Shortly after I established this Web site, we learned of the death Ruth Taylor Mizelle Rahn.  I decided to place a notice with her photo on the home page in the "Announcements" section.  Realizing that the announcement would eventually be removed, I decided to establish this page to give that and future announcements a permanent location.  I will gladly accept submissions for memorials on this page. 

Extended Memorials Submitted by Families:

Jean Ward


Regular Memorials:

Zelda Fay Taylor died September 17, 2001 at her home in the Bruceville area of Dyer County, Tennessee.  She was sister to my cousin and closest fellow researcher, Pat Blalock.  Another sister, Dorothy Taylor Warren had died previously. She was born October 19, 1931 in Dyer County.  Although she had lived in Memphis, Tennessee, for most of her life, she had returned to the area of her birth and lived across the road from where she was raised.  She was the daughter of Robert and Vallie Taylor, the granddaughter of Thomas and Susie Taylor and the g-granddaughter of Robert and Mary Ann Taylor.




24 June 2002 - I was very saddened to hear this evening of the death of Fred Boatright, a Taylor researcher, cousin, and friend.  Fred died Tuesday, June 18, after years of poor health associated with kidney failure.  Fred lived most of his life in Arcadia, Florida, where his great grandparents had migrated from Lake City over 100 years ago.  He was retired after working many years as manager in the highway department.  He was the gg-grandson of Robert Taylor, the g-grandson of Mary Taylor Boatright, the grandson of Arthur Ozias Boatright, and the son of John Marion Boatright.  He is survived by his wife Sonja, daughters Jennifer and Karen, and grandchildren.

Born Erma Dea Nettles on January 10, 1921, she was the daughter of Trumie Taylor Nettles and Ike Nettles.  She was the granddaughter of Noah Taylor and his second wife Cordelia Cheek.  She lived most of her life in the Lake City area and was very active there.  She is survived by a son Mike and wife Terri and granddaughters Katherine Ann and Mary Elizabeth. Receiving of friends will be at Sherrill-Guerry Funeral Home 5-7 PM on Tuesday.  Funeral Services will be Wednesday at 4:30 at Pleasant Grove Methodist Church.

14 July 2003 - I'm sorry to report that Valera Holstein, widow of Sidney Otis Holstein, Jr. died Sunday July 13, 2003. Born Valera Bowers on March 23, 1914 in Saluda County, SC, she was a daughter of the late Albert Oscar and Ethel Taylor Bowers. She was a member of Ridge Spring Baptist Church and was a housewife. Surviving are daughters, Rebecca H. Hart of Hickory, NC, Robin H. Walker of Columbia, SC, Rachel H. Bradshaw of Chapin, SC; brother Truman S. Bowers of Leesville, SC; sisters Gladys Fulmer and Amorette Bowers of Leesville; sister-in-law, Valarie H. Tingle of Columbia; 6 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. Burial will be Wednesday, July 16, 2003 at Ridge Crest Memorial Park in Batesburg. Her heritage: (Ann-Jefferson-George Rufus-Ethel-Valera)

21 September 2003 - I just learned of the death of our cousin Fannie Graham Witt.  She died September 3, 2003 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was buried on September 7 in Lake City, Florida.  Born Fannie Graham on April 28, 1922 in Union County, Florida, she was the daughter of Alvarado Graham and Rettie Brooks Graham.  Children are Becky England and Jay Witt.  Her heritage:  Viney - Fannie - Alvarado - Fannie.

1 Aug 2004 - I'm very sad to report that our cousin, James Wilson Livingston died on July 13 after undergoing open heart surgery in Atlanta.  Wilson was born on May 6, 1935 in Newberry, SC.  He grew up in Moncks Corner, SC and graduated from Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC.  He lived most of his life in Gainesville, GA and retired as a bank Vice President there in 2000.  He was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, hunting, and gardening.  He is survived by his wife Betty, two daughters Jane Carpenter and Leigh Livingston, a sister Joan Holling, and three grandchildren.  His heritage: George-Nancy-Mattie-Smith-Wilson.

30 Mar 2005  - I received the sad news today of the death of Willette Taylor Connelly of Leesville, South Carolina on March 27.  Born Willette Taylor on June 4, 1905, in Saluda County, South Carolina, she was the daughter of the late John Wade Calhoun and Kitty Regina Hare Taylor.  She was the wife of the late Wilbur Fletcher Connelly.  She lived in the Pond Branch, South Carolina Community for sixty-three years and was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church.  She is survived by three daughters, three sons, twenty grandchildren, thirty-three great-grandchildren, and seven great-great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her daughter, Mary Olivia Bennis.  Burial was in the Whittenburg Lutheran Church Cemetery.  Her heritage: Ann-Jefferson-Calhoun-Willette

6 May 2005 - A major force in the Taylor Triangle has passed - I was extremely saddened to learn that Orville Taylor died last night at his home in Lake City, Florida.  Orville, along with Erma Millikin, and Van Dyke Taylor  were the three people who provided the first connection with the Florida branch of our Taylors.  When I was calling Taylors in Lake City trying to find a relative, Orville was the one with whom I first connected.  When we first visited Florida, he and Erma were the first ones we met.  It was he who pushed me to have the reunions and he kept pushing until I had them.  He was proud of his heritage and enthusiastic about documenting it and keeping relationships with cousins.  This is both a loss to the Taylor clan and a personal loss to me.


23 May 2005 - It really saddened me today to learn that Barney Hawkins died May 21.  He died suddenly of a heart attack at his home in Nashville, Tennessee.  He was born Lowell Barnell Hawkins in June of 1926 in Friendship, Tennessee.  His parents were the late Lowell and Sally Hawkins.  He was married to Ruth Ballinger.  He was also a Veteran of the Korean War and a Member of the Masonic order.  He was a very likable person and showed his enthusiasm for the family with attendance at many of the reunions.  He is survived by his wife, two sons, a brother and three grandchildren.  His heritage: Isabella-George-Fletcher-Lowell-Barney.

9 Dec 2005 - We are very sad to report the passing our cousin the Rev. Linus Breazeel Taylor of Batesburg, South Carolina on Wednesday, December 7.   Born in Newberry County, a son of the late Clarence Samuel and Ossie Lee Smith Taylor, he was the husband of the late Reba "Lila" Delilah Taylor. Mr. Taylor served in the U.S. Army as an M.P. in the Korean Conflict. He was a carpenter and a Minster. He was a member of the American Legion Post #65 and a member and pastor of Open Bible Baptist Church. Surviving are three daughters, Reba Taylor Durst of West Columbia, Becky Taylor Comalander of Lexington and Frankie Taylor Smith of Leesville, a son, Linus B. Taylor, Jr., of Lexington, nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a sister, Sara Crouch of Pelion. Mr. Taylor was preceded in death by a son, Wade C. Taylor of Gilbert, and a granddaughter, Stephanie Alicia Summers, of Gilbert.   His heritage:

28 May 2006 - I am saddened to report that our cousin Reba Sue Newby died Sunday, April 2, 2006, at a local hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Born Reba Sue Hawkins Sept.10, 1936, in Jonesboro, Ark, she was the daughter of Haskell Hawkins and Marguerite Stenger Hawkins. Survivors include her husband of 39 years, Jim Newby of Hot Springs; two sons, Keith Walsh of Pearcy, AR, Ken Walsh of Lonsdale; three daughters, Holly Fish and her husband Tom of New Castle, N.H., Lynda Postlewate and her husband Richard of Hot Springs, Anita Rodgers and her husband Greg of Dale, Texas. Other surviviors include eight grandchildren, Kristen Walsh, Jennifer Walsh, Kyle Walsh, Amber Walsh, Tammy Halcomb, Sarah Carter, Jessica Carter and Chad Allison. Other survivors include four great-grandchildren.  Her heritage: Isabella-George-Curry-Haskell-Reba.

17 Jun 2006 - I'm very sad to announce that Jean Ward has passed on.  Jean died June 15th at the Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida after complications from shoulder replacement surgery.  She had been in the hospital for about a month.  Visitation is Sunday from 4-6 pm at the Gateway-Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Lake City, Florida.  The funeral is Monday at 11pm in Williston, Florida at Orange Hills Cemetery. She was born Lois Jean Plummer on December 8, 1929 in Williston, Florida.  She was married for 56 years to Rufus Broward Ward and they resided in Lake City, Florida.  She is survived by Rufus, two daughters Kay England and Joni Malphrus, and six grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her son Rufus Broward Ward Junior.  Her husband Rufus' heritage: Noah-Rufus-Verlie-Rufus.  An extended memorial has been prepared by her husband Rufus.

9 July 2006 - I'm very sad to announce that Ruth Hawkins has died.  Ruth died on July 3, 2006 in Cabool, Missouri. Born Ruth Ballinger in Parsons, Tennesse on September 5, 1927,  her early life was spent in Atwood, Tennessee.  She later married Lowell Barnell (Barney) Hawkins and raised two sons in Donelson, Tennessee.  Ruth was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother as well as a devoted church teacher for many years at the First Baptist Church of Donelson,Tennessee.  She was committed to Christian ministry throughout her life.  Her husband Barney preceded her in death in 2005.  Ruth is survived by one sister, two sons, three grandchildren and a great-grandson. Ruth attended several of the Taylor Triangle Reunions and she will be truly missed.  Her husband Barney's heritage: Isabella-George-Fletcher-Lowell-Barney

9 July 2006 - I was very sad to learn from Tim Connelly of the death of Eldred Connelly.  Eldred, 92, died June 3, 2006. He was born on May 27, 1914 in Prosperity, South Carolina.  He was a son of the late Tiller and Belle Bedenbaugh Connelly. Mr. Connelly was an World War II Army veteran and retired from Kendall Company-Oakland Plant. He was a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church where he was a member of the Adult Sunday School Class.  Surviving are his wife of 64 years, Bernice Hawkins Connelly; a son, Keith E. Connelly of Newberry and a granddaughter, Rachel Connelly. He was predeceased by brothers, James Connelly and Carol Connelly and sisters, Juanita Kibler and Eula Mae Rise.  His wife's heritage: Ann-Jefferson-Noah-Artie-Mertie-Bernice.

16 Oct 2006 - Memorial to Jean - In August, shortly after Jean Ward died, her husband Rufus sent me the text of a tribute or a memorial to her.  It is a very touching account of their life together.  I have placed it as a separate page and linked it to the Memorials page.  Click here to read the tribute.

1 Nov 2006 - I was sad to receive word from Robert Taylor yesterday of the passing of our cousin John  T. Harrison.  John, 94, of Sebring, Florida died Monday, October 30, 2006 in Sebring, Florida. Born in Pendergrass, Jackson County, Ga., he moved to Sebring in 1936. he had been a Florida resident since age 12. He retired from Joe Stiles Sr. Standard Oil Distributorship after 25 years. He was a member of Sebring Historical Society and First Baptist Church. Survivors include his wife of 79 years, Ellen (Taylor); sons, Jerry W. of Tallahassee and John S. of Bartow; brother, mark of lake City, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.  His heritage: James-Otis-Ellen(wife of John)

27 Jan 2007 - Timothy Connelly informed me of the sad passing of our cousin Fred Lester, 86, of Newberry, South Carolina, on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2007.   Fred was born Nov. 27, 1920, in Newberry, a son of the late Allen Hawkins and Pauline Nichols Lester. He was an Army veteran of WWII. He was a graduate of Newberry College and of the University of South Carolina where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was a professor at Newberry College for 35 years.  Fred is survived by his wife, Frances Wise Lester of Newberry; a sister, Joyce L. Johnson of LaGrange, Ga.; and a number of special nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by two sisters, Thelma Dominick and Bonnie Culclasure; and three brothers, Vernon Lester, Willie Frank Lester and Jimmie Lester.  His heritage: Ann-Jefferson-Euphamia-Malissa-Pauline-Fred

7 March 2007 - I was especially saddened to learn of the passing of Jere Blalock.  He died yesterday after a long illness.  His loss is particularly significant since he is the husband of Pat Blalock who was key to the research that led to connecting the three Taylor groups.  Without her help none of this would be here.  Jere and Pat were close friends to me as well as cousins. 

Jere Malone Blalock was born October 19, 1935 in Finley in Dyer County, Tennessee to Paul and Willie Blalock.  He married Patricia Anne Taylor on the first of August 1953.  They have resided in the Dyersburg area since that time.  Jere and Pat had six children, one of which is deceased.  He is survived by the children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   He is at Dyersburg Funeral Home in Dyersburg, TN.  The visitation is Thursday, March 8 from 5pm-8pm. Funeral is Friday, March 9, at 1pm at the Funeral home.

Jere was a person who was perpetually cheerful and friendly.  He was the sort of person who made you feel good to be around.  His wife Pat's heritage: Robert-Thomas-Rob-Pat.

26 March 2007 - I was very sorry to hear this weekend that Harry Wilson Hay had died.  Harry died March 18, 2007 after a lengthy illness.  Harry was born July 4, 1916 to Everett Ernest and Era Hassell Hay.  He married Demetra Taylor on October 17 1936 and together they had four children: Demetra Helen Hay, Harry Wilson Hay Junior, Susan Marie Hay, and Phillip Murray Hay.  He lived and raised his family in the Hawkinsville area near Friendship, Tennessee.  He worked as a farmer and carpenter and was retired.  His wife's heritage: Isreal-Austin-Fred-Demetra.

8 May 2007 - It is sad to report the passing of my sister-in-law, Peggy Taylor.  Peggy died in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, after a long battle with cancer.  Peggy was born April 17, 1937, in Dyersburg, Tenn., the daughter of Bob and Thelma (McFarland) Miller. She graduated from Dyersburg High School then went to work as a secretary.  In 1960, she moved to Fort Walton Beach and worked as an administrative assistant for 35 years at Fort Walton Beach City Hall until her retirement. Peggy was a member of Fort Walton Beach Church of Christ. She is survived by her daughter, Heather Dostart of Fort Walton Beach; grandson, Justin Dostart of Fort Walton Beach; brother, Jimmy Miller and wife, Norma, of Buford, Ga.  Her daughter Heather's heritage: Robert-Thomas-Owen-Gaylon-Heather.

19 Jun 2007 - An era has passed.  Noah Van Dyke Taylor died near his home in Alachua, Florida on Sunday, June 17.  He was the last of the siblings and cousins that I first met when establishing contact with the Florida branch of the family.  He is probably also the last of the great-grandchildren of William W. Taylor. 

Van Dyke, his brothers Orville and Russell and their cousin Erma Millikin were my main connection to the Florida Clan.  They introduced me to others in Florida and their families helped arranged the reunions.  We had visits in multiple locations in three states.  All were dear to me.  Van Dyke was a skeptic when we first came as cousins from Tennessee, but he became a huge supporter.

Noah Van Dyke Taylor was born on March 27, 1928 in Florida.  He lived most of his life in the Lake City - Alachua area.  He was the son of Russell and Atlanta Taylor and the grandson of Noah and Cordelia Taylor.  He is survived by his wife Mary Langford Taylor, his daughter Marianne Hall, and granddaughter Christina Hall.  His heritage: Noah-Russell-Van Dyke.


19 June 2007 - I was sorry to hear from Robert Taylor that our cousin, Gene Foster of Sebring, FL has died.  Gene died June 15, 2007, in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Lawrence Eugene Foster Jr., was born November 16, 1929 in Sebring, Florida to Lawrence and Minnie Taylor Foster.  He was the grandchild of Otis and Belle Taylor.  He was a veteran of the Korean conflict, serving with the U.S. Navy, and was a retired building inspector for Highlands County.  He was a member of V.F.W. and First Baptist Church. He is survived by his son, Larry Foster and daughter, Alice Gill; father, D.W. Smith all of Sebring; three grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. His heritage: James-Otis-Minnie-Gene.


Demetra Hay about 196014 Oct 2007 -  I just received word from Pam Williams that Demetra Hay has died.  Demetra was a very special lady and was my initial contact with the Israel branch of the family.  She loved the family and the family history.  I got copies of some rare documents from her, including the letter to Israel's widow telling the circumstances of his death.

She was born Demetra Pearl Taylor on September 28, 1915.  Her parents were Fred and Tennie Taylor.  She was born near Friendship, Tennessee and spent her life there.  She was married to Harry Wilson Hay on October 17, 1936.  They had four children and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  She was preceded by her husband in death earlier this year.  Photos show here in 1960 and she and husband Harry Wilson Hay in 2001.  More information later.  Her heritage: Israel-Austin-Fred-Demetra. She will be missed


22 Dec 2007 - It was sad to find out that Jim Ward died in Lake City, Florida last September 29.  He had been battling lung cancer for some time.  Jim was a cheerful, jovial person and regularly attended our reunions.  He was the brother of Rufus Ward, who has been a supporter of our family history and reunions since we first made contact with the Florida clan.  He was born James Leslie Ward on March 31, 1931 in Lake Butler, FL.  Parents were Clinton Broward and Verlie Ella Ward.  He had four children: Faye Lynn, Leslie Gayle, James Leslie Jr., and Amy Marie.  He had lived and worked outside Florida for some time and returned to Florida during retirement.  His heritage: Noah-Rubin Rufus-Verlie Ella-James

2 February 2008Mariam Fulton just informed me of the death of Katharine Blair GiordanoI am very sorry to hear.  Born Katherine Blair in Newberry, SC, August 15, 1915, she grew up in Columbia, SC.  She was a daughter of Efale Buzhardt Blair and William Preston Blair.  She was predeceased by her sister, Nancy C. Blair of Columbia and her husband, Joseph John Giordano of New York City and Columbia.  A 1936 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Education, she also earned a Master's in Library Science from Columbia University.  She spent her professional life in New York City where she first worked on Wall Street, then spent more than twenty years as chief librarian, International Division of Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey and completed her professional work with Bear Stearns Brokerage Firm as librarian.  Her heritage: George-Nancy-William Preston-Katherine.


8 April 08 - I learned this week that a dear cousin Susan Byrd had died on Christmas Eve in 2007 in Miami, Florida.  Her daughter sent me an announcement.  She was born Susan Whitcroft-Lee to Alfred and Susan Whitcroft-Lee on December 30, 1913 in New York City.  She led a very interesting life.  She was raised on the Rockefeller estate in upstate New York where she grew up with the children.  In 1936 she married R. W. Byrd and moved to Miami Springs, Florida.  R. W. was a hard hat diver in the area.  She is survived by daughter Barbara Byrd and son Gary Byrd, four grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.  Her heritage: Robert-James-Rosa-R. W. (spouse)


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