|Bernice Lee Taylor was one who had a love affair with life beginning with happy experiences of childhood in a large family and ending with a serene and triumphant pas-sage through the narrow gate of death sustained and comforted by those who loved her most.
She was born in Graford, Texas, June 20, 1901 and died October 31, 1980 in Dallas, Texas where she and her husband lived after moving from their retirement home in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1976. After graduating from Texas Women’s University, she met and married Bryon Clement Taylor on September 2, 1925. She is survived by two children, Robert Charles Taylor and Le Ann Taylor Harris of Dallas, and several grandchildren. Private funeral services were conducted by Rev. James Garrett, pastor of the University Park United Methodist Church where she was a member, and Dr. Barry Bailey, pastor of the First United Methodist Church, Ft. Worth, Texas.
Life demands of each of us a variety of roles that often inhibit the expression of our true and individual selfhood. For over 40 years the life of Bernice Taylor was intertwined with her husband in his chosen career as a Methodist minister, District Superintendent, and Vice President of Centenary College.
She performed her role as a minister’s wife very well indeed. Her innate love for people and her desire to serve brought many groups into the parsonage home where she presided with grace and charm. But in and through these various roles she maintained the integrity of her own selfhood using her talents as she related herself to the many cultural and service opportunities in the various communities where the Methodist itinerancy placed them including Homer, Alexandria, New Orleans, and Shreveport.
In her early married life she chose carefully her own life priorities. The parsonage was first of all her home where the needs and interests of her family received special atten-tion. Like Suzannah Wesley, she found ample time for the nurture and guidance of her children and with her husband she provided every opportunity for the expression and ful-fillment of their own lives. Even now they attest to the quality of their home life which she provided, greatly enriched as she found more time to be with her children and grandchil-dren, and during the growing severity of her last illness, they surrounded her with a cush-ion of love and devotion.
Bernice Taylor found time for the cultivation of her mind and spirit in a wide range of reading, study, and meditation. One manifestation of this interest was her leadership in organizing a book study club in Shreveport while her husband was Vice President of Cen-tenary College. She was always an active leader in the district and conference affairs of Methodist women and even after retirement she maintained an avid interest in the work of the Louisiana Conference.
Somewhere in a Dallas cemetery, there is a green mound and a stone marking the end of the earthly journey of Bernice Lee Taylor, one of God’s children, but in the minds and hearts of a great host of people, there are greener memories of her life and influence.
Let her requiem be the lovely words of Von Schlegel and the music of Sibelius:
Be still my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1981, p. 185 By Bentley Sloane|