Posts Tagged ‘Lanie Kiel’

Lanie and Steve Kiel, forever rockin’ the gym. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A celebration of life has been set for Lanie Kiel.

The much-loved Wolf Mom, who treated her daughter’s teammates as additional children of her own, bestowing hugs and non-stop encouragement, passed away in March after a ferocious battle with cancer.

Lanie’s soaring spirit and gentle kindness will be honored in an event set for the Coupeville Rec Hall.

The celebration will run from 4:00-8:00 PM Friday, Aug. 19.

“In true Lanie style we will honor her with a simple gathering with light refreshments, good music, and great people,” said daughter Kacie.

Attendees are asked to wear pink or Hawaiian prints.

If you have any photos, videos, or song requests for the slideshow, they can be sent to katiekiel13@gmail.com.

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Lanie Kiel, queen of the CHS gym. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She could have been mean, but she wasn’t.

She could have been angry, but, if she was, she didn’t show it.

She could have been sad, but the smile, even when fighting through great tiredness and pain, never wavered.

Lanie Kiel, the ultimate Wolf Nation volleyball and basketball fan — a loving mother to her own two brilliant daughters, Katie and Kacie, and also every other young woman who shared the court with them — was joy, and happiness, and grace, and kindness, wrapped up into one transcendent soul.

A long, brutal battle with cancer weakened her body, and Tuesday she passed away in her sleep.

But I will not say she lost her fight, because Lanie will always be a winner in my eyes.

In good times and bad, her heart, her smile, the love radiating from every pore in her body, never wavered, never changed.

I knew Lanie and her husband Steve from back before I launched this blog, crossing paths with them during my time at other jobs, and then I came around to write about their daughters, sharing hard wooden bleachers with the parents during big wins and agonizing losses.

Even after the girls graduated, the Kiel family, exuding Hawaii-style laidback charm and love, were frequent fliers at Coupeville athletic events.

This year Katie stepped up and became a middle school volleyball coach, helping close the circle, while I probably drove Kacie quietly crazy by constantly asking if she might join her sister on the bench, teaching lessons to a new generation of Wolf female athletic stars.

Kacie’s basketball Senior Night brought out ma, pa, and big sis Katie.

Through it all, Lanie, her pride in her family shining brightly, even when we had to hide our faces behind masks, was there to light up the gym, night after night.

Having witnessed up close an aunt endure a similar journey with cancer as a constant companion, there were times when you could tell it was harder for her.

Times where she couldn’t make it through the entire night and had to leave a game early.

But there were other times when the pain seemed to melt away, and those nights gave me hope she would continue to grace the CHS gym for years to come.

Whether she was chuckling over Steve’s antics with the flag as he called lines at volleyball matches or giving hugs to everyone who asked — and everyone who knew Lanie was a Lanie fan — Mrs. Kiel was a burst of love in her actions and words, a balm for hurt feelings in a troubled world.

Lanie and Sylvia Arnold, enjoying life.

We spoke many times over the years, and it was always remarkable how kind she was, how genuinely caring she was.

As we camped at the top of the bleachers, leaning against the gym wall in a futile effort to make our seats feel at least slightly comfortable, she was a most-pleasant companion.

She would want to know how I was doing, if I was still enjoying writing about sports, and they weren’t just casual conversation questions.

Lanie always made you feel she cared and was really listening to your answers.

I’ve been on this beat — writing about sports in Coupeville — for 32 years now.

Sometimes on a daily basis. Sometimes in a more infrequent fashion.

Thousands upon millions of words, in newspapers — some still in business, others not — magazines, and blogs.

Athletes come and go, and now their kids are showing up to play the same sports as their parents once did.

Fans, parents, bystanders, and participants. I’ve crossed paths with a lot of people while documenting the exploits of Wolf Nation, and Lanie will always be one of the ones who endure.

She was kind and caring and she made my day better every time our paths crossed.

When I look at Katie and Kacie, I see their dad — his competitiveness, his deep love and appreciation of sports, his McConaughey-style laidback charm — but I also, very much, see their mom.

I see Lanie’s love, her kindness, her embrace of life and everyone livin’ it, and I see it reflected every time her daughters smile, every time they laugh, and in the grace with which they carry themselves.

She was so proud of them, and for good reason.

With spring sports in full stride, we’re outside now.

But there will be a moment down the road when we return to the CHS and CMS gyms, and Lanie’s memory will be there waiting for us.

The first time will undoubtedly be sad.

But, as we remember her joy, her kindness, her love and toughness and resiliency, it will be easier. Because she will never fully leave us.

Lanie Kiel will always be the best of what Wolf Nation is, and I am thankful her path crossed mine.

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