Edna S. Taylor was a remarkable woman. Like so many others, whose names appear in the STAR obituaries, she lived a simple life, but she used her time and resources to serve others.
Mrs. Taylor, who died last week at the age of 92, was my second grade teacher. She helped build that foundation for learning in my later years. I very well remember her soft-spoken voice, her kindness and the desire to see her students achieve.
It was when I was in her class that a part of Valley Forge School burned — our classroom and three others along with the school gymnasium. Mrs. Taylor’s class and the two first grade classes finished the school year in make-shift classrooms set up at the Doe River Baptist Church.
When spring came that year, she would take us outside for recess, and we would play games in the church yard. Sometimes we would bring a bag lunch and instead of going back to the school for lunch, we would have a picnic in the church yard.
During that school year, we went for a polio shot. After we arrived back at the church, she treated each of her students to an ice cream.
Mrs. Taylor seldom raised her voice. It took something really bad to raise her ire or cause her to call a student down.
I recall our reading classes. Sometimes we would sit in small groups, other times she would call us individually to her desk, where we would stand and read our lesson. Mrs. Taylor challenged us to read by providing us with additional books above our reading level and on subjects she knew we enjoyed reading about.
Mrs. Taylor was a strong woman in many ways. Her husband, Rev. Bill Taylor, was diagnosed with a brain tumor when their children were very young. She not only taught school, but took care of her family and was her husband’s principal caregiver.
Rev. James Lindsay, who served as her pastor for several years, noted her spiritual strength and her giving spirit. “It was remarkable how well she cared for her family, especially her husband. She was a very tender, kind person,” he said.
A member of Immanuel Baptist Church, Mrs. Taylor was active in many ministries of the church, especially the Women’s Missionary Union, of which she was a former president. She taught an adult Bible study group and reorganized the church library. Rev. Lindsay recalled that during his ministry at Immanuel, the church did a Sunday morning Bible class at Hermitage and Hillview Nursing Homes. “She was very active in this ministry and each Sunday morning would go to one of the nursing homes and conduct a Bible study,” he noted.
In addition to her church work, Mrs. Taylor was a member of the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center, and for 21 years delivered Meals on Wheels, and as a result became friends with many homebound seniors who looked forward to the days when she delivered their meals and took time to share a few minutes of her time with them.
She not only touched the lives of school children, but many of her peers.
She was truly a servant of the Master, and because of her ministry and the example she set, our community has been blessed by her living among us.