all the granules in jello is by stirring, not in a circle but a figure 8, a trick she learned in her grad school biology lab. Her teaching led to Ken working at NASA, and Gary passing the final selection rounds to be on the Jeopardy show shortly before his death.
Many of Louise’s students went on to perform high level jobs in Business, Military, Government and Academia and generally credited Louise with teaching them analytical skills and critical thinking.
Louise had a wry and subtle sense of humor, but generally avoided telling jokes in keeping with her oft stated maxim “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”, an expression of Robert Heinlein’s observation that much of what is considered humor is actually hurtful and negative. She did have a few gems that she told over the years like when the boys were in the final years of high school “Just when they get big enough to start being useful, they go off to college”, and as Chinese culture was making inroads into American culture in the 1960s and 1970s “Confucius say: spank little boy every day. You not know why but little boy knows why.” A good expression of her sophisticated wit is “What is the difference between Heaven and Hell? In Heaven the French are the cooks, the British are the police, the Italians are the lovers, the Swiss are the civil servants and the Germans are the engineers. In Hell, the British are the cooks, the French are the civil servants, the Swiss are the lovers, the Italians are the engineers and the Germans are the police.”
Louise liked musical theatre (popular in the 1960s and 1970s e.g. My Fair Lady, Camelot, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Oliver, Oklahoma, The Music Man, and the musical review Up With People (“If more people were for people, all people everywhere, there’d be a lot less people to worry about and a lot more people who care”). She also enjoyed cultural and political satire like the songs of Tom Lehrer and Allan Sherman, and watched the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour with the family. Recently she liked watching Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
We will have a memorial for Louise at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chillicothe, time and date to be announced later. The Lindsay family would like to thank National Church Residences who managed the care for Louise and Bob for the past several years, and especially all the caregivers, hospice and nursing staff, including Yvonne Beverly, Deb Bachor, Robin Brushart, Tammy Diaz, Sondra Dunham, Linda Rogers-Flores, Michelle Goode, McKayla Harrison, Michelle Hines, Pastor Aaron Hines, Tara Hollis, Alisha Jenkins, Marjorie McFarland, Rebekah McCarty, Sherry Mitchell, Amy Monday, Tangi Rider, Sarah Wicker, Amanda, Billy and Katie. Thanks are also due to St. Paul’s Church, Father Michael Ralph, Father Paul Daggett, Deacon Craig and Gary Haslop.
Where flies this feather
Where flies this feather
That is my mother’s soul
As she unfolds the journey
Into her next life?
Will she meet Jesus?
Yes of course.
And maybe the Mary’s,
Saints and Apostles.
Perhaps even Buddha,
The Little Prince
And other spirit guides
That she knew of or not
In this lifetime.
Wherever her path takes her
I’m sure it will be some place good.
Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com