Ethel Cleis Memorial Service

Ethel Marion (Kosmal) Cleis

January 22, 1937–November 16, 2023

Ethel Marie Cleis was born on January 22, 1937 to Anthony and Virginia Kosmal in Allegheny County, PA.

Anthony worked for Allegheny Steel and Virginia worked for the local Kmart. Ethel grew up in Natrona Height, PA and was raised as an only child. She is survived by her brother Ronald Kosmal who was born after she was married.

Ethel and Austin met in the band at Har-Brack High School in Brackenridge, PA, where they both played the saxophone. Ethel also sang in the chorus and the women’s sextet. They were married on November 12, 1955, at Grace Methodist Church in Natrona Heights.

One of Ethel’s first jobs was switchboard operator in Bradford, PA, where Austin built couplings at Dresser Pipeline. After that, Austin’s IBM career led to many moves and adventures around the country including Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, New York (Kingston and Owego), and eventually settling in Southern California. Ethel loved the year-round warm, dry weather in Ventura County and never looked back! She worked as the baker at Newbury Park High School, where her children attended. Eventually Austin accepted a job at Unisys, prompting him to retire from IBM, and then transferred to Colorado Springs in 1994.

Ethel loved to bake, sew, watch football games, watch all – things NASCAR with Austin, spend time with her cats, and served in her church. She loved the Lord, her church family, the “Lunch Bunch,” the Quilting group, Bible study groups, and being in the choir. Ethel and Austin also had an extensive group of friends in the model airplane, sailplane and radio club communities sharing good times and great meals.

Their children share fun family memories of sailing on Cayuga Lake in New York and camping and dune buggy trips in California. Ethel sewed her daughters’ clothes with matching outfits for their dolls. She loved the “stretch and sew” style and made their outfits for holidays and outings, as well as her own pant suits and school baker uniforms. She used all of the leftover fabric to make quilts. Austin shared with his son his love for cars, planes (they were both pilots), model planes and gliders.

Ethel and Austin found great joy retiring in the Black Forest, watching the wildlife under the “Colorado blue skies.”

Ethel went home to Jesus on November 16, 2023. She missed her husband, Austin J. Cleis, Jr., who died on January 2, 2022. Ethel and Austin are survived by their three children, Barbara McDonald, Richard Cleis, Debra Tate, and four grandchildren Jennifer Baumgard, Gregory McDonald, Melissa Platz and Randall Tate, along with three great-grandchildren and one more on the way!