Frances Evelyn Taylor, lovingly known as “Tootsie”, passed away at the age of 79 on Tuesday, July 30th, 2019 after courageously facing pancreatic cancer. Tootsie was born in Birmingham, Alabama on September 7, 1939. Soon after, Tootsie moved to Lubbock, Texas where she enjoyed spending her time on the family farm. She attended Lorenzo High School where she was very active; a rodeo queen, football sweetheart, and cheerleader. After high school, she attended Texas Tech University and graduated with a degree in English and Journalism. In 1962, she moved to Roswell, New Mexico where she met her lifelong friend Owanda Davis, who quickly became an integral part of the Taylor family as they both began their long and dedicated careers in education. While teaching at Goddard High School, Tootsie simultaneously pursued a Master’s degree in English. She was awarded her Master’s from Eastern New Mexico University. She continued to enrich the lives of many as she taught not only English and Advanced Placement English, but also taught journalism, newspaper, and coached cheerleading. She even sponsored the yearbook and student council. Tootsie’s students often earned college credit for her courses, as she diligently cultivated their ability and desire to excel. She also worked as an adjunct instructor at Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell. Tootsie was awarded Teacher of the Year and inducted into the Southeast New Mexico Hall of Fame by the Roswell Educational Achievement Foundation. In addition to Tootsie’s career in education she was an esteemed Board member and Board Chairman for the Chaves County School Employee’s Credit Union. Tootsie was a major contributor to a publication regarding the Roswell Incident. Her love for literature, writing, and education permeated her life.
Tootsie’s commitment to her students and their success throughout her career mirrored her love and devotion to her family, her friends, and her animals. She began riding horses as soon as her parents would allow and caring for “a slew” of dogs and cats from a young age. Her many talents, selflessness and eagerness to always help resulted in her usual involvement across numerous projects with friends and family. Many important life decisions were made at her kitchen table. As the family matriarch and a surrogate mother to two generations of nieces and nephews, Tootsie was the best daughter, sister, aunt, great aunt and friend. Most importantly, she was what many called Home.
Tootsie was preceded in death by her brother, Edward “Bubba” Taylor, and parents, Henry Wright Taylor Jr., and Harriett Latham Taylor.
She is survived by her older brother Henry Wright Taylor III and his children: Diana Taylor-Burge (husband Dennis) and her sons Luca Taylor (and family), Lee Jasper (wife Madeline), and Matthew Burge (wife Kaitlin, and children Aubrey, Beckett, and Chandler); Laurie Taylor (children Ryan and Morgan Bartley); Barbara Taylor-Binetti (husband Sergio, daughter Margot); Frank Bennett (and family); Cyd James (and family); and Sheila Cook. Tootsie is also survived by her younger brother Thomas Taylor and his children: Tara Pearce (daughter Brooklyn); Alexa Sargent (and family); Shane Martin; and Darcy Martin (and family), as well as her longtime friends, Owanda Davis, Faye Stokes, Lana Boswell, Kathy Morrow, Jan Bostick, Nancy Moore, Therese Dunn, Connie Franklin, and many more not named.
Tootsie’s internment was at the City of Lubbock Cemetery. Per her wishes, instead of a funeral, a celebration of her life will be held in Lubbock, Texas on September 28, 2019.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.