Cover photo for Dr. Rebecca L. Cassell's Obituary
Dr. Rebecca L. Cassell Profile Photo
1942 Dr. rebecca 2021

Dr. Rebecca L. Cassell

July 30, 1942 — January 31, 2021

Rebecca L. Cassell, Ph.D., age 78, of Portage, Michigan, passed away Sunday, January 31, 2021. Rebecca was born July 30, 1942, in New Castle, Indiana, the daughter of Herschel and Grace (Sanders) Cassell. Becky attended Greenfield High School in Greenfield, Indiana. After graduating from Hanover College, Becky was inspired to join the Peace Corps by her mother's active volunteerism. She was assigned to Pilar, a remote village in Alagoas, Brazil, to reduce the infant mortality rate. There, she helped initiate a vaccine campaign and created prenatal and postnatal health education programs. Following her two-year assignment in the Peace Corps, Becky traveled extensively around South America before returning to the United States and obtaining a Master of Library Science from Indiana University. She began her career at the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, Maryland, and also worked at the Montgomery County Library in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, and at the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, before beginning twenty years of employment as a librarian at Chicago Public Schools. Becky continued her education at Loyola University, earning her Ph.D. in 1994, and after that began a librarianship position at Downers Grove South High School in Downers Grove, Illinois. Learning about new technologies, Becky desired to integrate computers into the library. Despite opposition, she successfully acquired an experimental contract to become the first high school library in the nation to have computers. In 2005, the library won the National School Library of the Year Award From the American Association of School Librarians. Becky retired as the Library Department Chair of Downers Grove South High School in 2006. Following retirement, she moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Becky enjoyed genealogy, entertaining, interior decorating, and gourmet cooking in her spare time. Surviving are a brother, Jerry Cassell (Marianne McArthur); nephew, Nathan Cassell; niece, Molly (Michael) Burton; four great-nieces, one great-nephew, several cousins, and her cherished lifelong friends Sherry and Norm Hart. The family would like to express appreciation for all who cared deeply about Becky, including her friends, neighbors, and her caregivers, whom she loved so much. With her caregivers’ loving and compassionate assistance, she lived in her home up until the last year of her life. The family would also like to thank the incredible staff at Bickford of Portage Assisted Senior Living who brought her joy, love, and comfort toward the end of her life. Becky enjoyed the activities and local trips offered at Bickford. She especially loved playing Farkle and spending money at the penny auction. Private family services to celebrate her life will be held at a later date at Miller Cemetery in Middletown, Indiana. Arrangements by Redmond Funeral Home, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
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