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Life Story / Obituary
With an infectious sense of humor and a servant's heart, Dawn Taylor lived a life rich in family and friends. With unwavering determination, strong values, and generosity, Dawn's every moment focused on the good care of others. She welcomed each day as a gift and every person as a friend. Her natural gifts for conversation and connection ensured lots of laughter and happiness. Without a doubt life's challenges were lessened and its joys doubled when sharing them with Dawn. A powerful role model, Dawn's legacy will long live in the hearts and lives of those she loved.
1964 found the country staggering through continued Civil Rights uprisings and the war in Vietnam. While a time of turmoil, it was also a year of progress and creative genius. As President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, The Beatles took the world and America by storm. Beatlemania went into overdrive as they released a series of number one hits, including "I want to hold your hand.” From The Rolling Stones to The Supremes and Bob Dylan, many say this was one of the greatest years for music in the last century. It was also the year Cassius Clay won the Boxing World Heavyweight Championship from Sonny Liston. Amidst all of this excitement in an ever changing world, Jerry and Sally (Uzzo) Vote shared in their own delight, welcoming their daughter, Dawn, into their family on November 14.
The youngest of four kids, Dawn's early years were filled with keeping up with her three older brothers; John, Terry, and Mark. While her father worked as a school custodian, her mother was a housewife. Dawn possessed a spirited personality, strong opinions, and a need to be outdoors, leading to her often being referred to as a bit of a "wild child."
At the age of 14, Dawn moved out, taking a break from her schooling. By age 17, she returned with a renewed sense of herself and her future, earning her high school diploma while also attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Though she didn't like school in her youth, she eventually became a professional student. She earned her cosmetology license before furthering her education in nursing. For many years, Dawn worked at White Oaks Assisted Living in Lawton. She was a dedicated team member who thoroughly enjoyed conversations with residents and colleagues; she was known to never stop talking.
In time, Dawn came to know her neighbor, David Taylor. They began spending time together. David would help her family and even worked on her pickup truck. One day, as they were driving home, David stopped by the lake. As the couple admired the snow together, David spontaneously proposed. They married on February 3, 1995, officially beginning their 25-year adventure together.
Dawn and David enjoyed many good times. They attended monster truck shows and even went to a tough man contest on their anniversary one year. Dawn enjoyed riding three-wheelers and four-wheelers on local trails, and they even road them to a 4th of July parade once. She loved animals, especially horses and dogs, giving a home to many canine companions over the years, but Brody was the first one she let sleep on the bed and somehow he knew how special he was.
A devoted mother, Dawn ensured her daughters grew up in a happy home. Even in the face of her physical challenges after her accident, she lived life to the fullest. With her good sense of humor, Dawn showed off her prosthetic leg for fun and would play in the rain with her kids. She'd even do wheelies through the house in her wheelchair. With much enthusiasm, Dawn always made sure her daughters had new dresses for father-daughter dances. As they grew older, she would help them fix their makeup and hair for family pictures or just for going out.
Dawn relished in the simple things in life. Whether watching action movies or comedies, often with her favorite actor Mark Wahlberg, or getting her daily dose of Jerry Springer, Dawn found something to enjoy in every day. She was a master-crafter who could make anything she set her mind to. She liked collecting rocks and would use them around the house as door stoppers or simply for decoration. She also painted them with her grandkids and would sometimes leave them in random places for others to find. Last Fall, she was able to experience one of her long-held dreams; she rode the train to Petoskey, marveling at the colors the entire way.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Dawn's bright and spirited presence. May it afford deep comfort to know that we carry the best of her legacy forward. With each stranger we welcome as a friend, rock we collect, time with family we enjoy, moment we freely give of our talents, and each “I love you” we share, we celebrate the many ways Dawn gifted our lives. In this way, we keep her spirit alive and inspiring others as she so inspired us.
Dawn Taylor, Age 55, died on October 5, 2020. Dawn was preceded in death by her parents and her stepbrother, John Hodges. Surviving are her husband, David; children: Jessica (Paul) Slee and Amber (Donovan) Taylor; grandchildren: Emmah, Claire, Autumn, and Rylee; siblings: Terry Hodges and Mark (Donna) Vote; and many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Visit Dawn's personal webpage at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you may read her Life Story, archive a favorite memory or photo, and sign her online guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to SPCA of Southwest Michigan. Arrangements by Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy, Paw Paw (269) 657-3870.