Born: 4 Dec 1942
Died: 9 Sep 2017
At the age of: 74
Spouse: Denton Leroy Whitaker
Children: Travis, Cassidy
Parents: Glenwood & Susan Barker Taylor
Cleta Louise Taylor Whitaker, 74, of Malta, Idaho passed away Saturday, September 9, 2017, surrounded by family at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah from complications associated with Multiple Myeloma Cancer.
Cleta was the youngest of four daughters. She was born on December 4, 1942, at the family home in Elba, Idaho, to Glenwood and Susan Barker Taylor. Cleta attended Elba Elementary through the fifth grade and sixth-through-eighth grade at Malta Elementary & Junior High. She graduated Valedictorian of her class in 1961 from Raft River High School.
On August 7, 1964, Cleta married her high school sweetheart, Denton LeRoy Whitaker, in the Logan, Utah LDS Temple. They purchased a farm south of Malta, where they raised crops, cattle, and horses and ran the family milk truck business, along with the family ranch in Elba.
Cleta graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from BYU-Provo in 1965. She did her student teaching at Raft River High and started teaching there on a provisional in 1964. In 1986, she received her Masters of Education in Counseling and Guidance from Idaho State University. During her 39 years of service, Cleta taught Home Economics classes and P.E. classes. Throughout her teaching career, she was the advisor for FHA, Yearbook, R Club, Rodeo Club, Ski Club, Natural Helpers, and Student Council. She coached track and led the girls team to five consecutive state track championships from 1996 to 2000. She received several awards for Excellence in Teaching for the state of Idaho and was inducted into the Idaho High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in 2014. She received many letters from former students over the years thanking her for the guidance she provided as the counselor. She retired in 2003, but because of her love for kids, she continued as a substitute teacher and subbed until 2014, when she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma Cancer.
Cleta was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She served in many callings; her favorites included serving in the Primary and Young Women’s organizations.
Cleta enjoyed traveling, playing piano, cooking and sewing, skiing, flat track and cutter/chariot horse races, and all sports; but her greatest joy, was taking care of and spending time with her husband and family. She was proud of the many accomplishments of her family and was involved and attended anything her children and grandchildren participated in. She was so excited for the arrival of she and Denny’s first great-grandchild, who was born on their 53rd wedding anniversary last month.
Cleta is survived by her husband, Denny; and their two sons, Travis (Jennifer) Whitaker and Cassidy (Amber) Whitaker—all of Malta; grandchildren, Taylor (Grant) Stevenson of Paul, Idaho, Taryn Whitaker attending Utah State University, Tani Whitaker attending BYU-Idaho, Trace Whitaker, Tate Whitaker, Treg Whitaker, Laci Whitaker, and Tegan Whitaker—all of Malta; great-grandson, Rhett Stevenson of Paul, Idaho; sisters, Glennette Brackenbury of Albion, Idaho, Donna Harper of Burley, Idaho, and Vera (Jack Hutchison) of Provo, Utah; sisters-in-law, Sharon Hutchison of Malta, and Renee (Denny) Ward of Burley, Idaho; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Cleta was preceded in death by her parents, Glen and Susan Taylor; parents-in-law, Wayne and Lois Whitaker, brothers-in-law, Gerald Brackenbury, Tinker Hutchison, and Art Whitaker; sister-in-law, LaRene Whitaker; and a granddaughter, Timber Whitaker.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 18, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Malta Ward church, located at 280 N. 1st St., in Malta, with Bishop Dallan Spencer officiating. Burial will follow at the Valley Vu Cemetery in Malta.
Friends may call from 5 until 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Rasmussen Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley, and from 10 until 10:45 a.m. prior to the service at the church.
The family would like to thank Dr. Miranda and his staff at the Burley Infusion Center, and Dr. Atanackovic, Janet Weidner, and Mary Steinbach at the Huntsman Cancer Institute for all of their love and care for Cleta over the past three years. They would also like to thank the many family and friends who helped take her to her appointments and treatment during this time.