By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer
TERRACE PARK - Bethany Rounds Kauffman always thought of others before thinking of herself.
The teacher and community activist never forgot a friend's birthday. She even remembered the birthdays of her children's friends.
"My friends called her their 'other mother,' " said her daughter, Jennifer Kauffman of Seattle. "We're so proud of her. She was so incredibly strong."
Bethany Kauffman died Saturday at Mercy Anderson Hospital after a short illness. The longtime Terrace Park resident was 77.
"She coped bravely with her failing eyesight and resolved to continue to be her wonderfully independent self," said her best friend, Jane Master of Indian Hill.
Mrs. Kauffman began her career in 1968 as a fifth-grade teacher at Terrace Park Elementary. An innovative teacher, she strived to instill in her students an appreciation of culture and literature by such activities as taking them to Washington, D.C., and putting on Shakespearean plays.
She went on to teach as a reading specialist at Bloom Junior High in the West End in 1982.
Four years later - in 1986 - she retired but continued her pursuits to better education in the inner city by helping to start the homework room at Peaslee Neighborhood Center, writing grants, finding volunteers, and tutoring for the program.
She also served as past president of the operating board in the late 1980s of Thomaston Woods, a low- to medium-income housing project in Batavia, built by St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Terrace Park.
Mrs. Kauffman grew up on a farm in Fenton, Mich.
One of eight children, she studied education at Central Michigan and Kent State universities before earning her bachelor's degree from Miami University in 1967.
She later earned a master's degree in education with an emphasis in reading from Xavier University.
Mrs. Kauffman was an extensive world traveler who visited Russia, the Middle East and China.
She was an active member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, where she started numerous committees, served as a lay reader, and was a two-term member of the Vestry.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include her husband of 48 years, Harry Kauffman of Terrace Park; another daughter, Janet Panning of Souderton, Pa.; a sister, Ione Bacheler of Penn Valley, Calif.; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be 3 p.m., Wednesday at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Terrace Park.
The body will be cremated.
Memorials: St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 100 Miami Ave., Terrace Park, 45174, or the Cincinnati Association for the Blind, 2045 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati 45202 (www.cincyblind.org) .
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