Friday, July 28, 2023

Obituary: Jeretta (Cass) Tauriella

 Jeretta Lynn (Cass) Tauriella was born November 1, 1948 in Norton, Kansas to Dean and Mary (Warner) Cass. Jeretta was raised in Beaver City, Nebraska where she was the second of five children. She graduated from Beaver City High School in 1967 and went on to attend Kearney State College (currently the University of Nebraska in Kearney). She graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education.

She began teaching in Exeter Public Schools in 1971. While working her first high school dance, she was forced to remove a persistent party-crasher. The intruder’s ploy to gain her attention worked as Jeretta and her future husband, John, had their first dance later that night. Even though she fell asleep on their first date at a drive-in movie, she fell in love and the two happily married on May 26, 1973. The marriage was blessed by two children – Jamie and Jena.

Jeretta loved to read and write. In high school she won top prize for her essay in a statewide competition. She won a week-long trip to Washington DC where she and a group attended the Congressional Breakfast and she was presented a cash prize by Senator Carl Curtis. Her love for writing also showed as she was the editor of her high school yearbook and part of the Exeter History Book Committee that published the 125-anniversary yearbook.

Jeretta was the library media specialist for the elementary and high school libraries. She read nearly every book before it was put on the shelf. At different times in her career, Jeretta also taught English, Language Arts, Spanish and conducted the annual school play. She spent her entire teaching career at one school system. She retired in 2013 after 42 years of teaching at the Exeter and Exeter-Milligan Public Schools.
Jeretta also spent many years teaching Sunday School and conducting the Christmas play for elementary-aged children at the Exeter United Methodist Church where she was a member for 40 years. In her later years, even after her words were gone, she would still hum her favorite church hymns.

Jeretta was diagnosed with a rare disease called Corticobasal Degeneration. Symptoms began to develop in her late 50s and she received a diagnosis in her late 60s. Slowly over time, her movement, speech and memory deteriorated. However, she never lost her sense of humor (always laughing at John’s jokes), her love for music (humming along the best she could while “dancing”) and had no problem putting people in their place even without her words. As her abilities gradually deteriorated, John filled her voids by being her hands, feet, sight and speech. He tirelessly cared for her in their home until her final day.

Jeretta passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, July 23, 2023, at the age of 74, with her loved ones by her side.

Jeretta was preceded in death by her parents, parents-in-law Frank and Marjorie Tauriella, brother Larry Cass and brothers-in-law Larry Ruhl and Charlie Hansen.

She is survived by her husband John, children Jamie (and grandchildren Kinsie, Kaylee, Austin and Emily) and Jena (husband Jose and granddaughters Isabel, Elena and Alexis), siblings Jerry (wife Nancy), Lori (husband Jeff) and Alin; sisters-in-law Judy Cass, Nancy Ruhl and Judy Hansen; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

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