Carol (Elings) Mielke, of Conrad, a retired elementary teacher, died March 8 after a long battle with cancer.
A celebration of her life will be held March 16 at 11 a.m., at Conrad Mission Church. Pondera Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Carol was born to Robert Elings and Leona (O’Keefe) Elings of Conrad on Dec. 29, 1954. She grew up on a farm east of Conrad and was active in her local 4-H club and Montana Farmers Union youth activities. She learned to love reading at a young age, and used her imagination and creativity daily. Carol committed her life to Christ at summer camp as a child.
Carol was a graduate of Conrad High School and in 1975 received an associate degree in Biblical studies from Lutheran Bible Institute (now Trinity Lutheran College) in Seattle, Wash. In 1979, she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northern Montana College (now MSU—Northern) in Havre. She completed a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 2000 from Lesley College of Cambridge, Mass., through their outreach program.
She married Kevin Mielke on July 14, 1979, and had two sons, Dustin and Kyle, and two daughters, McKenna and Afton. She attended Conrad Mission Church where she was an active part of praise team and helped with children’s programs. She had a way with words and blessed many as a three-time featured speaker at CMC’s annual Ladies’ Christmas Tea. She instilled a love of Jesus Christ in her children throughout her life.
Carol dedicated her professional life to classroom teaching. She started her career in Zurich at Zurich Elementary School. She then taught at Conrad Christian School in Conrad for 14 years, teaching every grade from preschool through eighth grade over the course of her time at CCS. She then worked at Conrad Public Schools, teaching at Meadowlark Elementary School from 1995 until her retirement in 2010.
In the classroom, Carol was loved by her students and was known for her vibrant and creative curriculum, much of which she developed herself. Integrating cooperative learning, personal responsibility and the arts, Carol shared her creativity and imagination with each student who entered her classroom. She worked tirelessly to create an exciting atmosphere and prepare her students for the future. Carol also shared her passion for teaching with fellow educators, as she taught and co-taught teachers workshops throughout Montana and also nationally.
Carol lived her life with a kind spirit, a warm heart and an attitude of humility that touched everyone who met her. She had a hearty laugh and a vivacious personality. She bravely bore her diagnosis and battle with cancer, and used her illness as an opportunity to bring glory to God. Her family and friends rejoice that she is now with Jesus, her redeemer and hope. Carol will be missed by her community and her legacy lives on in her children, her grandchildren and in the many students she taught, guided and helped along their way to adulthood.
She is survived by her husband of 33 years, Kevin; children Dustin (Li) Mielke of Oklahoma City, Okla., Kyle (Whitney) Mielke of Havre, McKenna Mielke of Havre, and Afton Mielke of Conrad; mother, Leona; brothers Jeff and Gordon; and two grandchildren.
She is preceded in death by her father, Robert.