Karen S. Taylor
COLUMBIA — Teaching was a natural gift for Karen S. Taylor.
“All people are born with gifts, and hers was dealing with and communicating with children,” said Jill Varns, Mrs. Taylor's daughter. “She was a teacher in every sense and was especially gifted with young children.”
Mrs. Taylor died Monday, May 2, 2011. She was 71.
She was born March 11, 1940, to Henry and Mary Ellen (Wallace) Biggs. She married her high school sweetheart, Stan Taylor.
“It's funny; we're a family of teachers,” Varns said.
Mrs. Taylor's mother and three younger sisters are or were teachers, and Varns suspects caring for her sisters was part of her training for later on.
Mrs. Taylor taught kindergartners and second-graders at West Boulevard and Rock Bridge elementary schools for 30 years before retiring in 1999. She was also an active member of Columbia's Philanthropic Educational Organization, the Columbia Mother Singers and the Hy-Vee Breakfast Club.
She taught her children to be giving, family-focused and optimistic in all the challenges they faced. She also instilled in her family that playing was just as important as working and to laugh rather than complain.
Varns said one of her mother's best traits was her optimism, an attribute that rubbed off on those around her.
“You really felt she taught a lot of life lessons to us and her children about being optimistic,” Varns said. “She was eternally optimistic.”
Mrs. Taylor is survived by her husband, Stan Taylor; a son, Mark Taylor; two daughters, Teri Elder and Jill Varns; a sister, Vicki; and six grandchildren, Chelsea, Ryan, Alyssa, Jake, Jason and Truman.
Two of her sisters died earlier.
Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Missouri United Methodist Church, 224 S. Ninth St., and services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the church. Burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery, 1217 Business Loop 70 W.
Memorials may be given to the Columbia Public Schools Foundation, P.O. Box 1234 Columbia, MO 65205, or the Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital Auxiliary, 1 Hospital Drive, DC066.00, Columbia, MO 65212.