Julia Anaya-Simpson Taylor
1934 - 2021
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Julia Anaya-Simpson Taylor
January 16, 1934 - January 2, 2021
Escondido, CA
Julia Anaya-Simpson-Taylor went to be with our Lord on January 2, 2021, following complications from a stroke. In the weeks leading to her death, she was surrounded by her family and friends, and most of all, by her devoted husband, Jack. The Holiday season was difficult as her body and mind rapidly declined. There were, however, moments of deep joy. On the evening of Christmas Day, mom temporarily regained her senses and led the family in singing Christmas carols, starting with "Silent Night." She and Jack spent her final days in the home of her son, Dr. Neal Simpson, and his wife, Gina. It was a fitting homecoming for a woman who cherished her family and who was, in turn, cherished by her family. Mom was part of a large Mexican-American family with uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and lots and lots of cousins. Her parents, Robert and Lupe Anaya, both immigrated from Mexico in the 1920s. Mom was born in San Diego in the family's home on January 16, 1934, the oldest of four children. She and her siblings, Bobby, Lulu, and Louie, grew up in the North Park area of San Diego. A favorite memory was piano lessons with her brother Bobby. They would take the bus together to their lessons in Balboa Park. The piano lessons were not especially fun for Bobby, but the ice cream sundaes at the Carnation Ice Cream parlor on El Cajon Boulevard on the way home were always a treat. Eventually, the family moved to La Mesa in 1948.Mom started high school at the old Grossmont High School, but then transferred to become part of the very first class of the Helix High School. She and her dear friend, Jane Rainaldi-Clauson, were both cheerleaders and were also active in selecting the new school's colors, it's mascot, and even the fight song. She graduated from Helix High in 1952.In 1956 mom earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from San Diego State College, where she had been a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. After she and her first husband, Richard Simpson, had started a family, she returned to school and earned an elementary school teaching credential. During that challenging year, she would spend her days attending her own classes and teaching kids. She would then come home to attend to the family, and then work well into the night studying and preparing the next day's lessons. She went to work for the San Diego Unified School District in 1964. After serving as a kindergarten teacher, she returned to school and earned a master's degree in education administration. As part of the school district's "Teacher Corps" program, mom was recruited by Grace Perkins, a pioneering San Diego educator, to work at Lowell Elementary school on San Diego's first bilingual/bicultural education program. The program became a model for all of California, and the school was eventually renamed "Perkins K-8 School". Mom later became a vice principal and retired from the district in 1989 as the principal of Hearst Elementary school after 25 years of service. In 1976 mom met her future husband, John "Jack" Taylor, at a dance at the Hilton Hotel on Mission Bay. They were married on May 21, 1977. The honeymoon in Hawaii was "interesting" in that all four of her teenage sons joined them! Over their lifetime together they lived in Allied Gardens, Scripps Ranch, Escondido, Valley Center, finally returning to Escondido in 2013. Retirement included lots of time with family, especially her grandchildren Aaron, Andrea, Alaina, Gabe, Joey, and Zac, and three great-grandchildren. Mom and Jack loved to travel, especially on cruises. Together, they visited destinations throughout America, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, and Alaska. They were especially fond of Napili, Maui and were often accompanied by their sons and their families. The family's favorite restaurant on Maul was Kimo's in Lahaina where everyone would always get Koloa Pork Ribs and Caesar Salads. Over the years, mom stayed close to a group of her high school and college friends who collectively referred to themselves as the "Golden Girls." They would often meet for lunch to catch up on each other's lives and share years of wonderful memories. Another favorite group was the USS Chickasaw association. Jack had served on the Chickasaw and was active in the annual reunions, which take place in cities all over America. In her typical style, mom jumped right in with this group and was instantly loved by the men and their families. In the 1990s, mom volunteered as an interpreter at Rady Children's Hospital. The position required specialized training in medical terminology in Spanish. For her work helping Hispanic families whose children were being treated at Rady, she received a Channel 10 Leadership Award. She and Jack also volunteered together as election poll workers in their neighborhood when they lived in Valley Center. Mom and Jack have also been members of Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido for many years.Mom is survived by her loving husband of 44 years, Jack. Her sons are Marc Simpson, and his wife Robin, Todd Simpson, and his wife Janet, Keith Simpson and his wife Sue, and Dr. Neal Simpson, and his wife Gina, as well as her brother, Robert Anaya and his wife Cecilia, and her sister, Maria "Lulu" Anaya-Summers, and her nieces and nephews. The family is grateful for all the expressions of love and support they are receiving. Memorial services are pending until an in-person event can be possible.Gifts to honor mom's legacy may be made to the Elizabeth Hospice, at https://elizabethhospice.org/donate-now/. The men and women of this fine organization were a source of wonderful support and hope in mom's final days.

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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Jan. 17, 2021.
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January 17, 2021
We are saddened by the loss of our dear friend Julia. Her infectious smile radiated the essence of her loving personality. We are uplifted and blessed by many happy memories with her and Jack.

Michael & Elisabeth McKeown
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