F. Elaine (Sheppard) Cavin, 80, of Lake Lotawana, MO, formerly of Blue Springs, MO, died November 18, 2008 due to a brain tumor.

Elaine was born January 20, 1928 in Joplin, MO to Earl and Essie Sheppard. She graduated from high school in Wichita, Kansas and was awarded her Associate Degree from Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa in 1948. Following graduation, she enrolled in the newly formed Institute of Logopedics at Wichita State University which is now the Communication Disorders and Sciences Department of Logopedics. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Education from WSU in 1965 and was certified as a Speech Pathologist in 1969. She worked toward her Masters of Education degree at CMSU, Warrensburg, MO. She pursued learning her entire life and was continually open to new understandings and ideas.

A woman of steadfast faith, she was a life long member of the Community of Christ church and held the office of Priest. She was actively involved in many activities of service in her church.

Elaine began her teaching career in 1962 as a special education teacher and later as a speech therapist in the Blue Springs and Raytown school districts. She went into private practice, Therapy Associates, Inc., in 1971. In 1977, with Marilu Herrick, she opened the doors of a private school, the Blue Springs Learning Center for children with communicative disorders which is now the Rainbow Center. She was instrumental in the development of the “Teach a Child to Talk” workshops for public and private schools and was a certified instructor of the A.D.D. reading program. In 1985, after returning to Wichita to care for her parents, she began tutoring reading to children and adults as well as teaching in the Head Start Program.

A teacher to the core of her being, Elaine refused to give up on a child. She believed that if a child was not learning, it was the teacher’s failure, not the child’s. She believed that her job was to keep trying different keys until the lock opened. Her recognition of the unfilled needs of children caught between the public school system and the state institution was the driving force behind the creation of a private school for these children. At her own personal sacrifice, she chose to invest her teacher’s retirement in the futures of all the young people whose lives have been changed by her commitment. She continued in the later part of her life tutoring children on a one life at a time basis. It is a story that is repeated over and over again about the life changing difference she made for a child. She saw it as her calling in life and she found great joy in that service. Elaine lived her life from beginning to end with grace and a smile, always looking for the positive in all circumstances and with a heart of service.

Elaine married David Cavin in 1949 in Wichita and moved to Blue Springs in 1960. She is survived by David and four children, Terri (John) Majors of Lake Lotawana; Steve (Stephanie) Cavin of Independence; Randy (Teresa) Cavin of Lake Lotawana; Leslie Moon (Phil)-Wilson of Lee’s Summit; 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

A “Celebration of Life” memorial service will be held at 3 p.m., on Saturday, November 29 at the Colbern Road Community of Christ, 27507 E. Colbern Rd, Lee’s Summit. Friends are invited to a dinner following the service. The family requests no flowers and suggests contributions to the Rainbow Center in Blue Springs, MO in her memory. Arrangements are under the direction of Mt. Moriah and Freeman, 816-942-2004.