Mountain View Funeral Home: Warren Glauner; Bonnie DeAnne Stakset.
Funeral Alternatives of Washington: Azella Taylor.
Azella Taylor passed away on December 13, 2018. She was 101 years old. She was born to Lemuel Taylor (L.K.) and Olga Taylor on April 5, 1917. L.K. was an American engineer working with Standard Oil in China. Olga’s family moved from Lake Baikal, fleeing the impending revolution in Russia. They were tea manufacturers. Azella was raised in Shanghai. At the age of 18 she left her family and came alone to California to attend college. She earned a degree in Drama and later toured Hawaii with a dear friend (Carola) putting on puppet shows for the children throughout the islands.
Shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor she had a feeling based on what she had seen during the war in China that she and her friend needed to return home. Grudgingly, Carola agreed to go home. Carola was angry at her as a few months passed without any news of problems in Hawaii. They had cancelled several shows and lost money to leave Hawaii. Needless to say, her anger passed when they heard the news of the attacks on Pearl Harbor over the radio.
During World War 2 she worked in the Women’s Land Army in California which was a nationwide group of women that planted and harvested crops because the men were involved in the war effort and not available to do the work. Later she worked at Yosemite National Park which was turned into a naval hospital during the war. There, she had the good fortune of meeting Ansel Adams. She found him delightful and had fond memories of spending time with him and his wife.
Later she pursued a degree in teaching. She taught grade school for several years before returning for her doctorate and moving on to teach remedial reading to teachers. She helped to pioneer distance education across the state of Washington. While working as a professor in Ellensburg, WA, she became a rockhound and thoroughly enjoyed hunting rocks in the desert.
After retirement she first spent much of her time caring for her mother after she moved into a nursing home. Later she pursued multiple hobbies. She was a talented watercolorist, Enamel artist, and woodcarver.
Above all, Azella has served as an example of maintaining a zest for life well into old age. She continued to travel into her late 80’s. She was very proud to have been awarded “best hiker” by her tour guide on a trip to Copper Canyon in Mexico. Even into her eighth decade she could tire out a person half her age with her energy. She was also often a warm, comforting sounding board for her close friends and family during difficult times. She was always willing to help restore a person’s confidence when it had fallen flat and to help us remember to carry on in the face of adversity. A talk over tea and cookies has soothed many a friend in need.
She is survived by her two nieces Sarah Harris of Myrtle Beach, SC and Demeris Moorehead of Geneva, Switzerland. She is also survived by several close and devoted friends and a close knit group of the students she taught in her grade school teaching days who have continued to stay in touch over the years.
Her memorial service will be held at Steilacoom Town Hall (1717 Lafayette St, Steilacoom, WA 98388) on 1/12/18 beginning at 1 pm. All are welcome. Please RSVP to Sarah Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org by 1/5/18 to facilitate arrangements if you plan to attend.
Azella was a charitable and giving person, she gave to many charities, among which was Doctors Without Borders and providing a yearly Scholarship through the Retired Women in Education (R.W.E.) to female students going into teaching. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Doctors without Borders (www.doctorswithoutborders.org) or to R.W.E (make checks out to Retired Women in Education and mail to: P.O. Box 88572. Steilacoom, WA 98388) in her honor.