Carleen was born on August 7, 1950 to Henry and Dorothy Theel in Dell Rapids, South Dakota. The family moved to Hot Springs, South Dakota and then to Alamosa, Colorado where she attended school and graduated from Adams State College.
Her parents brought her to Byers for her first interview as an elementary teacher, and she taught second grade and fourth grade at Byers Elementary from 1973-2010. Thirty-seven years of students were disciplined, taught, enjoyed and loved by her.
Carleen attended the Byers Community Church and sang in the choir for many years. She loved working with Vacation Bible School and helped form and direct The Kings Kids Choir. She was a part of The Kingdom Singers that traveled statewide for 10 years, including singing for Easter Sunrise Service at Red Rocks. She was part of a Country Western Band (Country Vibrations) and sang in a Barbershop/Beautyshop Quartet (The One And Oldies). Carleen enjoyed being in Melodramas at the school and co-directing high school plays. Many years of students gave amazing performances in Byers’ Summer School Drama programs which Carleen was a part of as well.
She bowled in a league at Lucky Strike Lanes in Strasburg. The Shopping Cart Drill Team was something she got a kick out of participating in, and who can forget her 1970’s gold Duster that transported her everywhere, including to weddings and funerals she sang for. She was a ticket taker at Byers High School games for many years and loved visiting with folks as they came through.
She was also very involved with the Byers School Reunions. In 2003 Carleen was a deserving and proud recipient of the 9 Teachers Who Care Award. She had lasting friendships with scores of lucky people and stayed in touch with so many of her former students. Her teaching methods were an influence on countless kids and she was a mentor to other teachers. Miss Theel was a true teacher and friend to the end of her days.
She is survived by her half sister Mary Lou Payne, nieces Sara Wohl, Betsy Seter, and Susan Payne, nephews Alan and Brian Payne, Jay Miller, and her cousin Brenda Turner Rhodes. She was preceded in death by her parents and half-brother Richard Miller.
The family would like to thank her friends for their loyal support and the Lincoln Community Care Center for their excellent care of Carleen.
We will gather as her friends for a Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, November 17, 2018, at 10a.m. in the Byers High School Gymnasium.
Memorial Contributions may be sent to the Byers Community Church at P.O. Box 697, Byers, CO 80103.
Arrangements handled in care of the Love Funeral Home in Limon, Colorado.