Lelon Roger “Lee” Capps

Memorial services for Lelon Roger Capps, 88, Lawrence, will be 11:00 a.m. Friday at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 2104 Bob Billings Parkway. Inurnment will be in Pioneer Cemetery.

Lee went to be with his Lord after a short stay at Lawrence Memorial Hospital on January 19. Lee was born on August 6, 1930 in Alma, Wisconsin.

He served in the United States Army in the Korean War from 1951-1953 in the intelligence area dealing with code development and use.

He was married to the love of his life, Lois Emelia Plank on June 5, 1954.

Following the completion of his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Lee began his career at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1960. In 1962 he accepted a position at the University Of Kansas School Of Education, providing over 50 years of service. His teaching and scholarship focused on mathematics and specifically the language of mathematics. For many years he also provided professional development for teachers of mathematics, presenting well over 600 lectures and workshops within the U.S. and many international locations. Lee was a Million Miler with Delta Airlines during his career. While at KU, Lee served as director of elementary education, assistant dean and associate dean for the School of Education. Lee was instrumental in initiating the Kansas University School of Education 5-year program. “A tougher program means better teachers.” Lee co-authored a mathematics textbook series published by Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company that was used by 70% of the schools in the U.S. and also in many foreign countries. He continued to support KU School of Education students through his Mathematics Education Scholarship and The Lelon Capps Lecture Series which was initiated in 2018 by former students. This lecture series is supported by a fund established through KU Endowment and is hosted by the Department of Curriculum & Teaching, with support from the School of Education and Department of Mathematics. These lectures honoring Professor Capps, is to bring nationally recognized speakers in Mathematics to KU. His mantra for math education was “Language connections help students acquire mathematics literacy.”

He was a humble man of integrity and many accomplishments, and will be remembered for his devotion to family, and to the improvement of mathematics education for children around the world.

Lee is survived by his wife, Lois; children, Karlin Capps and Kandis (Timothy) Taylor; grandchildren, Emily (William) Moorkamp, Kristiana Capps, Laura (Philip) Makarewicz, and Shirin (David) Gulledge.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Lenora Capps; brothers, Willis, Ambrose, and Dean (Bonnie) Capps; and a sister, Evangeline (Mel) Butzman.

The family will receive friends following the memorial service.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Immanuel Lutheran Church, the Lelon & Lois Capps Mathematics Scholarship Fund at KU Endowment, and The Lelon R. Capps Lecture Series at KU Endowment, sent in care of the funeral home.


Messages & Condolences

From Linda Cox...

Lois, for some reason I thought of you and Lee this afternoon. I Googled his name and found the news of his recent passing. Very sad to hear. Lee was a great mentor, my PhD advisor, and creative author of world renowned mathematics textbooks plus other innovations at the School of Education. I appreciated his insights and guidance. My condolences and sympathies to you and family. Linda Cox, PhD, 1970 Seattle, WA

From Lisa Meisser, Monstein...

Liebe Laura,
Du hast mir auf Facebook geschrieben, das Dein Grossvater Lee gestorben ist. Würdest Du Deiner Grossmutter Lois bitte ausrichten, dass mich der Tod von Lee sehr berührt. Ich werde Lois schreiben.
Herzliche Kondolation an Euch alle

From Judy Shelton Lakin...

Kandis, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your dad was so kind. Love to you and your family.

From Mary Gordon...

Dr. Capps was a professor who made his students feel comfortable in talking to him. I will always remember him as kind, understanding, and willing to listen to his students’ concerns. He will be deeply missed by everyone who was blessed to know him.

From Dr. Jerry and Darlene Cronin...

One can travel far and wide but to know the importance of passing on educational knowledge and to feel the experience of success is hard to find but Dr. Capps made a difference in the world..thank you for the time teach us all the importance of it all. Ahee’hee (thank you).

From Sherry Tamerius...

I am so sorry to hear of Dr. Capps death. He was my advisor in the late 1980s when I was working on my masters. He was very kind and supportive. He will be remembered for his contributions to the school of education and the many lives that he touched. My thoughts and prayers are with his family!

From Susan Osborn...

I had Dr. Capps in 1970-71 for the class Math Methods for the Elementary Teacher (maybe not the exact course title). I remember shoe boxes filled with mathematical tools to help students explore patterns and numbers in different ways than the traditional. Maybe they were called “Soft Boxes for Hard Schools.” He made me look at mathematics in different ways and I was able to pass that along to my students. Education is better as a result of his influence. He will be missed. My condolences to his family.

From Clenece and Jim Hills...

Jim and I are sad to learn of the death of Dr. Capps. He made a difference for teachers all over the world. With great respect and affection for this remarkable man, we extend our love and sympathy to Lois and all of the Capps family.

From Martin and Maureen makarewicz...

We are sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family.

From Dale Scannell...

Lois, We were saddened to learn about the loss of Lee.
we are thankful that we had the opportunity to see you several times recently, and to spend several days with you in Wisconsin.
Lee was a good friend and a model for people with mobility problems. I left messages on several of your phones.Our thoughts are with you.

From Gene Meyer...

Mrs. Capps I am so sorry to read of Lee’s passing. I know how close you all were to Chuck Lindstrom. Earl had given me your message. We are out of town until Spring so please forgive the informality of an email message. Thoughts are with you.

From Marlene A Merrill...

Lee was an educator’s educator. His knowledge and scholarship were exceptional. His friends and family as well as educators will miss him greatly.

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