Lucille Rathyen Passed Away Saturday

Lucille Rathyen was one of the two teachers in the early years of the Gifted and Talented program (renamed “Learning Unlimited” a few years later) in West Milford New Jersey. I spent many hours with Lucille and Cassie Lewis in middle school. This very well-spent time made a long lasting impression on me.

A few years ago, most of the first group of G&T kids got together at Cassie’s house for a very enjoyable reunion. I just looked over the photos and saw photos of these childhood friends all grown up.

This email came to me yesterday from Cassie.

I am saddened to inform you that Lucille passed away from a long bout with cancer last night. Her husband, Ralph, called this morning and said she was at home with her family and hospice. I last saw her a few weeks ago, just before she was scheduled for a final MRI to see is anything else might be done.

Lucille remained spirited and optimistic throughout the ordeal. She told me whatever happens is out of her control; the source of her illness unexplainable…some things just happen in life. She was grateful for the life she led, her family, friends and those years in LU and was making the most of the time she had left.

She will be cremated; Ralph will schedule a memorial service in the next week or so. If you’d like to send a note, the address is:
[contact Lee for the address]

I hope this reaches some of you, at least. I don’t have all updated addresses or emails…apologies to those I missed. I contacted the Hazens and Jim
Paretti’s mom. So please pass the word to any others. Feel free to email me or telephone ([contact Lee for the phone number]) if you wish.



  1. TJIC says:

    Oh no!

    She was a great teacher!

  2. Derek says:

    I guess we’ve all gotta go sometime. We shouldn’t be sad, we should be happy that we were fortunate enough to be in such a program with talented, caring teachers like her. Everybody dies, but not everyone chooses to inspire young kids like she did. This is a time to be grateful, not sad.

    That’s what I think. But in reality, I’m sad to hear that she’s gone. I wish there was another LU reunion.

  3. Ralph Rathyen says:

    The location of Lucille’s Memorial Service has been changed to St. Mary’s church in Pompton Lakes

    (note from Lee, it was originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 19th, 7:00 pm at Scanlon’s Funeral Parlor, Route 23, Pequannock NJ.)

  4. nonny says:

    Lucille was a wonderful teacher for our 3 children. She was sweet, pleasant, had a great sense of humor, and the needed sense of humor to deal with all of those kids! I loved LU as much as the students did, and had a great deal of respect for the job both Lucille and Cassie did.

  5. Kathy Feredjian says:

    A tribute to our dear Lucille from the Feredjian family and all their friends from Kinnelon. Every party, the Rathyens were there. Every fundraiser, the Rathyens were there. Every pool party, picnic, theatre they were there. The events and companionship was that much richer when Ralph & Lucille were present. They cried with us, for us, during times of sorrow. They laughed with us, for us, during times of happiness.
    We will miss Lucille immensely. When I close my eyes and see her face, her smile is etched in my brain. Her giving heart and sweetness will stay in the depth of my heart. I’m so glad our paths crossed during this lifetime.

  6. Lee says:

    This appears on the Scanlan Funeral website. There are several “candle” messages written by people as well.

    Funeral Information
    Home: West Milford, NJ
    Date of Death: March 9, 2008
    Age: 62
    Birthdate: September 24, 1945
    Place of Birth: Passaic, NJ
    Service Information: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 7:00 PM St. Mary’s R.C. Church, Pompton Lakes, NJ
    Interment: Laurel Grove Memorial Park, Totowa Borough, NJ

    Lucille Rathyen, 62, of West Milford, died Sunday, March 9, 2008 at her home.

    Lucille was born in Passaic on September 24, 1945, the daughter of Frank and Rose (nee DeBuck) Klein, and has lived in West Milford for the last 31 years. She had previously lived in Jefferson.

    Lucille was a teacher and employed by the West Milford Board of Education. Lucille helped develop the gifted and talented program over the past 25 years, coordinated and coached for NJ Olympics of the Mind, and was a loving mother and grandmother.

    Lucille earned her Masters Degree from William Paterson University.

    She is survived by her husband Ralph, her daughter Jill Naseef and her husband George, and her grandson Max Naseef.

    A Memorial Service will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at St. Marys R.C. Church, 17 Pompton Ave., Pompton Lakes.

    Donations in Lucilles memory to the American Cancer Society, PO Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 43123-1718, or your local animal shelter.

  7. I trined in Hustle with Ralph and Lucille in 1980 two great and wonderful people.

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