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Lydia Roberson Taylor

Lydia Roberson Taylor

Oct 30, 1934 - Aug 15, 2021

Lydia Roberson Taylor

Lydia Roberson Taylor

Oct 30, 1934 - Aug 15, 2021

Lydia Roberson Taylor - Obituary


ydia Taylor was born on October 30, 1934, in Washington, D.C., to Eugene Roberson and Earle Rose McQuinn Roberson. She passed away on the evening of Sunday, August 15, 2021, at her home of 45 years in Fort Washington, Maryland, that she shared with her husband Frank. The eldest child of Eugene and Earle Roberson, Lydia attended D.C. Public schools graduating from Dunbar High School in 1952. Before graduating from high school, Lydia was awarded a full scholarship to attend the University of Chicago’s Sherwood School of Music. She was the first woman in her family to attend a college. While she loved Chicago and the many friends she made there, she never got accustomed to the extremely cold and windy Chicago winters. After graduating in the spring of 1957, she returned to her hometown and family in Washington, D.C. Weeks later, in June 1957, she would marry the love of her life, Frank Taylor, whom she had known since kindergarten. Pictures of the wedding were carried in a local newspaper and the wedding was described as a “High Fashion Wedding.” Lydia’s mother Earle, a seamstress, designed and made the dress. After the wedding, the newlyweds departed for the southwest, living in El Paso, Texas, although Frank was stationed nearby at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Nearly a year later their first child, a son, Philip Duane was born in May 1958. The newlyweds eventually left Texas and returned to Washington, D.C., where Lydia began her teaching career in the District of Columbia’s Public School system. The first several years of her career were spent as a classroom teacher. She took a break from teaching in late 1961, to give birth to her second son, Frank Derrick who was born in December 1961. Eventually returning to teaching, she was assigned to a number of elementary schools throughout southeast Washington, D.C. In the mid 1960’s she became one of the initial teachers to work in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Head Start program. The program provided comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and families. As a result of the program’s early success, teachers and administrators who were involved in the launching of the program were invited to a White House ceremony and were commended by President and Mrs. Johnson. At the urging of her mother, who did not believe she was utilizing her music degree, Lydia left classroom teaching towards the end of the 1960s and became an elementary school music teacher. Being a music teacher was the pinnacle of her career. No matter the elementary school, she established Glee Clubs and held annual elaborate Christmas and Spring programs. Principals that she had clashed with during the school year were seen sitting in the audience crying at the beauty and success of these evening programs. One of the major DC law firms (Steptoe & Johnson, LLP) annually invited her Glee Club to perform in the firm’s lobby for its annual holiday party. Midway in her career, she was encouraged to become a principal, but her heart was in the classroom with the children, not in the bureaucracy and politics of the school system. Because of her, several of her students against difficult odds at home, were awarded scholarships, went to college and became educators. Lydia was a remarkable woman, wife, mother, and grandmother. She was known by family and friends as loyal, strong-willed, free-spirited, opinionated, dedicated, determined, wickedly playful, and an advocated for underdogs. Once you met her, you never forgot her, and you were in love with her zest for life and adventure. She was a notorious shopper and loved shoes and more shoes. Besides shopping, she enjoyed interior design, cooking, gardening, sailing with her husband and sons on the Chesapeake Bay, attending Sunday Mass and returning home to watch Sunday football. After nearly 42 years of teaching, she retired and once her husband retired, they traveled extensively, domestically, and internationally. In their late 60s, they traveled to and fell in love with Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where they purchased a winter home and spent winters enjoying the warm Mexican sunshine and fresh seafood. As was the case, she made fast friends in Mexico with new neighbors, waiters, and shopkeepers who loved her friendliness and especially her pesos. When Lydia wasn’t traveling with her husband or spending time in Cabo, she was a volunteer usher for several years at the National Theater and the Kennedy Center. During her long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s, some commented about what a sacrifice the family was making. It was not a sacrifice; it was labor of love. She remained in her home of 45 years with her husband of 64 years, rarely leaving her side. She had her evening ice cream and occasionally, Philip made her favorite drink, a strawberry pina colada. Earlier this year she was dropped from hospice care because she had outlived the time limit of six months to stay on the program. She gave the disease quite a battle and members of her family and close friends jokingly commented that this hideous disease had met its match coming up against Lydia Taylor. In all, she lived a full, productive, and eventful life. At home, she was a devoted and loving wife and mother. She was often described as the original “momma bear” immensely protective of her family. Lydia kept and enjoyed an exciting home, full of laughter, lively discussion and debate, and of course music (accept for the musical choices of her sons). Only 5 foot 4 and 130 pounds, she often reminded the family that she was the only female in the house consisting of a husband, two very independent and “hard-headed” boys and two extremely spoiled male dogs, and yet, she held her ground. Fully vaccinated family and friends are welcome to attend all programming that celebrates the life of Lydia R. Taylor.

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