Mary Brown Hill Taylor

November 29, 2017

Almost 89 years old, Mary Brown Hill Taylor (Mrs. John Douglas Taylor) passed away at her home in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, November 29, 2017. Born January 5, 1929 in Wilmington, North Carolina, she courageously fought a debilitating blood disease for the past several years. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 54 years John Douglas Taylor Sr., who passed way in December 2005; her mother, whom she quoted constantly, Jennie Buchanan Gilchrist Hill; her father Dudley Brown Hill; her younger brother William Gilchrist Hill; and an infant daughter Mary Brown Taylor.

During the mid-1940’s, Mrs. Taylor and her brother Gilchrist departed Wilmington via the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad for boarding schools on the Main Line in Philadelphia, quite the change from Wilmington. Summer camps were close to the Canadian border, another ambitious decision taken by her mother. After graduating from The Baldwin School, Mrs. Taylor enrolled at Salem College and was quickly elected president of the freshman class. Next stop two years later was Chapel Hill where she made lifelong friends and was a member of Chi Omega. She graduated in June 1950 and 16 months later married a charming Wilmington suitor who had met her on return from World War II.

Mrs. Taylor led a full life always seeking new ways to lead an effort and have a ball doing it. The 1950’s had some low points but mostly they were post-War fun. This came to an end in the summer of 1960 when the A.C.L Railroad, career employer of Mr. Taylor, moved its headquarters from Wilmington to Jacksonville, Florida. She managed, mostly by U.S. air mail, the construction of a new house and spearheaded the move of four boys under seven years old. There she and Mr. Taylor recreated the good life and quickly were off into new spheres of fun and action. The next 23 years were a whirlwind of

activity whether it was “raising four nice boys” (which she never ceased to maintain was her greatest accomplishment); being a leader at the church; working in various dress/gift shops; leading the Colonial Dames in Florida; active in the Clover Garden Circle; running all sorts of events for the Junior League; attending 11 parents’ weekends in a row at Washington and Lee University; organizing numerous family summer trips such as driving to California and back; or hosting for decades two weeks at Wrightsville Beach, near generations of family and friends.

Those 23 years in Jacksonville then were matched by another 23 glorious years with Mr. Taylor back in Wilmington beginning in 1983, after retirement. Taking a “We’ve just been away on a brief trip” approach, the Taylors jumped back in to social life, community and church affairs including the Ministering Circle which she steered and loved; the Colonial Dames in North Carolina, which she lead and also adored; several antiques/gift shops; yearly foreign trips with dear friends; and of course her love of anything at all to do with Christmas, especially the Taylor eggnog party, Radio City in New York and the L’Ariosa German Club white tie dance. Dressed to the nines with a prominent post on a receiving line was her idea of Heaven (so look for her at the Pearly Gates when you arrive). After Mr. Taylor’s sudden death in 2005, life was never the same, especially at breakfast and at 5 o’clock – when, like her mother, she always enjoyed a Jack Daniels on-the-rocks.

The aforementioned four Taylor boys are: John Douglas, Jr. (Ninel) of New York; twins William Gilchrist (Lee) of Charlotte and Henry Cox (Katie) of Atlanta; and Edward Tennent, II (Ruthie) of Memphis. Additionally, Mrs. Taylor derived much pleasure from her seven grandchildren: Edward III (Mary); twins Stewart and Julia; Austin and Mary Brown; and Camila and Lilly. Last year she welcomed the arrival of her great-granddaughter, Mae.

She leaves us with an ingrained spirit that good manners provide more happiness and fulfillment in life than any other asset. Additionally, her resilience, her adaptability and her “can-do” nature will be forever with those who knew and loved her.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington where the Taylors/Gilchrists/Hills have been devoted members going back to the early 1800’s. Memorials may be made in her honor to the church. A private burial at Oakdale Cemetery will precede the memorial service.

Arrangements are in the care of Andrews Mortuary & Crematory in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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