Emilie Massette was a deeply spiritual woman who relied on her faith to get her through some tough times in her life, said her daughter, Rev. Victoria Ubben.
She struggled with rheumatoid arthritis in her later years, but didn’t let her constant pain slow her down.
“She was determined to keep moving and keep exercising and she worked hard to have a productive life of volunteerism and community service until her death,” her daughter said.
Emilie Massette, 75, of Valparaiso, died Dec. 21, 2013. She taught more than 25 years at Yost Elementary School in Porter and did sabbatical teaching in China and New Zealand. She as a member of First Christian Church, D.O.C, Valparaiso. She had been active in the Duneland Teacher’s Association and served a term as president.
Rev. Ubben said her mother was an innovative educator, and first introduced computer education into her classroom in the 1980s.
“Back then she taught her students simple word processing on Apple MacIntosh computers,” she said. “She was an innovative educator and loved helping children explore new worlds.”
Declining health caused her to retire early, her daughter said, and instead, she helped raise her grandsons. She volunteered at their school, Flint Lake Elementary in Valparaiso, for nine years.
“Instead of teaching in the classroom, she became the chef, child-care provider, chaperone, chauffeur for the grandsons she helped to raise,” Rev. Ubben said.
Massette combined her love of being a teacher with her love of travel during two sabbaticals. In China, she taught English at a girl’s school. In New Zealand, she taught environmental science and outdoor education, her daughter said.
She loved to travel, and had been around the world. Her favorite place was Costa Rica, where she found the warm weather near the Equator helped alleviate her rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
“While she was there (the first time), she discovered that she was nearly pain-free from her almost-crippling condition, without dependency on her prescription drugs. She returned a second time with her sister Sarah and found this to be the case again,” Rev. Ubben said. “Her one wish was to take her family to Costa Rica to experience as a group the healing effects of the perfect weather near the equator and the ocean breezes. She traveled to Costa Rica a third time with her family before her death. All were amazed that the barometric pressure, the lack of rain in January, and the warmth of the sun actually removed her chronic arthritic pain.”
Massette had a sense of adventure, and earned her pilot’s license at age 55.
“(She) was able to fly over Lake Michigan and all above Indiana,” her daughter said. “She was able to land successfully every time at every airport.”