WATERVILLE, ME--As a wife, mother, grandmother, UCC minister, professor, and college chaplain, Cynthia Ness Lepley devoted her life to serving others and helping them develop their full potential. Her love and compassion nurtured the countless people whose lives she touched. Strong and courageous, she battled cancer for seven years before finally losing her struggle on June 7, 2019, at age 72.\r\n\r\nBorn January 26, 1947, in York, PA, to Earl Raymond and Pauline Heim Ness, Cindy was motivated to live as fully as possible to redeem the life of her mother, who died as a result of giving birth to Cindy. Eventually, Cindy’s father married Martha Orner, who filled the role as Cindy’s mom.\r\n\r\nAvidly devoted to lifelong learning, Cindy was a member of the National Honor Society at York Suburban High School (York, PA) where she graduated in 1965. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Susquehanna University in 1969 and a Master of Divinity from the Bangor Theological Seminary, where she graduated at the top of her class in 1986. Pursuing her interest in counseling, Cindy earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in counseling from the University of Maine. Her learning wasn’t limited to academics; she was a master of martial arts, earning her First Degree Black Belt Sho Dan in 2009.\r\n\r\nCindy’s education led to the two careers she loved most: associate minister at the Winslow Congregational Church from her ordination in 1986 until 1995, when she accepted a position as Assistant Professor of psychology at Thomas College. Eventually earning a promotion to Associate Professor, Cindy educated thousands of students and trained hundreds of counselors, who themselves today help thousands of people. Cindy also served as Chaplain at Thomas College, offering prayers at college ceremonies and providing emotional support to students, who frequently viewed her as almost another grandmother.\r\n\r\nIn 1969, Cindy married Doug Lepley and began the most fulfilling part of her life: her family. She gave birth to three wonderful daughters – Ruth, Lorie, and Jennifer – all of whom now have families of their own. Cindy always found happiness in whatever she did, but family get-togethers filled her with special joy. She had great pride in her daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren.\r\n\r\nCindy possessed creative talents, producing beautiful and humorous works of art and poetry. She loved kayaking on Messalonskee Lake, gardening, reading, and doing weddings, including all of her daughters’ weddings. She enjoyed teaching and helping her students understand the workings of the brain, and above all she felt deeply fulfilled by the positive impact she was able to have on the people who needed her love, comfort, and wisdom.\r\nCindy is survived by her husband, Doug; her daughter, Ruth Parks, and her family (husband Craig and children, Jillian and Zachary); her daughter, Lorie Parks, and her family (husband Mike and children, Caitlin, Luke, and Ryan); and her daughter, Jennifer Harrison, and her family (husband Nick and son James).\r\n\r\nDoug offers gratitude to all the friends and colleagues who supported him and Cindy through Cindy’s battle against cancer, but especially wishes to thank Dr. G. Richard Polkinghorn, nurse-navigator Gari Smith-Bayreuther, and the staff at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, who added many precious years to Cindy’s life.\r\n\r\nThe funeral service, presided over by Reverend Kim Shrader, will be held at 1:00 p.m. June 13, 2019, at the Winslow Congregational Church, where Cindy began her ministry. A visitation will be held at the church from 12:00 – 1:00 pm prior to the service. Committal will follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Oakland, ME. A reception will follow at the Parish Hall next to the Benton Falls Congregational Church, where Cindy was a member for 24 years. \r\n\r\nIf you wish to provide flowers, Cindy’s request is that they be from people’s own gardens. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Benton Falls Congregational Church, care of Dawnella Sheehan, 274 Bellsqueeze Road, Benton Maine 04901.