Ettalee Lites served the group as board member from 1985 until her death at age 80 in 2008. When the original group began in the western suburbs Lites' home and music business served as practice facility and headquarters.
Ettalee Lites was a Chicago public school teacher for over 40 years, won outstanding teacher awards, and was an accomplished pianist running Melody Music Studio from 1973 until her death.
Possessing a master's degree in education she realized the importance of education to success. Ettalee put three daughters through baton, band and dance activities, each daughter taking lessons for no less than 7 years as she believed that persistence and perseverance were the key to success in any activity.
A scholarship is now set up in her name to award a deserving Twirling Bear(s) or Bear-ette attending college annually. Award amounts are based on available funding.