Shirley Faye Grindstaff Taylor

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Shirley Faye Grindstaff Taylor, 75, of Elizabethton, went home to be with her Lord and Savior on July 1, 2022, at The Waters of Roan Highlands in Roan Mountain, Tenn., following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was surrounded by her family and love at the time of her passing, with her husband, only daughter, and sister by her bedside.
The daughter of the late Vester and Iva Lee Grindstaff, Shirley was born January 4, 1947, in Elizabethton and was raised in Stoney Creek in Blevins Hollow. Her family later moved to Dejarnette Street in town. She attended Midway and East Side Elementaries, T.A. Dugger Jr. High School, and graduated from Elizabethton High School in 1965 with honors.
At EHS she met her high school sweetheart and love of her life, S. Joe Taylor. They were married December 20, 1966, at East Side Baptist Church. While Joe was in the U.S. Army, they moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., where Joe completed training as part of the dental corps. After Joe completed his military service in Vietnam, they moved to Dallas, Texas, where Joe attended mortuary school and Shirley worked at Baylor Hospital. A trusted and meticulous financial planner, Shirley specialized in accounting and banking positions throughout her career in Athens and Elizabethton, Tenn. As Joe worked at Bordwine Funeral Home in Etowah, Tenn., and later returned home in 1980 to manage Tetrick Funeral Home for nearly 40 years, Shirley helped support him by assisting with secretarial work on weekends, writing and faxing obituaries and making sure Joe and his co-workers always had a hot meal, no matter what time of day or night, and made sure that Joe’s dress shirts and suits were always meticulously pressed and starched. Shirley loved having married into the large Taylor family, where she was a favorite aunt and sister-in-law, and for decades never missed sending a birthday, anniversary or graduation card to every family member.
After praying for a child for nearly 20 years, Shirley gave birth to her miracle daughter, Jessica Leanne Taylor, on June 16, 1985. Jessica was Shirley’s pride and joy and the light of her life, as anyone who met her or talked to her knew. She was a completely devoted mother who truly found her calling when Jessica was born. She was a full-time mom and shuttled Jessica to school, piano lessons, and church.
At East Side Elementary, Shirley served as PTA president and treasurer and was a room mother. Shirley was devoted to helping improve the Elizabethton City Schools, and she helped spearhead the fundraising campaign that built a new band room at T.A. Dugger Jr. High. Full of pride for Jessica, who played the French horn, Shirley also served as president and treasurer of the Band Boosters and chaperoned band trips to competitions and to Disney World. She was an avid Betsy Band and Cyclone Football fan, and also loved watching University of Tennessee football and Lady Vols basketball. When Jessica decided to attend Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Shirley and Joe made frequent trips to visit her and basked in the beautiful campus. After Jessica moved to the Washington D.C. area to pursue her dream career in political journalism, Shirley and Joe visited at least every other month and enjoyed seeing the historic monuments and museums. Shirley bragged about Jessica’s accomplishments, and in her meticulous style, printed off every article Jessica wrote and recorded every television and radio news appearance. In celebration of their 50th anniversary in 2016, Joe, Shirley and Jessica took a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands, a wonderful adventure and family time that came just months before Shirley’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Shirley was a devoted and active member of Grace Baptist Church, and a faithful Christian woman who awoke early every morning to read her Bible. She served as church treasurer for several years and on various other committees. Shirley volunteered during VBS and weekly in the nursery, where she delighted in cuddling the newborns and celebrated children in the church and their growing faith in the Lord. Shirley and Joe were previously active members at North Etowah Baptist Church in the 1970s. Shirley also served as the financial secretary of the Watauga Association of Baptists for 18 years before retiring in 2018.
Survivors include her beloved husband of 55 years, Joe Taylor, of the home; her pride and joy, best friend and daughter, Jessica Leanne Taylor, of Alexandria, Va.; and a sister, Judy Ann Walker, of Glade Spring, Va. Shirley is also survived by four brothers-in-law and sisters-in law: Dr. Bob and Joan Taylor of Indianapolis, Ind.; Janet and Dr. David Reed, of Springfield, Tenn.; Mike and Peggy Taylor of Piney Flats, Tenn.; and Ken and Barbara Taylor of Hermitage, Tenn. Several nieces and nephews also survive. She was also beloved by special friends, Jean and Buddy Bowers, Lynne and Jack Hamilton, Linda and Dennis Bordwine, Janice and the late Wayne Murray Sr., Trilla and the late Buddy Little, and the late Rev. Ron Owens and Judy Owens. She also delighted in her “granddog” Smokey, who she lovingly called “Smokebug.”
The Taylor family would like to thank the nurses and staff at The Waters of Roan Highlands for their excellent care of Shirley for the past five months; to Amedisys Hospice; and extends their gratitude to in-home caregivers, Phaedra Navin, Angela Buchanan and Ginger Mercer.
The funeral service for Shirley Taylor will be held on Wednesday, July 6, at 7 p.m. at Tetrick Funeral Home Elizabethton in the Chapel of Peace. The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 p.m. before the service or at the residence anytime. The Celebration of Life will be under the direction of Dr. Travis Tyler, with special words from Rev. Jason Wilkerson and Mr. Dennis Bordwine. Music will be under the direction of Debbie Gouge and Laura Seagroves. A graveside service for Shirley will be held Thursday, July 7, at 11 a.m. at the Mountain Home National Cemetery Historic Section, 53 Memorial Avenue, Mountain Home, TN, 37684. Those who wish to attend should meet at the cemetery in Johnson City at 10:45 a.m. The service will be under the direction of Rev. Dean Smith, with special music from beloved nieces, Amelia and Reagan Brown. Pallbearers will be Jay Michael and Jackson Taylor, Wayne Murray Jr. and Anthony Murray, Jay Walker and Bill Carter. Honorary pallbearers are Richard Tetrick and the staff of Tetrick Funeral Home of Elizabethton. Special thanks to Derek Cornett, David Blackburn, Gary Kemp and Becky Henson Guy at Tetrick Funeral Home. For those who wish to make a contribution in lieu of flowers, the Taylor family requests that donations in Shirley’s memory be made to either the Elizabethton High School “Betsy Band” Boosters, P.O. Box 2113, Elizabethton, TN 37644 or to Alzheimer’s Tennessee, Inc. East TN Office, 5801 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.
This obituary was written with love by her daughter Jessica.
Words of comfort can be sent to the family through our website, www.tetrickfuneralhome.com.
Tetrick Funeral Home, Elizabethton, TN 37643 (423) 542-2232 is honored to serve the Taylor family.

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