The Rev. Eileen B. Karpeles died on October 25, 2018 at the age of 93.
Eileen was born on June 8, 1925 in Cleveland, OH to Laurence Botsford and Grace A. Tong. She graduated from the University of Chicago, IL in 1946 with a Bachelor of Philosophy, after which she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education (1950) and a Master of Arts in English (1951), both from the Ohio University, OH. She then taught high school and college-level English for several years before following her ministerial call. In 1977, Eileen earned her Master of Divinity from the Starr King School for the Ministry, CA.
Rev. Karpeles was ordained on September 28, 1977 by the Towson UU Church in Lutherville, MD. She served the All Souls UU Church, New London, CT from 1977 until 1980. In that year she was called to the Orange Coast UU Church, Costa Mesa, CA where she would minister until 1983. Then for the next decade, Rev. Karpeles served as an interim minister, working with the First UU Society of Albany, NY (1984); the UU Society of Greater Springfield, MA (1985); the UU Church in Eugene, OR (1985-1986); the UU Church of Sarasota, FL (1986-1988); the UU Fellowship of Boca Raton, FL (1987-1988); and the UU Society of Sacramento, CA (1989-1990) where she was the first woman minister. She then ministered at the UU Congregation of Miami, FL (1991); and finally, at the Williamsburg UUs, VA (1992-1993) before retiring from the active ministry in 1993.
The many services Rev. Karpeles carried out on behalf of the denomination included Youth Camp Program Director at the Murray Grove (Lanoka Harbor, NJ) from 1968 to 1973, and Dean for the Ferry Beach Singles Week in 1978 and 1979. She was an active member of the Ministerial Sisterhood UU and the UU Ministers’ Association beginning in 1975. Eileen served the UUMA Executive Committee from 1979 to 1980; was a workshop leader for the Camp de Benneville Pines during 1980 until 1983; and served as Minister in Residence for the Pacific South West District Leadership Training School in 1982 and in 1984. After her retirement she became an active member and volunteer leader at the UU Society of Sacramento.
Eileen maintained a lifelong interest in writing, with works published in the New London Day, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the UU World and other denominational compilations, as well as two unpublished novels and a work in progress on conflict resolution. Her greatest personal interests included travel, reading and rummage sales.
Eileen’s daughter Tamia noted: “In many respects, my mom was fearless with an independent spirit that could be both terrifying and inspiring; for example, she loved to drive, and continued to hit the open road on solo trips well into her 80s, visiting friends around the country and car-camping at night in Wal-Mart parking lots. Her life was an adventure and it was my honor to be my mother’s caregiver during her final years.”
Eileen is survived by her daughters: Katherine Maeda, Robin Magdalene, and Tamia Karpeles, as well as a granddaughter, Kendra Maeda.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of one’s own choosing as well as to the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers and Partners Association.
A family remembrance was held in MD on December 15, 2018.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Tamia Karpeles at 8387 Elm Rd, Millersville, MD, 21108.