In loving memory of Jill Taruscio: 1946-2021


Jill Simone (Griffith) Taruscio was born on June 21, 1946 in Morton, Washington, to Lew and Calverna Griffith. She is survived by her brother, Blake Griffith (Jocklyn), and her two daughters Randi Lydum (Matt Lydum) and Antia Accetta (Randy Accetta), her step-sons Tim Taruscio (Lisa), Todd Taruscio (Gina), her beautiful -daughter Antoinette Forseth and her grandchildren Max. Lydum, Hazel Lydum, Aric Accetta, Anabelle Accetta, Blake Taruscio, Jessica Johnson, Sarah Taruscio, Sawyer Forseth, MacLain Forseth, Claire Blewitt and Andrew Taruscio.

Jill grew up on the Griffith family farm in Randle, Washington. She attended Randle Elementary School, then White Pass High School. A member of several clubs, she was part of the debate team, the cheerleader team and played the clarinet in the high school orchestra, all activities in which she excelled. As a cheerleader, she has shown her gymnastic prowess in home and away basketball games. After graduating from high school, she chose Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, and then transferred and graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington.

In college in 1965, Jill married Tony A. Riffe, whom she had met when she was in eighth grade and he was in ninth grade. She became a frequent member of the Glenn and Hazeldean Riffe family before entering high school. While they were at the CWU where Tony was playing baseball, they had Randi J. Riffe who was a week old when Tony fell ill with a rare form of cancer at the age of 21. He survived for seven months. Jill’s life changed dramatically with the loss. It was not his first defeat. She had lost her nearly 3-year-old brother, Greg, who accidentally drowned. Jill overcame the difficult loss of her husband and made a commitment to raising Randi with the help of the Griffith and Riffe families. At the same time, Jill continued to graduate from college and accepted a teaching position at Randle Elementary School. His courage, endurance and dedication to his daughter were remarkable.

In 1973 Jill married Leonard Taruscio, and in 1975 they had Antia Simone. Jill was a dedicated mother, always encouraging and supporting whatever activities her children wanted to pursue. They lived in Walla Walla, where she continued her teaching career first at Garrison Junior High, then at Sharpstein, Blue Ridge, Pioneer, Payne ALP and Edison. As a special education teacher, she believed that all of her students could be successful in school and in life. Jill was active in the community and fulfilled the dream of opening a children’s store, Tyke Place Market, in Walla Walla. She was devoted to her family, her profession, her business and her friends. Plus, Jill was an enthusiastic pet owner. Domestic and wild animals were drawn to her and she to them.

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