Martha Jeraldine Morris Tata went home to be with the Lord on November 26, 2017. She departed this life surrounded by the loving comfort of family and friends in her home on the Morris-Tata Farm in Stanardsville, VA. She was preceded in death by her only sibling Ollie Kendall Morris France and her parents John Ollie Morris and Edieth Kendall McMullen Morris.
She is survived by her husband Robert Tata and her three children, Robert, Anthony and Kendall; daughter-in-law Anne Ferrell Tata; and six grandchildren, Brooke Tata, Peyton Tata, Carter Tata, Zachary Tata, Riley Tata, and Robert Tata.
Jeraldine was born in a red brick house on Main Street, Stanardsville, VA on May 31, 1927 and grew up working in her father's mercantile store, EB Morris and Sons. She attended William Monroe School, Mary Washington College and Madison College, graduating with a degree in business education. She earned a Master’s in Business Education from Virginia Tech. While teaching at Albemarle High School she met Bob Tata, a former UVA athlete. They married and she taught and counseled in Norfolk at Granby, Norview and Maury High Schools and in Virginia Beach at Kempsville HS and Independence MS. Raising her family in Wards Corner and Kempsville, Jeraldine taught business for 20 years and was a guidance counselor for another 20. In 1980, she was responsible for the first-ever Kempsville HS class to have students earn over a million dollars in scholarships. She supported Bob’s successful high school football coaching career, attending his games with three young children in tow. She also helped Bob win 15 elections in the House of Delegate's by managing the campaigns and charming constituents and leaders throughout the state with her gracious style. Well respected in the Tidewater community, Jeraldine and Bob raised three children, who graduated from the United States Naval Academy, United States Military Academy, and James Madison University. Her greatest service was to the thousands of students she counseled and taught. After retirement, she was elected to the Virginia Beach School Board. Her dream was to return to her proud roots in Greene County. At 75 she built a house on her family farm and moved home to live with the selfless support of her daughter, Kendall. Passionate about protecting land, Jeraldine put her farm in a conservation easement in perpetuity. She enjoyed drinking a glass of wine on the back porch surrounded by family and friends sharing stories. She often spoke publically about the history of Greene County with groups such as the business department at William Monroe HS. She supported the art program and enjoyed entertaining the students at the farm. Throughout her life, Jeraldine’s passions were her family and her community. She always encouraged her children and others to make a difference, and she led by example as a role model to all. She was an avid bridge player, enjoyed traveling, and loved being with her grandchildren. Stylish and classy, her dry wit, one liners and great sense of humor always made for lively conversation. Her smile and graceful air brightened every room she walked into. For as much as we will miss her physical presence on earth, she has entered the Kingdom of God and is in his loving presence. Jeraldine was a Christian, a believer, and she is now home. Let her inspire each of us to be servants of Christ and walk in His path. May Jeraldine forever remain in our hearts.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to Grace Episcopal Church of Stanardsville, Greene County Rescue Squad or the Greene County Historical Society.
The family expresses its deep gratitude to Home Instead Senior Care and Martha Jefferson Hospital for providing Jeraldine professional and loving care.
Family will be receiving guests on Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6-8 pm at Ryan Funeral Home, 12819 Spotswood Trail, Ruckersville, VA 22968.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017at 1 pm at Grace Episcopal Church, 97 Main St., Stanardsville, VA, followed by a graveside service and burial held at Holly Memorial Gardens, Charlottesville, VA.
An online guestbook is available at www.ryanfuneral.com
Ryan Funeral Home of Ruckersville, VA is handling the arrangements.