Helen Kathryn (Kay) Staheli Caskey
After a life of love and sharing happiness with others, Kay Caskey peacefully passed away August 2, 2023, in Reno, Nevada. Helen Kathryn (Kay) Staheli was born on November 12, 1932, in Salt Lake City, Utah to Delsa Tolhurst Staheli and Franklin Byron (By) Staheli.
As the first of four girls, she was raised in Payson, Utah, and attended Peteetneet Elementary, Payson Junior High, and graduated from Payson High School in 1951. She also graduated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Seminary. Following high school, Kay attended the University of Utah and later Utah State University, graduating in 1958 with a degree in Home Economics.
Learning from an early age that the world was open to anyone who put their mind to it, in sixth grade Kay started working for her dad at By’s Café located on Payson’s Main Street. A quick study, her first restaurant experiences included peeling potatoes and standing on a stool washing dishes. Soon after that, she started waiting tables and developed a “love” for the restaurant business. She would fondly recall her first tip – $0.25 cents. For the next several years, she worked in each restaurant her parents owned – Payson, Salt Lake City, Tooele and Provo, Utah. With her gentle laugh, she would often share with her friends that she didn’t think her dad ever knew how many eggs it took for her to learn how to flip them “over easy.”
After college, adventure beckoned and with her good friend Nadine, Kay traveled the Alaskan Highway (unpaved at the time) to her first job in Haines, Alaska, teaching home economics, physical education, and English. She taught for three years in Haines and one year in Palmer, Alaska.
On August 4, 1962, in her hometown of Payson, Utah, she married Floyd Caskey, a fellow student she met during college. They moved to Manhattan, Kansas, to attend Kansas State University before settling in Reno, Nevada, working for the Washoe County School District. Never one to sit still for long in those days, Kay and Floyd left Reno for one year to work as educators in Hoonah, Alaska. Returning to Reno, Kay was employed at Manogue Catholic High School teaching there for sixteen years, during which she enjoyed many good friendships. In 1982, she was hired by Washoe County Schools to teach middle school English until her retirement in 2007. During those years, Kay and Floyd also ran a successful Reno Fun Coupon Book business. They built a vacation home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where they often flew with Floyd piloting the plane. Floyd predeceased her in 1991.
Throughout her life, Kay pursued her love for travel, adventure, and sharing the world with others. An engaged tour leader, she chaperoned student and adult groups to Europe, including taking her mother and dad in 1971, two nephews and one niece and, one year, her three sisters and two brothers-in-law – a hilarious trip that still lives in the annals of family history. She also traveled to Hong Kong, China, South America, and Australia.
In her spare time, Kay enjoyed many hobbies including cooking, crocheting, reading, going to garage sales, and playing cards with friends. She also enjoyed many good meals at the local casinos – especially the crab and shrimp. Although retired from teaching full time, the call to educate others was in her blood and she frequently kept busy as a substitute teacher, as well as working part time on the weekends at her favorite restaurant, Johnny’s Italian Restaurant. Her beautiful home was filled with the treasures of her garage sale adventures and the exceptional antiques she collected over many years.
While gone from this life, Kay will be dearly remembered by her many friends, students, fellow teachers, and travel companions, who were touched by her kindness, sense of adventure, and love of the world as she fully embraced life and those who lived it with her. She is preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Ann S. Bush. She is survived by her sisters Bee Staheli and Sue Wilson, her nephews Kirk Lippold, Legion Wilson, and Levi Wilson, as well as nieces Teri Ann Oursler, Kelly Hunter, and Kathi Mata.