Lois Jean Asay
On February 6, 2013, after an extraordinary seventeen month fight that amazed all her doctors and one which one doctor called a true miracle, the world became a much sadder place when the angels who had been looking after one of their own for so long welcomed Lois Jean Asay into their fold.
Lois was born in Montoursville, Pennsylvania on the sixteenth of October 1944, the eldest of three children born to Curtis and Marguerite (Hattie) Wheeland. However, she also had two older siblings from her Mother’s previous marriage, Charles (or Stub) and Helen (or Sis) Rayhorn.
She graduated from Montoursville High School in 1962, attended what at the time was named Lock Haven State College where she was a member and officer of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. She graduated from Lock Haven with a Bachelor’s degree in education and almost immediately got a job teaching Kindergarten in the Montour Street Elementary School in her hometown.
In August of 1970 she married Army Lieutenant John G. “Skip” Asay, traveled to the Bahamas for her honeymoon, and then moved to Pottstown, her husband’s hometown, where she was selected for a job at the West End Elementary School, again teaching Kindergarten. Two months later her new husband left for military training. In June of 1971 she joined her “new” husband and moved to Colorado and started a new chapter in her life, that of an Army wife in addition to being an educator.
For the next few years, Lois traveled to various military posts across the country, all the while finding teaching jobs and enjoying meeting new people as well as partaking of the sights and activities in every State in which she and her husband lived. Lois and Skip finally settled in Washington State where she stayed while he continued his military career. During this time she completed and was awarded two Masters Degrees and school administrative credentials, while also seeking and finding new experiences. Just a few of these included visiting her husband and touring in a militarized South Korea; skiing at resorts throughout the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades in the U.S. and Canada; sailing the waters of Puget Sound; kayaking; climbing Mount Rainier and walking the lip of the crater at a still active Mount Saint Helens; flying in an attack helicopter, glider, and hot air balloon; and hiking in the Olympic Mountain Rain Forest and on the rugged and beautiful beaches of the Pacific Northwest.
But she found even more joy in what some would describe the simpler things in life: dining out with or hosting a picnic or meal for friends, especially the brunch during the annual sailboat race that came past her home on Puget Sound; making her costume for the Academy Awards party that she and a group of her friends held every year; cooking a dinner, especially a holiday meal for her husband; canning a variety of fruits and vegetables with her friends; driving her sports car (except for the times she was stopped for speeding); designing and producing handmade Christmas cards; stopping to fawn over any baby she saw in public; or simply watching the varied wildlife or walking the beach at her home.
After 36 years as a professional educator – Elementary School Teacher, Title I Reading Specialist, Special Education Teacher, School District Special Education Coordinator, and Elementary School Principal – Lois retired in 2004. Following her retirement, she finally got a chance to spend more time improving her golf skills, but was also asked to work part time as a student teacher supervisor and coordinator for the University of Washington, and volunteered for organizations that supported child learning and welfare.
Lois truly had a passion for life and all the wonder in it. Love of children, friends, and education itself as well as challenges met and overcome were the engines that drove her and rewarded her with the success of seeing others happily succeed; children, friends, co-workers, and even parents of the children for whom she cared. However, she found particular joy and fulfillment in helping children learn, mentoring teachers, training student teachers, and conducting “Storytime” readings and handing out free books to children as a volunteer for the South Sound Reading Foundation.
Lois was predeceased by her parents, Curtis and Marguerite (Hattie) Wheeland, and her older brother Charles (Stub) Rayhorn, all of Montoursville, Pa. She is survived by her loving husband, Colonel John G. Asay (USA Retired); her older sister, Helen (Sis) Martin of South Williamsport, Pa.; younger sister, Penny Burgoyne of Sayre, Pa.; brother, Curtis Scott Wheeland of Montoursville; dozens of extraordinary caring and supportive friends; and hundreds of children who experienced her kindness, patience, and indisputable talents as a gifted teacher, school principal, and volunteer with the South Sound Reading Foundation.
A memorial service will be held 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in her hometown of Montoursville at the Spitler Funeral Home, 733 Broad St., Montoursville, Pa. Friends will be received at the funeral home from noon until the time of service at 1:00 p.m.
An additional Memorial Service will be held in Olympia, Wash., the area where so many of her friends and co-workers live, at a date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to: the South Sound Reading Foundation (www.readingfoundation.org) located at 305 College Street NE, Lacey, WA 98516, phone (360) 412-4499 or to your local chapter of the “Children’s Reading Foundation.”