Reta Lea Steele Dyson was born on June 29, 1942 to Joseph W. Steele and Mary E. (Renfro) Steele. She passed away on November 26, 2018 in Lowry City, MO.
Reta received her B.S. in Education with a major in Spanish and a minor in Library Science from Missouri State University.
She married James Robert Dyson on November 5, 1966, and together they had one child, Janell Cynthia.
Reta came to Osceola in August 1971 to introduce students to the world of research and Spanish-speaking cultures. She did not plan to stay more than a year, or maybe at the most, two years; Osceola was a small school, and she was used to living and working in large districts. Those two years turned into many more. Reta was in the Osceola school system for 45 years until she officially retired in 2016. Over the course of her career, she taught a total of 52 years. Besides teaching at OHS she had been the Librarian/Spanish teacher at Lindbergh Schools in Saint Louis and Riverton Schools in Riverton, WY, as well as librarian at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, WY.
Reta loved both teaching and learning her entire life. In personal conversations about various topics, she would ask the other party endless questions until she could get the “whole picture.” This included multiple conversations with her granddaughters about their own research and writing in their college and graduate programs. Sometimes, Reta would go out of her way to find research she thought would be helpful to friends and family about a certain subject.
Her other passion was a ministry she started and called “When I Ministries”. From 1993 until 2017, every Monday evening Reta could be found at the St. Clair County Jail, where she led Bible study and worship for inmates. She also headed up the Christmas for Lambs Project, which provided Christian gifts to inmates’ children and loved ones.
Reta had a strong relationship with her Lord and Savior, and this carried into her daily interactions with everyone around her.
Reta was an active member in the Daughters of the American Revolution and served as Regent.
Reta was also known for loving the color purple, pens, and pencils.
Reta was preceded in death by her father and mother and her sister, Jeanette Springer.
She is survived by her daughter, Janell Dennis of Clinton and husband Trent Dennis; granddaughters, Megan Dennis of Lawrence, KS and Mandi Taylor of Benton Arkansas; grandson-in-law, Casey Taylor, also of Benton, AR; and great-grandson Ace Taylor of Benton, AR. Her nieces Becky Wilson, Debra Tennison, and Melinda Manes of Bolivar. A host of other relatives and friends who will miss her very much.