Mary Jacqueline Taylor of Tampa, Florida, known to all her friends as Jackie, was one of the kindest souls to have ever touched down on the earth and graced us with her presence. Jackie left us in her physical form on Monday,April 29th just days before the 77th anniversary of her birth but she remains with us in her spirit, love, and wisdom.
Mary Jacqueline Taylor (Born Turner) was born in Mobile, Alabama, May 11, 1942. Jackie is survived by her loving daughter Laura Taylor and son-in-law Drew Farmer, her son Brian Taylor and daughter-in-law Ann-Eliza Musoke Taylor, her brother the Reverend Doctor Clay “Butch” Turner and sister-in-law Jane Turner, her loyal dog Bentley and numerous, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, grand-nephews and countless friends who will miss her presence in ways that cannot be measured but will certainly be felt deeply.
Jackie was the mother of Laura and Brian but she was also the surrogate mother and emotional advisor to so many friends, family members and even strangers. Among other talents, Jackie had a way of effortlessly coaxing a lifetime of stories both painful and joyous from virtually anyone she talked to. In her nearly 33 years working for the Hillsborough County School Board, Jackie became known for being the voice that could calm down even the most difficult or agitated individuals and in many occasions probably saved some lives due to her empathy and willingness to listen to what people could not find the means to express to anyone else. Jackie was and remains to be a singular individual who was simultaneously famously selfless in her actions towards others and also celebrated for her dynamic and instantly endearing personality.
Jackie’s kindness and empathy are traits that grew out of an upbringing by the kindest people who have ever walked the planet, her parents Mary Louise and Henry Clay Turner. These are also traits that were passed on to her brother Butch and have been passed on to subsequent generations but also shared in her family and friends, the people who love Jackie the most. If you love Jackie, it is because you also have these qualities. If you have been touched by Jackie’s presence it is because you have recognized these qualities in her. Empathy and kindness ALWAYS took precedent over any sense of self-interest when it came to Jackie’s interactions with the people in her life. Even at the very end of her life we had to explain to her care givers that being a burden to others was her greatest fear and her greatest desire was ensuring the well-being of those around her.
Until her final moments Jackie exuded qualities of beauty that were undeniable to those who knew her as well as those who were just meeting her in the last days and hours of her life. At St. Joseph’s Hospital she had the great fortune to have a caregiver assigned to her named Jean who was a kind and empathetic soul. One Morning when entering her room to check on Jackie when she was feeling a bit better than the night before, Jean said to her “Oh, you are twice as beautiful today!” That is what she exuded. This quality of inner and outer beauty was recognized by virtually everyone she ever met andespecially by those close to her. Her inner beauty was intuited by her faithful pet dogs Bentley, Henry, and Max, and her outer beauty was recognized by almost everyoneelse. Jackie’s niece Julia Owens once said of her “When Iwas a child, I thought she was the most beautiful woman I ever met and I wanted to be just like her”. Many others have felt the same way.
Jackie was a passionate supporter of her children and their many creative endeavors, as well as a supporter of her community. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to WMNF Community Radio or the Gobioff Foundation in support of the Arts.
A celebration of life will be held on May 11, 2019. Those interested in attending may contact the family for details.