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Columbia Missourian

Ella Lambert loved MU, cooking and teaching

By Hanna Jacunski
October 2, 2013 | 8:07 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Ella Lambert knew how to throw a party.

Before the Missouri Broadcasters Association moved its annual parties to a larger venue, she hosted them at her house for years, her daughter Barbara Lambert Reichel said.

"There would be 80 people in our house, and our house wasn't very big," Reichel said. "Eventually they moved it somewhere else.

"But she would make shrimp, and Lord help us, it was good."

Ella Lambert died Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. She was 99.

She was born May 7, 1914, in Waterloo, Iowa, to Frank Cole and Phoebe Willis.

She earned an associate degree in teaching from Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa. On May 30, 1936, she married Edward C. Lambert. The couple was married for 63 years.

In 1945, the couple moved to Columbia. Mrs. Lambert's husband pursued a career in broadcast journalism, later becoming a professor and KOMU's first station manager. Mrs. Lambert earned her master's degree in education from MU.

"She was so intelligent," Reichel said. "I can remember her taking me to go look at her grades. This was before the time of computers and those records. She was so excited. She always had a 4.0, but she was always excited."

Mrs. Lambert and her husband loved the Tigers and were always at the football games, Reichel said.

Both Mrs. Lambert and her husband were very social people, and one particular game yielded a presidential friendship.

"They got to meet Harry Truman," Reichel said. "They were two seats lower than him, but they turned around and got to meet him. He was just the kindest man."

The Lamberts sat with President Truman at every game thereafter.

Mrs. Lambert worked in Columbia's public schools, including at West Boulevard Elementary School.

"Kids would follow her everywhere," Reichel said. "They just loved her."

Mrs. Lambert was a member of Philanthropic Educational Organization, which aims to further educational opportunities for women. Reichel said Mrs. Lambert was president of the organization two or three times.

She is survived by daughters Pamela Lambert and her husband, Terry, and Barbara Lambert Reichel and her husband, Norris; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Her husband, Edward C. Lambert, four brothers and a sister died earlier.

Visitation will be held from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Thursday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. The service will follow immediately in the chapel. Burial will be at Memorial Park Cemetery after the service.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Edward C. Lambert Innovation Endowment, which supports 100 by 100: The Centennial Campaign for the MU School of Journalism.

Tributes can be left online at

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.