Cover photo for Ann 'Nancy' Taylor's Obituary
Ann 'Nancy' Taylor Profile Photo

Ann 'Nancy' Taylor

January 18, 1926 — December 10, 2023

Ann 'Nancy' Taylor

Ann Taylor, better known as Nancy, age 97, passed away peacefully on December 10, 2023, at RiverMead Community Center in Peterborough, N.H.

Cheerful, spirited, and perceptive, Nancy had a big life, a huge heart, and was beloved by many. Her soul overflowed with warm relationships among both family and friends alike. Throughout her life, she left a trail of fond memories and good will with those whose lives she touched along the way.

This is her life’s story.

Her parents, Kenneth and Florence (Wheaton) Bushnell, were Connecticut Yankees who moved to Brooklyn, N.Y. where Nancy was born on January 18, 1926. Four years later, the family moved to Ossining, N.Y., where she grew up. Some of her best memories include Girl Scout Camp, vacationing at Clinton Beach on the Connecticut shore, and serving as a counselor and craft director at a camp on Cape Cod.

After graduating from Ossining High School in 1944, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Literature from Middlebury College in Vermont. While in college, she met Paul Mills (her husband to be) at a Baptist summer camp in Cooperstown, N.Y. After she graduated, she moved to Granville, Ohio where she taught at the elementary level for the Newark Township school district while Paul finished college.

In 1949, they married and moved to Newton Center, Mass., where she taught in the Sudbury school district for one year while Paul attended seminary school. They then moved to the tiny town of Plainfield, N.H. where Paul served as a pastor while Nancy started her second career of raising four children — John Mark, Stephen, Ruth, and Mary Beth.

In 1956, the family moved to McKownville, N.Y. These were among her best years, as she loved her house, her neighborhood, and the people in it. Once her youngest daughter, Mary Beth, was old enough to start school, Nancy returned to teaching as a kindergarten teacher in the Guilderland school district. In 1966, while both teaching and parenting, she also managed to earn a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education at Russell Sage College in Troy.

In 1966, the family moved to Kettering, Ohio, where she continued teaching the elementary grades in nearby Dayton. Racial integration was just then going into effect. Before moving the children around, the school district first moved the teachers around. She was placed in an all Black elementary school in a neighborhood made up of subsidized housing. Her teaching experiences with the students in those classrooms were some of the most rewarding and memorable in her entire teaching career.

Every summer during the Kettering years, the family packed up their tiny trailer, tent, and camping gear and headed to the Great Smoky Mountains, and then on to the sun and sand of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina.

Also during the Kettering years, when her children were high school age, she opened her house to her children and all of their friends as a place to visit and gather. She always established a personal relationship with every kid that came through her doors.

In 1973 she divorced. She remained in the Dayton area long enough for her youngest daughter to finish high school. She then moved back to the Ossining area, where her aging parents still lived.

In 1975, she married Bill Yates, whom she had known since childhood. He was also an old high school sweetheart. During this period they lived in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Nancy stayed busy by helping around the office of Bill’s thriving real estate business as well as volunteering at the Scarborough Presbyterian Church.

She had a wonderful five years with Bill. But unfortunately, in 1980 Bill suffered a medical emergency while SCUBA diving and died. Not long after that, Nancy’s oldest son, John Mark, also died, making for a particularly dark and tragic time in her life. Fortunately she was surrounded by a loving family and step-family that helped lift her out of this dark period.

In 1983 she married Tom Taylor, whom she met at church. They took up residence in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Nancy would often travel with Tom on his business trips and they would visit the local sites between business appointments.

In 1991 they moved to Sharon, N.H. in a modest cottage situated on more than twenty wooded acres. The cottage featured a spectacular view of Mount Monadnock and a large garden space. It was during the Sharon years that Tom and Nancy took a number of months-long cross-country road trips in their camper. Tom died in 2008.

In 2015, Nancy moved into RiverMead Community independent living by her own choice. In 2020 she moved into assisted living, again by her own choice. A constant theme she would mention during her time at RiverMead was how good the food was — a high bar to meet after eight years of residency. She was also quite fond of both the staff and her RiverMead neighbors. She died on December 10, 2023.

Over the years she volunteered for such worthy causes as literacy programs, Bible studies, garden club, Meals on Wheels, Crop Walk, community suppers, Jaffrey Woman's Club, Jaffrey Food Pantry, Friends of Jaffrey Library, and the First Church in Jaffrey’s seasonal rummage sales and craft fairs.

Her interests included gardening, drawing, painting, needlecraft, reading, critiquing floor plans for houses, and studying maps. She spent much of her time visiting friends and family, who were scattered far and wide. Once retired, she especially enjoyed her cross-country travel adventures in her camper with her late husband, Tom.

Nancy was a beloved sister to Mary Ellen Bushnell and a loving mother to Stephen Mills and his wife Melissa, Ruth Madeira and her husband Jay, and Mary Tanner. She was also a cherished grandmother to Alexa, Erin, Zachary, Maris, Sarah, Lily, and Elizabeth, and a doting great-grandmother to all of their children. She is also survived by her loving stepchildren William Jr., Chip, Jeff, and Linda Yates and their spouses and children, as well as Thomas and Mary Taylor and their spouses and children. Nancy was preceded in death by her son, John Mark Mills; her grandson, Nathaniel Tanner; her husband, Thomas Taylor; her second husband, William Yates; and her first husband, Paul Mills.

A celebration of Nancy’s life is planned for May of 2024. Details will be announced at a later date.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Nancy’s name to The First Church in Jaffrey, PO Box 673, Jaffrey, New Hampshire 03452 

 

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