Dela Polston

Dela Polston April 5, 1913 – January 1, 2011 Dela was born the 11th of 12 children to Benjamin Marshall Meritt and Mary Sophia Taylor Meritt near Jefferson, Okla. Her family moved to Nebraska when she was six. Dela got a teaching certificate at Peru State College, and met her future husband, Joseph Andrew Polston Jr., in that town. Dela worked as a midwife for five years before launching a teaching career that would last 33 years. It was interrupted for periods of time when her husband was stationed around the country and overseas. Dela had her only child, Pamela Ann, in 1949. After Andy retired from the Army in 1955, the family moved to Ralston, Nebr., where Dela got a teaching job at the elementary school. After six years with sixth graders, she earned a master’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, and was a reading consultant-specialist for the Ralston school system for the remainder of her career. Teaching young children to read gave her great satisfaction, and she continued to tutor little ones after her retirement. Dela’s other fulfilling pastime was volunteering: A vital member of the American Legion Auxiliary, she dedicated 20 years of service to the Thomas Fitzgerald Veterans’ Home. She was also active in the Trinity United Methodist Church, and Ralston’s senior citizens’ center, library, botanical garden and historical association. Dela enjoyed helping others, but in her early retirement years she finally did something purely for herself: ballroom dancing. Dela won numerous competitions through the Fred Astaire Dance Studio and was proud of her trophies. She would no doubt love to be remembered foxtrotting in a pretty dress as much as for her generous good works. Dela had close to 98 years on this Earth and was healthy for most of them. And even in her last decade, when dementia clouded her mind, she remained good-natured and kind. Dela was predeceased by her parents and siblings as well as several nephews and nieces and her husband. She is survived by her beloved girls — daughter Pamela Polston, granddaughter Maya Chilese and great-granddaughter Samone Chilese-Tate — and many other family members, to whom Dela was the last “matriarch” of the Meritt clan. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dela’s memory to the Eastern Nebraska Veterans’ Home, 12505 S. 40th St., Bellevue, NE 68123. A public memorial service will be held in the spring.

HEAFEY-HEAFEY-HOFFMANN DWORAK & CUTLER Mortuaries and Crematories 7805 West Center Road Omaha, Nebraska 68124 (402) 391-3900

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