Remembering Mary Annie Belle Taylor, 1919-2014

From Texas to West Seattle over the span of 95 years, Mary Annie Belle Taylor lived a good life, as shared by her family in this remembrance:

Mary Annie Belle Taylor
May 17, 1919 – December 3, 2014

Mary Annie Belle Taylor was born on her family’s ranch in Brookshire, TX on May 17, 1919. The youngest of six siblings, she loved ranch life, especially riding horses. She began documenting her family in photographs with a Brownie camera she received for her fourth birthday. Her collection of photographs documenting three generations of the Hughes family is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Americana.

Ms. Taylor moved to Los Angeles, CA in the 1950s and married the love of her life, Morris Taylor. She was among the first African Americans to attend culinary school, and became a chef and nutritionist in the 1960s. She managed a hospital kitchen until she retired in the late 1970s. Though childless herself, she served as favorite aunt to many nieces and nephews as well as neighborhood children, many of whom learned to cook in her kitchen.

Post-retirement, she moved to Silver Spring, MD, to be closer to family. A believer in action over words, Ms. Taylor worked with her local church to start a food program for elderly people living in her senior retirement community. Well into her late 80s, she used her beautiful tenor voice to telephone her “old folks,” read to them from the Bible, and sing to them.

In 2005 Ms. Taylor moved to West Seattle. Though health kept her from being an active member, she joined First AME Church in Seattle. In her final years, she was cared for by the wonderful staff at Providence ElderPlace to whom the family extends deep gratitude for their kindness, gentleness, and respect.

Ms. Taylor died peacefully the morning of Wednesday, December 3, 2014 after a long illness. Predeceased by her husband and all of her siblings, she is survived by loving nieces, nephews, and extended family throughout the country.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

10 Replies to "Remembering Mary Annie Belle Taylor, 1919-2014"

  • Dale December 4, 2014 (9:17 am)

    lived a good life is an understatement.

    • WSB December 4, 2014 (9:27 am)

      This is why we appreciate the opportunity to publish obituaries … even the basics of a life story can be so inspiring. Godspeed to Ms. Taylor.

  • biankat December 4, 2014 (10:46 am)

    Sounds like she was a wonderful woman.

  • I. Ponder December 4, 2014 (10:52 am)

    I’d be interested in knowing how she came to relocate to Seattle at such a late age.

  • cjboffoli December 4, 2014 (1:01 pm)

    Terrific obit. Makes me sorry I never met her.

  • BlairJ December 4, 2014 (2:48 pm)

    I’d love to see some of her photographs.

  • LolaP December 4, 2014 (3:58 pm)

    Mary Taylor was my aunt. She moved to West Seattle to be close to my brother, Bob Hughes, who graciously and lovingly took responsibility for managing her care over the past 15+ years. She lived an amazing life. Hot air ballooning for her 75th birthday was just one example of the strong and independent spirit that drove her.

  • PSPS December 4, 2014 (6:06 pm)

    I think these are some of her photographs:

  • AM December 5, 2014 (8:35 am)

    Wow – the history that this woman lived through!! I can’t imagine how amazing it would have been to sit and hear her stories. I too am sorry our paths never crossed. May she rest in peace.

  • BDH December 5, 2014 (11:23 pm)

    PSPS: Thank you for finding the link to the photos at the Smithsonian site. Yes, those are our Aunt Mary’s. The family didn’t know that some had been digitized. I used your link to search further. The full reference is at:

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