Joyce Auntha Sparrow Taylor passed away at home in Kinston NC surrounded by loving family and caretakers on August 20, 2020. She was the youngest daughter born to Carelee and Casco Dail Sparrow on June 13, 1931. She is survived by her devoted husband of nearly 72 years, Allen Taylor, Jr; by her three daughters, Allynna Stone (Jack), Becky Keeler, Liz Arrington (Pat), and daughter-in-law, Terri Taylor; grandchildren Jason Brooks (Carrie), Jessica Walsh (Jason), Mandy Taylor, Mary Hannah Arrington, and Drew Arrington; great-grandchildren Liam Taylor, Bronwyn Brooks, Grayson Brooks and a cousin Verona Meeder of Columbia, MD. She is also survived by former son in law, Mark Keeler, and numerous nieces and nephews. Joyce is predeceased by her son, Bill Taylor; granddaughter, Trudy Allison Taylor, grandson, Will Taylor; great-grandson Jackson Allen Taylor, her parents and sisters, Elizabeth Walker and Frances Moore.
Valedictorian of her graduating class at Deep Run High School, Joyce played basketball, won the award for perfect attendance throughout 12 years at school, and made lifelong friends. She and Allen married and raised their family in Kinston and New Bern until 1966 when Allen’s career took them first to Arkansas, then Alabama. Our mother truly partnered with our father to establish a successful business, Taylor Cattle Company, near Montgomery, Alabama. Every night for over 50 years they played the same hand of Gin Rummy, charging a "penny a point"; they loved the beach, especially the NC coast and the Gulf Shores area of Alabama. They loved each other fiercely and were so proud of the family they lovingly created together. Grammy (GG) and Pop especially enjoyed "making memories" with each grandchild and great grandchild. They would have celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary on August 28th.
Joyce's children remember her as a lively hostess of bridge parties, an avid reader and Book-of-the-Month Club member. She enjoyed a great sense of style and fashion and was an intrepid traveler. She caravaned with other moms and their young children to the Smoky Mountains; experienced a memorable road trip with her sister and children to Washington, DC; traveled with a teenage Liz to the Soviet Union; accompanied Allynna and her elementary school students to France and Spain, and celebrated her 80th birthday with her three daughters on an amazing Alaskan cruise.
Joyce grew up on land in Lenoir County settled by her Sparrow and Stroud ancestors in the 18th century. Throughout many moves, she was determined to return "home." Joyce and Allen moved back to Kinston in 2014. Joyce will be buried on this land at a private family graveside service at the Sparrow Cemetery in Deep Run. The service will be officiated by Rev. Dennis Peay, Lead Pastor at Westminster United Methodist Church. She was an active church member wherever she lived: in Deep Run, New Bern, Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia. Joyce was a member of Westminster United Methodist Church here in Kinston. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no formal visitation; those in attendance are asked to wear facemasks and socially distance. Arrangements will be made by Howard-Carter Funeral Home, Kinston.
The Taylor family would like to express our deepest gratitude to caretaker and dear friend Renarda Gantt, whose exceptional devotion to our mother eased any suffering during her long illness. We would also like to express our appreciation to Quita Carroll, Jo Barfield, and the staff of Aseracare Hospice for their compassionate care of our mother this past year. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Aseracare Hospice, 2317 Executive Circle, Suite B, Greenville NC 27834.
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