Judith Keller Taylor, 81, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, at the Charter House in Rochester.
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She was born Judith Ann Lindstrom in Champaign, Ill., on Sept. 15, 1932. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 1953. During her college years, Mrs. Taylor was president of the Illinois Christian Youth Council and volunteered for the national United Christian Youth Movement. Mrs. Taylor went on to earn a joint master's degree in Christian education from Northwestern University and Garrett Theological Seminary in 1957. She married her first husband, Ralph A. Keller, in 1954 while they were both at Garrett, and later assisted him in his Methodist ministries in Hartford and Mt. Horeb, Wis., from 1957 to 1968. They raised two daughters together but were later divorced.
Mrs. Taylor earned a master's degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and began her library career as education librarian for the University of Wisconsin-Extension Division. Later she served as outreach librarian at the Santa Ana, Calif. Public Library. She came to Rochester in 1971 as head of the extension division of Rochester Public Library. She became director of the library in 1981 and retired from that position in 1997. Mrs. Taylor's proudest achievement at RPL was the planning and completion of the new library building during her tenure as director. The auditorium at RPL is named in her honor.
Mrs. Taylor married Dr. William F. Taylor, a Mayo Clinic biostatistician, in 1981. They loved the forested lot and pool area of the home they bought in northeast Rochester, nicknaming it "Camp Taylor," where their children and grandchildren enjoyed many family visits and holidays.
Mrs. Taylor was very active in the Rochester community: she served on several committees at Christ United Methodist Church, as president of the Zumbro Valley Mental Health Center Board, as a co-founder of the Information and Volunteer Center and later of The Volunteer Connection, and as a member of the Rotary Board of Directors. A member of the Chamber of Commerce, she received that group's Athena Award in 1996. She was a member of the Minnesota Library Association and the American Library Association. After retirement she served on the Olmsted County Social Services Advisory Board and the board of NAMI-Olmsted County, was a CommunityNet "community connector" volunteer, and served on the board of LIFE (Learning is Forever).
Mrs. Taylor particularly treasured time with her children and grandchildren and had a deep appreciation for the value of friendship. She enjoyed music and drama, and loved to sing at home, in choir, and often in the library as well! She also enjoyed reading, dancing, and traveling the world with her husband. During retirement, she managed to fly in a glider, sail in a hot air balloon, ride an elephant in India, visit the Pyramids and the Great Wall, view whales in Alaska, cross the Panama Canal, visit polar bears north of Norway, and travel to many other adventures. She particularly enjoyed several visits to Sweden and Norway, countries from which her ancestors emigrated. She was proud to be a Swede!
Mrs. Taylor was predeceased by her husband in 2008.
She is survived by her daughters, Laura Keller (Greg Gum) of Pleasanton, Calif., and Martha McBurney (Steve) of Bourbonnais, Ill.; by her stepchildren, Bonnie Liles (Bob) of Berkeley, Calif., Bruce Taylor (Ina Kau) of Claremont, Calif., and Christine Taylor-Rodgers of Richfield; by 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and by two brothers, David Lindstrom (Judy Drescher) of Memphis, Tenn. and Daniel Lindstrom of Urbana, Ill.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, at 1 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church (400 5th Avenue S.W.).
Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial took place at Oakwood Cemetery on Friday, July 25, 2014.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Minnesota chapter of the ALS Association, to the Rochester Public Library, or to NAMI.
To leave a special memory or condolences, visit ranfranzandvinefh.com.
Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Homes & Crematory
5421 Royal Pl Nw
Rochester, MN 55901
Published in The Post-Bulletin on July 30, 2014