Mary Elizabeth (Steele) Taylor was born June 27, 1931, in Steele, Mo., to Robert C. and Juanita Overturf Steele, who preceded her in death. She leaves one sister, Anne Slate (Irv),of Edwardsville, Ill.
Mary wed Morris R. Taylor on May 30, 1948, and in 2010 celebrated 62 years of marriage, which produced four daughters; Jane Downs (Ronnie), Susan Taylor, Jo Snow (Danny) and Christy Wiggins (who preceded her mother in death). Mary also leaves behind five grandchildren, Stacy DePizzo, Greg Downs, Jennifer Jackson, Elizabeth Schalk and Clint Downs; and four great-grandchildren,Preston Downs, Taylor Downs, Chelsea Downs and Ella DePizzo, and a host of other relatives and friends.
A charter member of St. James United Methodist Church in Memphis, Tenn., Mary served as soloist in the choir, editor of the weekly newsletter and in other positions of leadership. She also served as treasurer and president of the Knight Road Elementary PTA in Memphis during the 1960s and was selected to the 1966 edition of Outstanding Young Women in America in recognition of her civic activities. Community theater was another area of interest, and she was active both in acting and in behind- the-scenes support in Mem-phis and Anniston, Ala. Before arthritis took its toll, Mary enjoyed outdoor activities including camping, backpacking and white-water rafting in areas as varied as Peru, Mexico and Utah. An avid reader, Mary passed down a lifetime love of literature and learning to her children. Mary's compassionate and open-minded nature, along with personal integrity and strength of character, were part of her legacy as well. Mary died on Aug. 11, 2010, in her home outside of Jemez Springs, N. M., in the beautiful high desert country she loved.
A memorial service will be held for her at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Maples Memorial Metho-dist Church in Olive Branch, Miss.