Connie R. Gempler was called home on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 to be with her Lord and Savior. Connie was born in Concordia, Kan. on July 30, 1946, to Al and Pearl Peterson. Her family moved around, and she lived in seven different locations. Connie attended Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, Kan. for three years and finished her degree at Wichita State University in 1968. While at Emporia she met her future husband, Don, and they were married on Jan. 22, 1966. After seven years Connie and Don fell in love with the crystal clear rivers and lakes of Arkansas and moved there in 1976 with their two girls, Kristy and Kim. The family enjoyed camping, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and motorcycling. Connie began her teaching at Thomas Jefferson Elementary. She taught for a total of 39 years in the Bentonville School District. She was Bentonville Teacher of the Year three times and state runner-up for Arkansas twice. She was very active on St. Stephen Catholic Church. She taught classes, was a greeter, funeral service dinner committee member and participated in many workshops and classes. Her Scripture Sisters have been her friends for over twenty-five years. After Connie retired, she fell in love with tennis and became a very active tennis player. Playing on tennis teams and going to state tournaments. The Hot Springs Over 65 tournament brough Connie so much joy. Connie and her husband, Don, loved to travel and their first trip after retirement was a fly-in fishing trip to Canada. They also traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Belize, Costa Rica, and most of the fifty states. Going to all the national parks was a goal of Connie's. However, the trips she and Don enjoyed the most were going to Colorado and riding four-wheelers under the brilliant yellow of the aspen trees with her brother-in-law, Greg and his wife, Sharon. After Kristy and Kim graduated from college, married, and had children of their own, Connie enjoyed her new role as grandmother. Playing with the "grands", helping them with homework and playing games were the roles she cherished the most. Connie was preceded in death by her husband, Don, and parents, Al and Pearl Peterson. She is survived by daughters, Kristine Lemmon (Jim) of Bella Vista, AR, and Kim Conway (Doug) of Colorado Springs, Colo.; six grandchildren, Zach Lemmon of Rapid City, S.Dak., Cole Lemmon of Bella Vista, Ark., Jakob Lemmon of Springfield, Mo., Lucy Lemmon of Bella Vista, Ark., Davis Conway and Drew Conway of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and brother-in-law, Greg Gempler (Sharon) of Cotopaxi, Colo. A mass will be held on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023, at 10 a.m. at St. Stephens Catholic Church, 1300 NE J Street, Bentonville, Ark. 72712, with Msgr Marczuk and Father Mike Sinkler officiating. There will be a private family inurnment at the Bella Vista Memorial Garden Cemetery with Father Mike Sinkler officiating. In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution may be made to St. Stephen Benevolent Conference, St. Stephen Catholic Church, 1300 NE J Street, Bentonville, Ark. 72712 or Single Parent Scholarship, 2601 SW "D" Street, Bentonville, Ark. 72712. Arrangements are being made by the Bella Vista Funeral Home and Crematory. Online condolences can be left at www.funeralmation.com.
Published November 20, 2023