Knoxville civic leader has died

Sandra ClarkFarragut, Obits

Knoxville gained a sterling asset when Elizabeth Margriet Koester and her husband, Rudolf Koester Ph.D., relocated here following his retirement in 2001 as a professor of German at the University of Nevada. At the time of her death, the couple had been married for 48 years.


Mrs. Koester served as president of the Knoxville Symphony League and was a member of the Ossoli Circle, Historic Ramsey House, Bleak House, Marble Springs, the Knoxville Welsh Society, the University Women’s Club and other interest groups.

Born in Wales in the UK, she decided early on that she wanted to be a ballerina, and at the age of 11 was accepted at the Elmhurst Ballet School, then located in Camberley, Surrey. Much as she enjoyed those school years, there was a problem for she continued to grow, and it soon became evident that she would be too tall to be a ballerina. The outcome was that she was accepted into the Bluebell Girls, a renowned dancing troupe in Paris, formed by an Irish lady named Margaret Kelly. The Bluebell Girls had to be 5-10 or taller, and were known for their sumptuous costumes made largely of feathers and with enormous headdresses. Elizabeth danced with them for over a decade, travelling the world. Find additional obituary information here.

A memorial service for Elizabeth is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, October 28, 2021, at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, 413 West Cumberland Ave. in downtown Knoxville.

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