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ACU Remembers: Dr. Marianna Yarbrough Rasco

Longtime Abilene Christian University professor Dr. Marianna Yarbrough Rasco (’53) died March 10, 2023, in Abilene, Texas, at age 93.

 A memorial service will be held at University Church of Christ (733 E.N. 16th St., Abilene, Texas 79601) on Wednesday, March 15, at 2 p.m., with burial afterward at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Abilene. Visitation with the family will be at 1 p.m. prior to the service, in the church’s Ministry Activity Center.

 Marianna was born Aug. 2, 1929, in Alexander, Texas, and graduated from R.L. Paschal High School in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1946. She earned an A.A. degree from Tarleton State University (1946), a B.S. degree in home economics from Abilene Christian University (1953), a M.Ed. degree from ACU (1955), and a Ph.D. in home economics from Texas Tech University (1982).

 Before teaching in college, she was a radiologic technologist and lab technician for W.J. Cook Memorial Hospital and Beall Clinic (1948-52). She was also a first-grade teacher in the Abilene ISD (1953-56).

 She married Kenneth H. Rasco (’48) on Jan. 1, 1954, in Fort Worth. He was a World War II war hero in the Army Air Corps who became the longest-tenured registrar in ACU history.

 Marianna joined the ACU faculty in 1965 as a part-time instructor, and became assistant professor in 1979, associate professor in 1982 and professor in 1989. She was named chair of the Department of Home Economics and Family Studies in 1987, the same year she received charter status as a Certified Home Economist by the American Home Economics Association, and the highest public education award from the American Cancer Society. In 1996 she received a distinguished alumni award from the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University.

 A Certified Family Life Educator, she received the Outstanding Teacher Award from ACU’s College of Professional Studies in 1989. Rasco chaired Abilene Christian’s Faculty Senate (1986-87) and served on numerous committees, councils and strategic task forces. She was executive director of the Child Development Center, and academic advisor for undergraduate human development, family studies and child development majors, and the graduate program in marriage and family studies.

 Rasco retired in 2003 as professor and chair emerita of family and consumer sciences, capping a teaching career at ACU that spanned 38 years. Later, she chaired the Women for Abilene Christian University museum board.

 An active volunteer in the community, Rasco chaired the Abilene ISD’s Advisory Council, and served on its task force for “at risk” students, its Textbook Selection Committee and various other organizations. She was a member of the Abilene Coordinating Council and received an Outstanding Achievement Award for Meritorious Service from the Taylor County Extension 4-H.

 At their retirement, Ken and Marianna’s combined service to their alma mater totaled 77 years. They also were longtime members of University Church of Christ.

 She was preceded in death by her parents, Riley E. and Izetta Tidwell Yarbrough; Ken, her husband of 60 years; and sisters Betty Lindsey and Sarah Beth Yarbrough (’62).

 Among survivors are a daughter, Amy Rasco Coffey, M.D. (’79), and her husband, Allen Coffey, M.D., of Valley View, Texas; a son, Kern Rasco (’79) and his wife, Christie (Calhoun ’77), of Abilene; five grandchildren – Jeffrey Rasco (’05) and his wife, Morgan (Lindsay ’07); Jennifer (Rasco ’09) Hoskins and her husband, Garrett (’05); Jason Rasco (’12) and his wife, Kerry (Ash ’15); Jesse Allen Coffey III and his wife, Karly; Luke Coffey; Tatiana Hook and her husband, Ty; eight great-grandchildren; and a brother, Charles R. Yarbrough (’66) and his wife, Phyllis.

 Memorials may be made to the Marianna and Ken Rasco Endowed Scholarship at ACU (Gift Records, ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699-9132,

— Robin Saylor

March 14, 2023

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