Rachael F. DeHaven, age 78, a retired Director and Children’s Librarian of the Pulaski County Library, passed away peacefully in her sleep in Roanoke on Monday, January 11, 2021.
She was the daughter of the late Alven Pierce Fariss and Hetty Jo Lindsay Fariss. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Bob DeHaven; and two brothers, Don Fariss, Sr. and Bruce Fariss. She is survived by her two children and their families, Stephen and wife, Shana DeHaven of Oak Ridge, NC; David DeHaven and fiancé Stephanie Krippel of Fincastle, Va., former daughter-in-law, Mary DeHaven of Fincastle, and five grandchildren, Mitchell, Alec, Sean, Ian and Kjersten; sister, Patricia and husband, Clyde George of Winston-Salem, N.C.; brother, Michael and wife, Carole Fariss of Fredericksburg, Va; and her beloved dog, Tonia of Fincastle, Va.
Born October 29, 1942 in Allisonia, she graduated from Dublin High School and worked at Jefferson Mills in Pulaski. Later in life she returned to school and graduated from New River Community College with her Associates Degree and Radford University with her bachelor’s degree in Library Science and Early Childhood Education. Upon graduation, she served as a teacher in the Pulaski County School System, before finding her passion in Children’s literature and the Library. Starting first in Carroll County as a Librarian in their school system, she soon returned to the Pulaski County School System and finally the public library. At the public library, she served as Assistant Director and Children’s Librarian for 20 years along with several stints as Director as well. Active in the community, she was a leader in the Woman’s Club of Pulaski, served as Director of local and state pageants and was involved with local politics serving as the campaign manager for the Commissioner of Revenue, and then working at the local polls each year thereafter. She also enjoyed working with the youth as a Chaperone for the Pulaski County High School Band, and The Joyful Noise of the First Presbyterian Church of Pulaski where she also served as an Elder. An avid Duke basketball fan, she regularly took vacation in the month of March to enjoy basketball games leading to the NCAA Championship. Finally, she was instrumental in bringing Chess to Pulaski County, serving as adult leader and chaperone for the team that won numerous State and National Championships.
Her love of reading persisted until her death, where she served as informal librarian in her senior living facility. She could always be seen with a book in her hand, and she kept up with new authors and literature making reading recommendations to other residents. She truly enjoyed igniting the joy of reading in children, where one of the highlights of her career was being “The RIF lady” and leading a joint effort of the Reading Is Fundamental project and the Miss America Pageant to bring books and yearly summer reading programs complete with story times to the children of Pulaski County. This effort was inspired by President Clinton’s challenge to make sure every child could read by the end of third grade. She was driven to bring books and resources to the children of the county and led growth in this area winning numerous awards including the Virginia Educational Media Award (VEMA) Progressive Media Award, the Dickinson Scholarship and the Virginia State Library Institute for Literature Award which included working with children’s authors in Cambridge, England. She often said that “a good book can inspire a child and every child deserves their own book.”
Outdoor Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021, at the Fariss Family Cemetery (3738 Boone Furnace Rd, Hiwassee, VA 24347) with Rev. Melissa McNair-King officiating. Face masks are required.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Pulaski County Library System, 60 West 3rd. Street, Pulaski, VA 24301 in memory of Rachael DeHaven. Arrangements by Stevens Funeral Home, Pulaski, VA.