College Wood Elementary school teacher loses battle with cancer, school rallies to memorialize her

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Lisa Marie is remembered as always smiling.

The 50-year-old College Wood Elementary teacher and Westfield resident lost her battle to muscular cancer Nov. 24.

“She saw the whole child, not just the school academic child,” College Wood Principal Kathy Olssen said. “She was very close with the parent community as well. I think she made an impact on everybody she taught with.”

Marie came to Carmel Clay Schools in 1991 as a student-teacher at Forest Dale Elementary. She she left for two years to become a second-grade teacher at Saint Joan of Arc. From 2000 to 2002, she was a preschool instructor through the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation Dept. before finding College Wood as her teaching home in 2002. She taught second and third grade ever since.

Olssen, who worked with Marie for six years, remembers her for always bringing positive energy to the classroom. She was often known to attend students’ outside activities, like soccer games or theater performances.

“The No. 1 most important thing is she always had a smile,” Olssen said. “That’s what children would tell you. She finds ways of building confidences in children, and she could make a child who is having a bad day learn to appreciate the little things and turn their attention back to happiness and positivity. She was always asking about everyone else’s children, always caring for everybody else and their happiness and wellbeing.”

On Nov. 27, College Wood staff shared a moment of silence for Marie. On Nov. 28, parents and College Wood colleagues donated time so 40 staff members could attend Marie’s services.

The school wants to do something larger to memorialize Marie. Staff members are still pitching ideas.

“We are looking for a way to continue Lisa’s bright smile here at College Wood permanently,” Olssen said. “We are going to be trying to find ways to allow students and parents to honor her so that her spirit lives on for those who have known her and those that will hear about her in the future.”

Lisa Marie obituary

Lisa Marie (Hofmeister), 50, of Westfield, died Nov. 24.  She was born in Columbus, Ohio, daughter of James and Mary Marcella Buzzelli.

Lisa was a graduate of Cathedral High School and Indiana University. Lisa taught second grade at College Wood Elementary school for several years.   

She was preceded in death by her mother, Marcy, and her son, Vince.

Survivors include her father, Jim; son, Joshua; daughter, Lindsay; brother, Ray (Jessica); sister, Karen (Brian, Lucy) and many nieces and nephews.

Please visit bussellfamilyfunerals.com to share a memory and read Lisa’s complete obituary.

Arrangements entrusted to Bussell Family Funerals, Westfield-Carmel.


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