Ellen LeCompte, 68, died August 10 at her home in Lawrence, Kansas. Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado to Oliver and Janet LeCompte, the second of six children, Ellie grew up in that city, attending local public schools and later the Colorado Springs School for Girls before transferring to the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado, where she graduated in 1968. Ellie thrived in the school’s iconoclastic atmosphere, where students helped build barns and operate the school’s farm.
Ellie attended Pitzer College in Claremont, California and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City before completing her undergraduate work at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She held various jobs during and after her college studies, including teaching English at the Technical Vocational Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico and working in administration for the Colorado Springs Symphony.
Ellie received her Ph.D in psychology at the University of Kansas. She spent the rest of her life working in Topeka and Lawrence as a practicing therapist.
She wanted to feel life to the fullest, to truly connect with the world, and among all her passions, her love of animals stands out. From childhood on, the intelligence and charm of standard poodles delighted her. She was surrounded in daily life in Lawrence by her beloved poodles Pete, Betty, and Chika and her beloved cats Magic, Libby, and Archie. She sometimes rescued injured animals on the roadside, unhesitatingly funding the veterinary bills needed to restore the creature’s health.
Ellie’s generosity and devotion extended to the artistic community of Lawrence. She helped found the Lawrence Arts Center artist-in-residence program and became a friend and mentor to many emerging artists who came to Lawrence from around the world. Ellie was often in the Arts Center print studio creating her own work and delighting in her fellow printmakers.
Ellie’s voracious spirit ensured that she never stopped questioning the meaning of the world or seeking deeper connections with those she loved. Ellie believed in risk-taking, boldness, liberal notions, and unconditional love. Her home was filled with art and animals and books. She loved to have dinner and debate movies and politics and human motivations with her close friends. More than a few of her friends and family, not to mention her patients, could say she had rescued them.
She leaves behind a dear family of friends in Lawrence, Kansas as well as four siblings, Jenny Anderson of Berthoud, Colorado; Charles LeCompte of Brookline, Massachusetts; Tom LeCompte of Sharon, Massachusetts; and Peter LeCompte of Walanae, Hawaii. She was preceded in death by her younger sister Louisa LeCompte in 1964.
A celebration of Ellie’s life will be held Sunday, August 26 at 5:00 p.m. at the Lawrence Arts Center 940 New Hampshire Lawrence, Kansas 66044.
Honor Ellie with gifts to the Lawrence Arts Center, Van Go, Inc. or the Lawrence Humane Society.