Carol Lee Lepse
Carol Lee was born in Rapid City, South Dakota to Jerry and Linda Maas on September 17, 1962. She lived on six ranches while growing up including the King Ranch south of Belvidere, South Dakota where her father was employed by Johnny Daum of Okaton.
Carol was shy and wasn’t very talkative in her early years. Even so, while attending a backyard Child Evangelism Fellowship Bible Club, sponsored by her mother, Carol prayed out loud to receive Jesus Christ as her Savior.
She boarded in Murdo, South Dakota during her junior and senior high school years. She was class valedictorian, graduating from Jones County High School in 1980. In 1983 she graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and in 1989 from Northeastern Illionis University with a degree in education. While attending college, one might find Carol in downtown Chicago using her ranching skills by driving a carriage pulled by a strong draft horse.
She met Stephen Lepse at a singles small group at First Evangelical Free Church in Chicago in 1984. They married on Memorial Day on May 26, 1986. She taught in Chicago Public Schools for two years and then went on to become a computer programmer at CNA Insurance and most recently at Children’s Home and Aid.
Carol had a great love for kids and a passion to minister to children both at her church and in the community. Her passion led her to serve kids in a variety of settings: a teacher’s aid at Pierce Elementary, a volunteer mentor for children at Lydia Home Association, a foster parent, a member of Trumbull School Local School Council, the children’s pastor at First Evangelical Free Church, and an adoptive parent. Through the years Carol opened up her home to numerous neighborhood children where she provided a safe and nurturing environment for them.
Ashley, Robert, and Gabby, a sibling group, were adopted by Stephen and Carol in 1998. Carol poured her heart into these children, as she did numerous other children over the years.
In May of 2012 Carol was diagnosed with stage-4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After a hard fought 10-month battle, she passed away and entered the arms of her Heavenly Father on March 24, 2013. She is remembered as a woman with a passion for life, who loved God, her husband, her children and family, as well as many others.
In addition to her husband and children, who are all adults, she left behind her father, Jerry Maas of Quinn, South Dakota, mother Linda Maas and brother Daniel Maas, both of Colorado Springs, older sister Donna Beckwith of Canon City, Colorado, nieces and nephews, cousins and aunts and uncles.
She was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Greg Beckwith and a niece, Shawna Beckwith-Visser.
Her life was celebrated at the First Evangelical Free Church in Chicago on March 30, 2013.