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Diane Jackson Taylor

1942 - 2020
Diane Jackson Taylor Obituary
Diane Jackson Taylor


Diane Jackson Taylor, a long time public servant of the state of North Carolina, passed away on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. She was 77.

Diane was born on June 8, 1942 in Asheville, NC to Minnie Lee Rector and Lyle Jackson along with her sister Rosemarie. She was raised in Kansas and Nebraska by Louise and Nap Beauregard along with her sister, Lindy and brother Beau. She graduated from high school in Omaha, Nebraska attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and History in 1964.

After graduation, Diane began her career of public service at the North Carolina Supreme Court Library where she was the first person to hold the position of Secretary to the Marshal and Librarian from 1964 to 1967, followed by a brief time working at the State Legislature.

Beginning in 1968, Diane served three chancellors and three deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University's oldest and largest academic unit, during more than 25 years of service in South Building.

She supervised the staff of the arts and sciences dean's office, managed personnel and policy matters for the college's approximately 2,000 faculty and staff employees, served as the dean's liaison within and outside the college and handled her unit's contracts and grants.

"She is the soul of helpfulness, courtesy and grace, cheerful and warm, intelligent and incisive, reliable and discreet, utterly dependable and trustworthy," her citation read. One force guides her service to the University: "passionate devotion to the University and its people," the citation said. "She has become that most useful of colleagues — one who not only accurately and comprehensively knows and recalls institutional policies, practices and programs, but who remembers also how and why they came to be."

Diane received the C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Award in 1994.

In 2012, she was a recipient of the prestigious Davie Award. Established by the UNC-CH Board of Trustees in 1984, it is the highest honor presented to individuals who exemplify dedication, commitment and service to the university or society.

Throughout her career, along with every other endeavor she undertook, Diane was known as a warm and welcoming host and steadfast ambassador of the University. She was a lifelong, avid supporter of Carolina sports and the arts. Her gracious southern hospitality was renowned in the many clubs and organizations in which she participated. She was a devoted member of her book club that met every month and no one ever missed it when she hosted. She always decorated for the theme and the food was especially spectacular. She was an active member of a potluck group of friends that began as a Christian Parenting Class in the early 80s and continues to meet to this day. She cherished time spent and trips taken with "The Bridge Ladies " and her book club friends. She was an active member of the Women of Fearrington and served on the Board of Directors at Galloway Ridge for several years.

Diane was preceeded in death by her husband, Nelson Ferebee Taylor, sister, Lindy Beauregard and son in law, Paul Peterson. She is survived by her daughter Meredith Adams, husband Chip and grandchildren, Conley and Catherine; brother, Beau Beauregard; brother in law Bob Higgins; daughters by marriage Louise Arnold, husband Jeff and their children Megan & Jeremy Miles, Wade Arnold, Emily & Josh Dorman, Julia & Taylor Reed, Will Arnold and great grand children, Eleanor & Graham Miles; Sarah Peterson and her children Lauren Peterson & fiance Joe Bailey, Erik Peterson; and Martha Taylor.

A memorial service will be held at the Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church at 1712 Willow Drive, Chapel Hill, NC on Friday, January 17th at 2PM. A private family burial will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, in memory of Diane Jackson Taylor, at PO Box 1050, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 or the Carolina Tiger Rescue at 1940 Hanks Chapel Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312.

Condolences may be shared at CremationSocietyNC.com
Published in The News & Observer on Jan. 16, 2020
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