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Sarah Beth Langcuster Kleist

Sarah Beth Langcuster Kleist, 32, passed away June 27 after a courageous and inspirational two-year struggle with a serious illness.

She is survived by her husband, Mark Kleist, of McCalla; her parents Jim and Beth Langcuster, of Auburn; and her sister Maggie Langcuster (Alec Harris) of Auburn.

She is preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Ossie and Clyde Holder, of Florence, and her paternal grandparents, Suzanne and Cecil Langcuster, of Russellville.

Sarah, a native of Auburn, graduated from Auburn High School in 2008. She attended the University of Alabama, from which she earned a Bachelor of Arts, Magna cum Laude, in classical studies and Spanish through the International Honors Program in 2012.

In 2014 she earned her Master of Arts in romance languages with a concentration in Spanish from the University of Alabama and was also initiated into the Scholastic Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Shortly thereafter, Sarah developed a desire to assist newcomers to the United States with acquiring English language competency.  She enrolled at Auburn University to complete a graduate certificate in teaching English as a Second Language. She enhanced this training in 2019, earning a second graduate degree: a Master of Arts in Education with a specialization in teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

In 2016 Sarah became an instructor of Spanish at the University of West Alabama, where she was instrumental in developing the undergraduate Spanish curriculum to enable aspiring students to complete Bachelor of Arts degrees both online and in the classroom.

She also was appointed to oversee West Alabama’s English as a Second Language Program.

She became a leader in West Alabama’s International Programs and participated in a faculty exchange program with UWA’s partner university in the Netherlands. She is remembered by fellow faculty members for her easygoing temperament, cooperative spirit and willingness to organize all manner of campus activities, whether it was a poetry slam, an International Programs dinner or travel with the Reed Literary Odyssey.

She always valued being able to contribute, even when colleagues and friends urged her to lighten her workload.

Sarah was regarded by relatives and friends as a modern Renaissance woman, completing courses in art, voice and horseback riding. She was also an avid traveler, having traveled extensively throughout the United States and to 10 countries on three continents by age 30.

During her time at UWA, she was actively involved in a writers’ group and wrote two novels set in the contemporary South. Her works may yet be published.

In addition to Spanish language proficiency, Sarah was well under way toward mastering German before becoming ill in 2020.

Sarah was respected and loved for the emphasis she placed not only on friendship but also on the importance of being present and engaged with loved ones.  She strove to live life purposefully and thoroughly, always enlivening it with her unique humor and her insatiable curiosity.

The family requests that those wishing to affirm Sarah’s legacy and generosity consider donating to one of the following charities: Together Rising, Heifer International or the Alabama Literacy Council.