Christian 12

Estella Marie Gahala

August 30, 2019


Estella Marie Crouse Ranck Gahala Lange, Ph.D. died peacefully at her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday morning, August 30, 2019. Her beloved husband Dale Lowell Lange was at her side. She was 90 years old.

Estella was born on March 28, 1929, the first child of Ivan Grant Crouse and Margaret Estella Beck; at the home of grandparents Ralph D. Beck and Patience Layton Beck, Alva Oklahoma. Her brother, Harry Dean Crouse, was born six years later and was Estella’s baby doll during his infancy and her best friend throughout their lives. Estella’s education began humbly at Friendship School, a one-room rural school near Hopeton, Oklahoma. She attended Alva High School, Northwestern State Teachers College in Alva, Oklahoma, completed a B.A. at University of Wichita; an M.A. in English lit. at University of Colorado – Boulder, an M.A. in French, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont, and her Ph.D. in School Administration and Curriculum Development, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. She nurtured her formidable intellect with a life-long passion for education and study.Words—spoken and written—were her business. From her first “job” as editor of the Alva High School newspaper to retiring from Scott Foresman, where she was Foreign Language Curriculum Consultant for McDougal Littell Houghton Mifflin Educational Publishers, Chicago & Boston, Estella’s career established her as an international force in language education. In 1975, she was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, by French Ministry of Education, Services Culturels, for contributions to the propagation of the French language and culture. She received many awards and was listed in Who’s Who Among American Women, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World. Her life was rich with wide-ranging interests that included jazz, blues, and classical music; world-wide travel and adventure; a modest Southwest and Chinese art collection; and a passionate engagement in social justice, interfaith dialogue, and politics.  Estella never stopped seeking to know and understand those whose life experiences were different from her own. Estella was an accomplished and influential woman. But nothing was more important to her than her family.

She is survived by her husband, Dale Lange; nieces, Denise Crouse (Jody Vanesky), Diane Crouse-Flynn (Arthur); great nieces and nephew, Nora Vanesky, Kirsten Andersen, Paul Crouse (Rachel); sisters-in-law, Grace Shingledecker Crouse and Billie Jo Moe Crouse; Gahala and Lange step children; a vast network of relatives from the many family lines including Becks, Laytons, and Crouses, with whom she developed beautiful relationships through her rigorous genealogy research; and dear friends who were as family to her.

Estella will be buried next to her mother at Resthaven Gardens of Memory, Wichita, Kansas.  A Memorial Service with a reception following will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019, 10:30 a.m. at St. Michael & All Angels Church, 601 Montaño Road NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Estella gave her support to many causes which were close to her heart. People who wish to give a gift in her memory are encouraged to make a donation to St. Michael & All Angels Episcopal Church (, First United Methodist Church Meal Program (, or Quintessence Choral Artists at St. John’s United Methodist Church (

“Coming into this world in a humble form, I leave it in the same way. In that way I follow in the footsteps of He who saved all through his death and transfiguration, Jesus, the Christ. Jesus was and is the servant, who, through his teaching, his life, death, and resurrection, gives us a Way to live both with ourselves and with “the other.” This way is never-ending…




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Memorial Service
September 21, 2019

10:30 AM
St. Michael and All Angels Church
601 Montano Rd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

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