HometownMcLennan County


Family and friends remember La Vega High School teacher

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Posted at 10:32 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 23:32:06-04

WACO, Texas — Friday night is a big night for La Vega High School — it's homecoming and they're hosting Lorena High School.

All eyes will be on a pre-game tribute show where family and friends will remember Bill Taverner, a La Vega High School teacher who passed away suddenly at the age of 52.

Bill Taverner touched many lives during his four year tenure at La Vega High School.

One of Taverner's students, Justin Pryor, remembers walking into his classroom for his sophomore year.

"He was so fun and inviting and asked me how I was doing," Pryor said.

"He impacted me to the be better version of myself — to improve my health mentally and physically."

Taverner changed the audio production program at La Vega High, but his students were his pride and joy.

"He loved kids even when he was tired, and he always had more to give," said teacher at La Vega High, Mari Keller.

"He measured his success on the success of students."

Bill's bright light burned out far too early in May, when he was training for his third Spartan Race with his daughter — his widow remembers the phone call.

"He fell to the ground, told me 'He's not breathing' — I told her to holler for help," said Bill's widow, Donielle Taverner.

"His arteries were clogged — they call it the widow maker. He had no signs or pain. He had just lost 200 pounds so he felt better than he ever felt."

It's taken the family some time to come to terms with what happened, and Friday night, they are ready to honor him on the football field.

Bill's twins are juniors and Lorena, and his son is a varsity football player.

His former audio production students put together a tribute video to his favorite songs, and they've made red and blue t-shirts that say "Better Together #LiveLikeBill".

"He would be honored that people are taking the time to think of him," Donielle Taverner said.

His step-son, who calls Bill his dad, says he can't wait to see everyone wearing the shirts.

"My dad meant the most to me," said Bill's son, Ryan Weaver.

"He was always there to comfort me, and he did that for his students."

There is a fundraiser for the family that can be found here.