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Viewing: 6.00 8:00 pm, John Thomas Funeral Home
lwarly, SfylM(r I, S99M
Service: 10:00 am, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral
Celebrant: The Most Rev. Elliott G. Thomas
Deacon: William Kenny
. Si g oDaS onish Cemetery at a later time
St. Thomas V.L
Gracella Martina Cecelia Mena Tay-
lor was called to her heavenly retreat
on Friday, August 26, 1994, following
a sudden cardiac arrest.
On November 11, 1909, Graciella
was born to Sarah Bufford and
Anselmo Mena on the island of S Tho-
mas, during the time that the U.S. Vir-
gin Islands were owned by Denmark.
She grew up and attended school in
St. Thomas; when she finished the eighth grade, she had completed the
highest level of education available in St. Thomas at that time. She went
on to nursing school at the Knud Hansen Hospital in preparation for a
career as a health care provider.
In the late 1920s, she moved to New York City, and in 1931 she married
Bernardo E. Taylor, also of St. Thomas. Together, the Taylors worked as
biochemical technicians at the New York University Dental School They
retired and moved back to St. Thomas in December 1977, to help care for
raciela was known as "Aunt Grace" to many of her relatives and
coworkers, who looked to her for help and counsel, and who admired her
wisdom and selfless spirit. Graciella was a gregarious person who be-
friended people of divergent interests and backgrounds. Her home was
never without visitors and extended family. She loved to travel and had
an adventurous nature, always finding joy in the beauty of new places.
She maintained a high level of energy to the end, having just returned
from a visit to her daughter, son, grand and great-grandchildren. She did
not complain of any suffering. She never wanted to burden any friends or
family. She was proud of her children, grandchildren and great-grand-
children. She often reminded her friends and family
of the joy she had regarding the accomplishments
of her family.
Graciella loved social dancing, parties and
dinners. She looked forward to watching the
Carnival festivities even when she and her hus-
band could no longer participae in me troop or reiateu a~uviue. Oin
believed that these represented the spirit and essence of our Virgin Is-
lands' heritage which she worked so hard to preserve in New York.
She was an avid reader who loved poetry, historical novels, fiction and
social/political commentary. Her personal library, which she gladly shared
with her family, reflected wide interests.
Graciella loved and kept animals all her life. Animals seemed to sense
that which was in her heart
She was involved in many clubs and organizations. Among them
were: The New York Professional League of Virgin Islanders (past chair-
person); Partners for Health; The Inner Wheel (past president); the North
Shore Club of the National Association of Negro Business and Profes-
sional Women's Clubs, Inc. (past president for eight years); Dorie Miller
Housing Cooperative, Corporation; and a supporter of the Friends of
Her concern for her family and loved ones never abated during her
later years. She patiently cared for Bernardo through his battle with
Parkinson's Disease, which ended on January 1, 1990, just as she had
cared for his mother some thirty years before. Refusing to become a
"burden" to others following the passing of her husband, she continued to
live alone at her house in Old Tutu. She kept a daily communication with
close friends and family in St Thomas and New York. She continued her
involvement with community activities.
Most people saw her as a trusting, cheerful person who would give
generously of her talent for good causes. Her late husband, her children,
grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews knew her to be
that and more. To them she was a model of good Christian living. She
was a beacon of light, strong enough to let them know when their actions
were up to her high standards, and gentle enough to clearly express her
support, her warmth, and her ample love in a frank manner.
She leaves behind a grateful and devoted family, the younger members
of which affectionately knew her as "Mother Dear." Those who celebrate
her life today include her daughter, Enid Lopes of Plainview, N.Y., and
her husband, Viater, her son, Robert of Cambria Heights, N.Y. and his
wife, Lynette; her seven grandchildren; her two great-grandchildren; her
Aunt Rose Echenagucia of Charlotte Amalie; and a host of relatives and
She was a fine lady. God must be proud to call her
o dfesjoy of4 /~0f'eaw- Ai
Enid Taylor Lopes
Robert A. Taylor
Crystal Lopes Holub, Celeste Lopes,
Damian, Deric, Durahn, Armia and Dien Taylor
Melanie and Donovan Holub
Lynette Smallwood Taylor
Julie Fromm Taylor
c&la rea r6-
Robert A. Taylor, Damian A. Taylor,
Rev. Deric A. Taylor, Durahn A.B. Taylor,
Dien A. Taylor, Mark Lindqvist, Elmore Simon
Alton D. Cobette, Phillip L. Comeiro, Pedro Garcia,
Aubrey Hansen, Austin Hansen, Donovan Holub,
Elexis Joseph, Viater Lopes, Dr. George A. Moorehead,
Rufus Norman, A. Thaddeus Smallwood,
Rufus Vanderpool, Randolph Wilhelmsen, W. Wallace Wilson
(pafer of service
PRELUDE: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring ..................... JS. Bach
Dien Taylor, Organ
BLESSING OF THE BODY AT THE DOOR OF THE CATHEDRAL
ENTRANCEHYMN .............................. Amazing Grace
#96 in Hymnal
GREETING AND OPENING PRAYER
FIRSTREADING .................................. Wisdom3:1-9
RESPONSORIAL PSALM ................................. Psalm 23
SECOND READING ..........................Romans 14:7-9,10-12
GOSPEL............................. The Most Rev. Elliott Thomas
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
OFFERTORY HYMN ............. Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above
SIGNOPPEACE ......................... ItIs Well With My Soul
#354 in Hymnal
COMMUNION HYMN ............................ Eat This Bread
Meditation: "Panis Angelicus" ...................... Czar rank
POST COMMUNION PRAYER
EULOGY .................................. The Rev. Deric Taylor
FINAL COMMENDATION AND FAREWELL
RECESSIONAL HYMN .................. My Faith Looks Up to Thee
I he Spirt of Grace
A soul that would give when it would not receive,
A mind that faced fear, but still dared to believe,
A spirit whose glory would shine through the smile on her face;
The glow of God's love would surround her,
For hers was the Spirit of Grace.
A heart that knew love, for it gave it so well,
A tongue that spread mirth through the jokes that she'd tell,
An ear that would listen when people found no other place,
A blessing to all those around her,
For hers was the Spirit of Grace.
And somehow it just wouldn't be quite her way
If we would admit,
or even permit,
The pain of our brief separation to make our hearts sad;
No, that's not the spirit she had.
If we would know joy of the kind that she shared,
If we would be ready, the way she prepared,
We must keep the faith, just as she did while running the race.
Be led by the Spirit that found her,
For hers was the Spirit of Grace.
-th Love from the Family
How do you say good-bye to a woman who exemplified devotion, self
sufficiency, independence, professionalism, and concern for others to every-
one who knew her? I find myself grasping for words to properly portray a
woman who did it all.
Graciella Taylor, Mother Dear to her grandchildren and great-grand
children was all of these things and more. From the time I can remember,
Mother Dear was deeply and unshakably devoted to her husband, Bernardo
Taylor, or Grandpa to me (1912 1990). Their relationship was the epitome
of "in sickness and in h6lth" ahd'"until death us do part". Growing up, I
learned from their sharing and caring relationship as much as from that of
my parents. I learned through observation, what a marriage should be and
how to attain and maintain this wonderful bond. No one here needs to be
reminded how Mother Dear, despite exhaustion, despair, and hardship
(Hurricane Hugo and his aftermath) stayed by her
Husband of more than fifty years caring for him
and praying that death and destruction pass them
But Graciella Taylor accomplished much in
her own right, and through her achievements
taught us all to settle for nothing but our best, and to not be limited by those
limitations placed upon us by others. A woman before her time, Mother
Dear, with no college training, held the highly respected professional posi-
tion of overseeing the chemistry lab at New York University Dental School.
She was respected by faculty and students. By her example, I came to know
and understand that no matter our peculiar differences, disadvantages, or
physical limitations, there is no goal which cannot be attained. Mother Dear
lived by her belief, and thereby taught through her actions, that anything
could be achieved as long as you wanted it hard enough to work for it. This
is a message she consciously or subconsciously passed down from one
generation to the next. I am proud to say that because of her example, I was
never allowed to find in my blindness an excuse for not reaching my
potential. This wasn't something to be debated, it was just a fact of life.
Mother Dear made the best of her life, becoming a professional female
before such things were socially accepted or vogue. Therefore, when I
announced I wanted to become a lawyer, it was met with the same matter-
of-fact acceptance as if I were a man, and I was taught to accept no less
respect or opportunity because of being a woman. I believe this attitude is
totally atypical for someone of Mother Dear's generation.
I cannot remember a time when Mother Dear was not involved in one or
more community projects. Her membership and devoted leadership in the
North Shore Business and Professional Women's organization was one of
her lifelong commitments. This organization helps younger women get the
quality education needed to become professional women. After retirement,
her involvement in community organizations also included such charities as
Mental Retardation, Association to Prevent Cruelty to Animals, and The
Rotary Club (Inner Wheel). Again, by example, Graciella Taylor taught us
to become involved and to help others, whether human or animal. Graciella
Taylor helped make this world a better place for all. Her sense of justice and
decency was communicated by her works, and there is a little of her left in
the many people who worked beside her.
So, how do you say good-bye to a woman who was leader, teacher, and
care-giver? I think the best thing to do is to say-
Thank you for being a part of my life, and remember, I have and will
always love you for who you are and what you have done. Go with my
love, and give Grandpa a hug for me. This is not good-bye, but until we
meet again. With all of my love,
Your #2 Grand Daughter, Celeste Lopes
August 29, 1994
The last time I saw my Great Grandmother, a brace-
let that she had had repaired was just returned to
her. As I helped her put it back on, she explained
how Papa had given her the bracelet over forty
five (45) years ago. Later that evening as she
packed to return home, I asked her if she still
missed Papa. She then told me about the dream she had where she would
talk to him as if he were still alive. Now that she is gone, I take comfort in
knowing that she is finally with Papa...and now they can dream together.
In Loving Memory, Melanie Holub
(Her Great Granddaughter)
Mother Dear was a woman with grace, dignity and pride. She loved
everyone and everything around her. She knew more than some of us will
ever know. She was blessed by the Lord to be able to watch her children,
grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. I looked up to her and
thank her for everything that she's done for me. I'll never forget her! I love
Love, Donovan Holub
It's difficult to speak of Mother Dear in the past tense. The dignity,
compassion and love that she displayed to all she encountered in her life has
left an impression in my mind that will live on in me forever. Mother Dear,
I feel honored and privileged to have been accepted by you into your family.
I will always remember and love you.
Graciella M. Taylor will always be my "Mother Dear". When I was
growing up, I looked forward to the times that I spent with her; these were
life experiences that deeply influenced my life and will stay with me always.
"Mother Dear" and I enjoyed a special bond...she always seemed to know
when something was not right in my world, and would always try to find a
way to let me know that everything would be okay. She always had time for
My grandmother was a multi-facted,'modem woman' who was ahead of
her time. At a time when it was not 'politically correct', my "Mother Dear
successfully enjoyed a career, family and friends...simultaneously. She
belonged to numerous clubs and organizations that were dedicated to edu-
cation and achievement for women, setting an example for me that I have
strived to live up to.
She touched so many of us, in so many ways. Although "Mother Dear" is
no longer with us, she will never be far from me. The memories will live on
forever within me.
Graciella M. Taylor, thank you for being my "Mother Dear".
Love Always, Crystal Holub
SAs a special friend of the family of Graciella, I
would like to make a few remarks. I have known
Graciella and her sister, Enid Baa, from the time
we were very young. We attended St. Peter and
Paul Church every Sunday morning at the 7:30
mass. I can now see the two girls and their mother, Sarah Baa, sitting in the
third pew from the back in the middle isle in the church. Their Mother,
Sarah, was a very devoted Catholic and made sure they were there. These
two girls have always been nice towards me. Down the years we remained
friends, not very close, but friends Many persons do not know that.
Arturo and I traveled to Estate Hope to Mrs. Baa and her daughter to
distribute communion. Miss Enid left and came to town after the death of
her mother; therefore, we continued togo to Miss Enid Baa in Estate Hope to
distribute Holy Communion. This is the house over the Department of
Education and we continued there.
Graciella continued to be friendly and there was always a happy word to
both of us. It was a shock when we heard of her passing, and I said "we will
have no more long chats by Grand Union", where Graciella and I often
talked many a day.
May the Lord bring peace to her soul.
Graciella Taylor was a wonderful woman.
I frist met Grace and her late husband Bernardo Taylor in New York in
1947 when I became a member of the Virgin Islands Professional League.
All of the members became and remained close friends throughout the
years. Her memory will forever be in ur hearts. Heartfelt condolences and
sympathy to the family and friends. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
Rufus A. Graham and family
Recollections .... Graciella Taylor left us Friday, August 26th, the same
day a schoolmaster, Rudolph Sebastien, was buried at sea off St. Croix. The
two made Virgin Islands interscholastic history as players on the first teams
that played against St. Croix on December 21, 1926. She played on the girls'
volleyball team. He was the catcher for the boys Diamond (now softball)
team. During her years in the New York City area, Grace was very active in
civic and cultural Virgin Islands organizations. Among them the Associa-
tion of VI Parochials, a club whose beneficiary was the new Catholic school
in St. Thomas. She was a founding member and later chairperson of The
Professional League of Virgin Islanders. This group, through its cultural
programs, kept the culture and folkways of the Islands alive in the metro-
politan New York area. Grace will always be remembered by her friends
and family. To them we extend our deepest sympathy. May she rest in
Rufus W. Vanderpool,
for the surviving members
of The Professional League
"t n on.y tetort'J vsavh,
would like to extend
special appreciation to
and Elmore Simon
for their love and support
which was unselfishly given
during this time of bereavement.