Albion Recorder & Morning Star Obituaries

Obituary: Jean Ryland Taylor

Jean Ryland Taylor, a 60-year Albion, Michigan, resident who worked as a journalist, served on the Albion Board of Education and was active in many civic organizations, died June 23, 2024, at her home. She was 91.

Mrs. Taylor worked as a reporter and editor at the Albion Recorder newspaper from 1979-86. She also worked in public relations for Albion College; served for 24 years on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals; was president of the Albion Community Foundation; served as president of the Albion-Homer United Way; and was a member of the Albion Chamber of Commerce.

Mrs. Taylor was born April 16, 1933, in Johnson City, New York, to Dr. Charles Pennington Ryland and Edith (Finney) Ryland. In 1937, her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she lived until shortly after her marriage. Mrs. Taylor graduated from The Sidwell Friends School in Washington and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 1955.

She married Lawrence Dow Taylor on Sept. 24, 1955, in Washington. There she worked for the federal government until 1957, when the couple moved to Hanover, New Hampshire. They subsequently lived in Columbus and Wooster, Ohio, before moving to Albion in 1964. Her husband that year started the geology department at Albion College, now known as the Earth and Environment Department.

After raising two sons, Mrs. Taylor worked at Albion College in the 1970s as assistant director of media relations and as director of college relations. She was later a reporter, photographer and city editor for the Recorder, which was then a daily newspaper. As a volunteer in retirement, she wrote many news releases to promote the activities of Albion’s non-profit organizations.

Before and after her retirement in 1986, Mrs. Taylor served as an officer of several Albion organizations. From 1989-93 she was a trustee of the Albion Community Foundation, serving as president in 1991. She was twice president of the Albion-Homer United Way during her term on that board, from 1986-90. For 10 years she served as secretary and publicist for the Albion Academy for Lifelong Learning, the community’s senior learning institute.

In 1973, she was elected to a four-year term on the Albion Board of Education. Mrs. Taylor was appointed to the City of Albion Zoning Board of Appeals in 1986 and was chair of that board for 24 years. In the 1980s, she worked with the promotion committee of Albion Downtown Inc. and was a member of the organizational board and later a board member of the Albion Volunteer Service Organization.

Mrs. Taylor joined the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in 1963 and was an enthusiastic and loyal member of the Albion Branch. She held many Albion branch AAUW offices, including president. On behalf of AAUW, for many years she organized public forums for Albion City Council and Albion Board of Education candidates.

She was a founder in 1966 of Albion Community Theatre, working on stage and backstage, and was on the organization’s board of directors for several years.

In 1997 she served on Albion’s Charter Review Committee. The following year she was a member of the committee supporting a successful charter proposal to formalize Albion’s city manager form of government.

Mrs. Taylor had a special interest in organizing local non-partisan political campaigns and served on committees supporting candidates and ballot proposals, such as school bonds. She was a member of the Albion First United Methodist Church and the ELT Club.

Among other honors, she received a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship in 2004. Other honors included a Festival of the Forks Award for community service and a United Press International citation for outstanding editorial writing at the Recorder. Michigan State University Extension in 2004 certified her as a citizen planner. She was a founder and facilitator of The Network, a local women’s leadership group.

Mrs. Taylor is survived by her husband of nearly 69 years, Dr. Lawrence D. Taylor; two sons and their wives, Charles (Chuck) Taylor and Anne Koch of Seattle, and Keith Taylor and Laurie Carlson Taylor of Hallowell, Maine; and by two grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service are pending. Memorial donations may be made to the Albion Community Foundation or the Albion First United Methodist Church.

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