Gloria Jean Kiester

March 4, 1933 – Oct. 5, 2020

Gloria Jean Kiester, was born on March 4, 1933. She loved the thought that she was born on a day that was a command, “March FORTH!”.She took that command to heart and lived with a great sense of adventure as she explored life’s opportunities and the world.

Gloria was the daughter of Lizzie and Adolph Kiester, successful dairy farmers in Fairmont, MN. She was the youngest of eight children. Precocious and intelligent, she was the delight of the family, playing piano and singing at an early age.

She excelled through school and attended St. Olaf College, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1955 in Music Education. Then began her adventures in teaching around the world. Her first teaching jobs were in Red Wing, MN and Albert Lea, MN. Summers found her exploring the world traveling by plane and ship to castles in Germany, bullfights in Spain, opera in Rome, and The Royal Ballet in London. Life long dreams. Later, after teaching in Minneapolis several years and finishing her Masters Degree in Colorado during summers, she packed her trunk and felt it was time to see the world again. Through the following years she taught on air force bases in Japan and Puerto Rico, and at Schiller College in Germany. Summers she climbed Gibraltar, toured the Holy Land and the Caribbean.

In 1967 she was offered a teaching position at St. Olaf in Music Education. She was ready to come home. Ironically, the house she bought was next door to the Lashbrook Farm– a colleague of her father’s in the Holstein dairy business. While Gloria taught Music Education for 33 years at St. Olaf she championed many causes. She wrote a book on teaching music for high school, supported scholarships for women students from other countries, and petitioned to save woods on the St Olaf campus. In “retirement” she traveled to Germany to research the family history; later publishing four volumes about the Keithahn and Kiester families. Next was a book about and preserving the land which is now Lashbrook Park. She became a published author of many articles, childrens’ music pieces, and helped write the Minnesota Music Standards. She is in the Music Educators Hall Of Fame.

Following the command March Forth! once more, she left her earthly home on Oct. 5, 2020 for her next adventure.

Gloria is survived by nieces, Janine (Steve) Schendel Aaker, Elko, MN; Rose (Bill) Voigt, St. Paul, MN; Wanda MacFarlane, Las Vegas, NV; nephews, Joel (Gay) Schendel, Murfreesboro, Tenn; Douglas (Charlene) Johnson, Marshalltown, IA, Jim Johnson and Dale Johnson, Hartland, MN; grand nieces and nephews and great grand nieces and nephews.

The family will gather for private graveside services at Lakeside Cemetery in Fairmont, MN, and a funeral service for Gloria will be postponed until a later date due to the CoVid epidemic. Cards and condolences may be sent to 8400 Falk Ave, Nfld, MN 55057.

Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.