Member Spotlight
To facilitate new members getting to know the congregation, and maybe even long-time members learning something new about each other, every so often we will feature one of our members with a spotlight article. We will begin with our members who have recently joined and continue by randomly choosing a member from our membership directory. Couples will have individual turns. Robin McKinley will contact you when your name is chosen, and arrange for an interview to gather the information for the spotlight. Stay tuned for the fun!

Member Spotlight

Betty Brown
Member Spotlight

May 2019
by Robin McKinley
Two big brothers, 9 and 12 years old at the time, greeted the birth of Betty Brown in Burnet, Texas.  Her father was a master mechanic and was manager of the Ford dealership parts department in Burnet.  Her mother was an LVN at the local, privately owned by one doctor, clinic and hospital.  A sister joined the family nine years after Betty’s birth.  Betty’s school years were also spent in Burnet. 
Betty’s family attended the Church of Christ, and she worshipped there until the 1970s.  Of course, no instruments are allowed in Church of Christ services.  Nevertheless, the beginnings of Betty’s musical ability were established in this church. When Betty was five or six years old, her cousin who had a strong alto voice told Betty she was going to teach her to sing alto.  She sat next to her cousin in choir. “She taught me to listen for harmony,” says Betty.
In the fourth grade, she began singing in school.  Then, band became available and anyone could audition.  Winning a spot in the band, Betty played the cornet. The band taught Betty to read music. She was also in the junior high and high school choruses. 
When she was in high school, she was invited to join a local trio called the Tom Ren Ray Trio.  Named after the original members of the trio, Tom played the trumpet, Ren played the guitar, and Ray played the organ.  They played and Betty sang for all kind of events.  When her dad found out, he was not at all pleased.  His daughter was never going to go sing in a honkytonk!  Happily for Betty, he finally relented for other venues.
After she graduated from high school, she went to Austin, choosing Nixon-Clay Commercial College for her studies. She had received scholarships both there and at the University of Texas at Austin, but UT required that she live on campus and by the time she was accepted, no housing was available at UT.  She planned to go to UT after she finished at Nixon-Clay.
When Betty was studying at Nixon-Clay, the Austin TV station owned by Lady Byrd Johnson, KTBC, (Channel 7 now); had an amateur talent contest.  Ray found out about it and told Betty he was going to enter her. “I didn’t have much time to rehearse,” Betty remembers.  But she and the trio had been in many local “Hay Loft” musical shows.  For the contest, she sang “Stormy Weather”.  The winner was based on how many votes the public sent in. Nixon-Clay gave all their students postcards (with a plug for the college) filled in with Betty’s name to submit for the vote.  “We won!” Betty remembers with fond joy.
The love of Betty’s life appeared on the scene while she was in Austin, and her life plan changed as life plans do.  She finished a ten-month course of study at Nixon-Clay, and then went to work for the Railroad Commission as a secretary.  Four years later, she married Dwayne Brown on April 6, 1955, and proudly recounts she was married for 55 years and 29 days, until Dwayne’s death.
After her marriage, Betty worked as the secretary to the county judge and county attorney from fall 1957 to April 1958.  She loved the work but when Dwayne was drafted and finished his basic training, Betty quit her job to accompany Dwayne to New Jersey where he attended signal school.  Next, he was sent to Korea, and Betty returned to Burnet where Sharon, their first child, was born.  Sharon was just short of 8 months old before Dwayne first saw her.  Sharon initially was singularly unimpressed by this stranger in the house.
The family moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. Sharon was soon joined by Carlton and Linda.  These days, Sharon lives in Irving.  Carlton is in the middle, and he lives in Farmers Branch.  Linda is youngest and she lives out of Liberty Hill.  Betty’s children eventually gave her four grandkids – Christine, 31, Brandon, 28, Connor, 24, and Stacy, also 24.  She also has 2 greats: 12-year-old Xavier, and nearly 2-year-old Penelope.
In 1959, when Dwayne separated from active duty, the family moved to Austin.  From 1959-63, Dwayne worked for Color Press, a company which published yearbooks.  Betty wasn’t actively employed until 1961 when she typed addresses for bulk mailing at home.  In 1963, Color Press went bankrupt because of cash flow problems.  Dwayne decided to get additional training and they moved to Waterloo, and later to Taylor.
Because of several crises in her life, Betty had quit attending church.  About 1975, Betty’s kids started coming to Taylor FUMC with friends, and they sang in choirs through the Sunday School.  One year, they were preparing a Christmas cantata, and the choir was short on altos.  Her kids asked her to come sing.  She sang for the cantata and shortly after she began singing regularly.  A few years later, she joined the church.  Whit Whittington was the preacher, and his wife, Millie Whittington, was a good friend to Betty, and instrumental in her joining the church.
By 1977, with her youngest in junior high, Betty began to think of returning to work.  Betty’s dream had been to work with juveniles and she thought the ideal would be a job for the county.  She applied for a county job, and interviewed.  Although she was a good match for the job since she had trained as an executive secretary and had relevant experience, her family had too high an income.  The job was set aside for a low-income family.
About this time, the Whittingtons invited her to a party at the parsonage.  Millie knew she was looking for a job.  Millie introduced Betty to a woman who became Betty’s boss for 23 ½ years.  The woman was a nurse practitioner practicing under local physician. 
Betty was hired to establish and set up an office in Taylor for her and, of course, “other jobs as assigned.”  The office, named Direct Heath Care Service, was responsible for family planning services in Burnet, Williamson, Bastrop and Fayette Counties.  Betty’s job gave her direct, hands-on contact with young women. The office had few services for women over 40 (Betty was 41).  The youngest client was short of twelve years.  “I was like the older aunt or grandma,” Betty says.  She had gotten the ideal job with juvenile contact that she had wanted. “God delivered the job,” Betty says.
After the initial set up, Betty ran the office and did clerical work.  She was also trained for specific tasks such as drawing blood and conducting blood tests. She did pregnancy testing, pap smears, and STD screenings.  In the 1980s, HIV testing and counseling was added to their services. 
As a part of her job, Betty remembers fondly her contribution to a manual for family planning.  “I had the privilege of doing the transcribing and a little editing on a publication policy and procedure training manual for family planning workers.  It was the first in state of Texas and was funded by donations.”
After joining Taylor FUMC, Betty never looked back.  She says, “I like it that Taylor FUMC has open doors and open arms.  It is a loving congregation.”  Her roots here run deep.  The parsonage was originally given to the church by her mother’s first cousin, Lola Preslar.  Cousin Lola specified in her will that the parsonage be purchased and given to the church.
Her singing is still legendary.  Her favorite hymn is “He Leadeth Me” because he does, and the lyrics say so much.  She also loves “It Is Well with My Soul.”  Betty explains, “It tells a lot about me because I went through a period of time when it was not ‘well with my soul.’”
What a wonderful legacy Betty brings to our church.  So many have been touched and enriched by her experiences and her life.

Member Spotlight

Nancy Turner
Member Spotlight
April 2019
by Robin McKinley

The first thing you notice about Nancy Turner is her sparkling blue eyes and her smile that lights up a room.  Her cheery personality is a pleasure to be around.  She was born in Taylor, Texas in Stromberg Hospital.  She was raised in Lawrence Chapel – a bump in the road which boasted a school and a Methodist church.  She went to school there until they closed the school, and then finished in Thrall.

Her father was a farmer, and her mother farmed and kept house.  She has one brother, Kenneth, and one sister, Carolyn.  Nancy was in the middle. Carolyn passed away in 2001 from cancer.  Kenneth has two children (Nancy’s niece and nephew).  Her nephew, his wife (who is expecting a baby any day) and their two sons (4 and 6 years old) live in India doing missionary work.  Her niece and her husband sadly had two miscarriages, and then lost their first baby.  Last July, they were blessed with a healthy baby boy last July, named Hudson Lee.  Nancy is completely smitten with Hudson Lee (and for good reason!)

As a child, Nancy was sick with asthma, but she chuckles as she reports it didn’t lighten her chores.  She pulled corn, held the cow’s tail so it wouldn’t swish in the milk while they were milked, fed chickens, washed and hung out tow sacks that were used put under the baby chicks, cut maize heads to feed the chickens and sharpened hoes.  “I did the whole nine yards,” Nancy says.  “Whatever I was told, I did.  I never said no.  I didn’t ask why or how. I did what I was told.”

In school, she says, she was shy and bashful.  “My mama sent a note that I couldn’t do PE.” She had asthma which got worse when she ran.  “But,” Nancy says with a laugh, “I could pick cotton, go in a chicken house, chase cows, and they never told me I couldn’t do that.”  So, in school, she sat on the sidelines while the other kids did their PE.

After high school, Nancy went to Austin, and worked at the state comptroller for ten years in the mail room.  She says she shouldn’t have left, but she decided to get married.  She and her husband lived in McDade.  Her husband had an auto parts store, and she worked there for 16 years as well as doing farm and ranch work, keeping a big garden and doing canning.  After 16 years, they divorced.

Single again, she worked many odd jobs as a cashier and as a waitress at the Barn Yard in Elgin.  After four years of being single, she met her second husband.  They married and lived in Blue for sixteen years.  With him, she did all kinds of farm and ranch work, as well as gardening and canning until, in 2006 after 8 months of illness and the age of 86, her husband passed away from emphysema and lung cancer. 

“His illness was very hard, and losing him was hard.  When my husband passed away, I had to make my own decisions.  That made me a stronger person,” Nancy says.  She continued to live in Blue and continued to be active in many different clubs, including the Home Extension Club.  In this club, the county agent would come and put on programs about how to do things in the home and how to cook.  It was a fun thing for Nancy and she misses it here in Taylor.  The club had food and Christmas parties where they played games.

One day, she was sick and couldn’t find a doctor close by.  She drove 30 miles to get help.  Her doctor told her she needed to move closer, and so she moved to Taylor.  She found an opening at Grace Place within two weeks.

That was 7 ½ years ago and she started coming to Taylor First United Methodist Church.  While she lived in McDade, Nancy had attended Faith Lutheran Church.  In Blue, she had become a Methodist because Blue United Methodist Church was one mile away from her house.  She immediately felt right at home at Taylor First United Methodist Church because it reminded her of her beloved Blue UMC church.

Vesta Ryan and many others greeted her warmly when she came to Taylor FUMC.  “Everyone comes and greets you.  Everyone is glad to have you here.  The people remind me of Blue because both congregations are so friendly,” Nancy says.  She loves how people don’t mingle in groups, but talk and speak to everyone.  It makes you feel good for everyone to be friendly and give you hugs.

Her favorite hymn is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” It is her favorite because that was the first song she sang at Sunday School and it stuck with her all her life.

Nancy obviously enjoys her relationships and, and you can tell from all her farm and ranch work, she loves the outdoors.  She says she used to love to have company and play with the kids, eating outside and playing croquet.  She also enjoys crocheting and embroidery, and going out to eat.  If she were to travel, she would like to go to Germany and Czechoslovakia.  “I have German and Bohemian in me and I always thought about traveling to do that,” she says.

Be sure to give Nancy a big hug when you see her, and invite her to go out to eat so you can hear firsthand the great stories of her interesting life.

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight, Cynthia Bryan
February 2019
by Robin McKinley
Cynthia Bryan originally hails from Tahoka, Texas where she was born, raised, married and raised her children. Her father managed a service station, and in his later years worked for Lyntegar Electric Coop. Her mother worked for the drug store and was also a talented seamstress. She could see a dress in a store and make a perfect copy. She has an older sister, Kay, who lives in Paris, Texas. Kay is a lung transplant survivor as a result of a genetic lung conditions. Both her parents, and Cindy herself, have the lung condition. Cindy had a hard time with her health this past fall, but is finally feeling better.

Cindy married Joe, and they have two children, five grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Her son, Kurt, lives in Abilene. Kurt has 2 stepdaughters, Bethany and Jordan, and a son, Parker. Cindy of course considers them all to be her grandchildren. Her daughter, Kerri, and her husband, Eric, live in Round Rock with their children Grant and Clare.

Joe was a disabled vet who worked in construction after his service, and Cindy worked as a bookkeeper in Lynn County.  Tahoka is the country seat of Lynn County. She was elected the country treasurer for two terms. She loved the people she worked with in the courthouse, and the county commissioners were great – until they were elected and then all good sense went out the window. For the sake of her blood pressure, she decided not to run for a third term.

In 1999, Cindy and Joe decided enough of working, and they sold everything they owned in Tahoka and got an RV and began to travel around the United States. They got to see a lot of the country, and worked at RV parks in the valley of Texas.  The valley hosts lots of people who came south for the winter, lovingly called “snow birds”. Cindy says this is the most fun she ever had. She enjoyed getting to know the snow birds and they played games, and made up games, and generally had a lot of fun.

If money were no object, she would travel all the time. She has so many places she would like to visit, and says there are lots of places still in Texas that she would love to go visit but hasn’t ever been, such as Marfa. She is used to flat land and no trees, and when there are too many trees, she gets claustrophobic, but that still leaves a lot of Texas left to see.

While Cindy and Joe were travelling, they considered Abilene to be their home base. When they moved to Abilene, Joe and Cindy began to look for a church. They had been lifelong Baptists but they visited different churches of different denominations and were moved to join Aldersgate UMC because the congregation was so welcoming and friendly.

Joe passed away in 2012, and Cindy decided to move closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She chose Taylor, and moved here in late July 2018.

She joined Taylor FUMC in September, and she has found this church to be welcoming and friendly like their church in Abilene. She says the entire church is friendly and that Marsha Beckermann, Evelyn Farnham and Vesta Ryan were particularly welcoming to her. She likes being made to feel as if she is part of a family here at the church. 

Her favorite hymns are a result of the two most influential people in her life: her mother and her grandmother. She loves Amazing Grace, even though it is hard for her to sing because it was her mother’s favorite hymn and was sung at her funeral.  Her grandmother’s favorite hymn was Rock of Ages and so that is Cindy’s other favorite hymn.

Cindy’s friends describe her as funny. One said, “Listen to her talk! She says the funniest things.” Cindy admits she is puzzled about what she said that was funny. Her friends say she is loving, trustworthy, caring and giving. Cindy says she has a hard time being trusting. Perhaps that challenge led to her to expend extra effort to be trustworthy and her friends do appreciate that about her.

Her hidden talents include knitting (she says she knits well), crocheting (she says she crochets not so well), and making baby blankets. She makes crib size baby blankets, and sometimes bigger. The one she made for her grandson is so big he can wrap up in it.

In Abilene, Cindy started a ministry for parents who had stillborn premature babies or babies who died shortly after birth. Three sad occurrences led Cindy to begin this work. Cindy lost a baby at five months, and her son lost a baby as well. When her granddaughter lost twins, she knew it was important for the babies to have gowns for their burial as a comfort to the family. But all the preemie size baby clothes were far too big. She asked a lady to make gowns the size of a Barbie doll, but what that lady made was still too big. Using a doll clothes pattern, Cindy kept cutting the gowns smaller until they finally were the right size.

This experience inspired her to make more tiny clothes and donate them to the Tears Foundation, which is an organization that the hospital calls when a family loses a premature infant.  Cindy made preemie gowns, caps and blankets for up to three-pound babies. She hopes to continue that ministry here as well. 

We are so lucky to have Cindy as a part of our church, with all her talents and caring. Make sure you take the time to have a chat with her!

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight, Susan Maberry
January 2019
by Robin McKinley  
Susan Maberry was born in Russellville, Arkansas. Nestled between the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, Russellville is in the Arkansas River Valley. As a small child, Susan’s family moved around Arkansas, but by the time she was in kindergarten, they had settled in Beaumont, Texas.  Susan lived in Beaumont all the way through high school.
Susan’s dad was a physician. At first, he practiced as a GP, but later switched to anesthesiology. Her mother was a school teacher. Her parents met in Floyd, Arkansas, where her mother was teaching at the time. 
Susan says she misses the freedom of being a kid. She says, “I used to leave my house and go anywhere I wanted to. No one knew where I was. I was supposed to go to violin lessons, but no one knew and no one cared.” Finally, her mother did find out from the violin teacher that Susan hadn’t been going but she was not upset. “The Lord had to be watching out for me.  I can’t believe I survived,” Susan muses.
Susan had four siblings, three sisters and a brother. Her older sister died a few years ago, but her brother and other two sisters live in Austin and Round Rock. Moving closer to them is why Susan came to Taylor.
After high school, Susan entered Southwestern University in Georgetown as a pre-med student. She loved science and the technical aspects of pre-med, but decided medicine was not for her. She changed her major but dropped out of school for a while, later finishing her degree at the University of Houston.
Susan has one son, Aaron. He works in computers, analyzing and setting up computers for companies. Even as a child, he was brave and would try anything. An adventurous guy, he served in the Navy in the Persian Gulf. His first enlistment was on a ship which was decommissioned, and then he re-enlisted and that ship was decommissioned as well. He has two daughters, Chloe who is 21, and Carly who is 19. They live with their mother in Lee Summit, Missouri.
The most fun Susan ever had was raising her son. Susan remembers, “The things that came out of his mouth and the things he thought were so funny. I loved being pregnant, and being with him. I was kind of lonely as a kid so having someone there all the time was wonderful.”
At one point, Susan worked at a newspaper in Beebe, Arkansas. Since it was a small-town newspaper, Susan did everything. “It was so much fun,” says Susan. “I got to cover basketball games and chamber dinners. Dinners were great and I got to share in the good food and then write about it.” Susan lived many years in Port Arthur, working at a law firm for 13 years as a billing secretary for two sections of the firm:  labor and intellectual property.
Now, Susan keeps herself busy with substitute teaching for lower elementary classes. She reports she loves the “baby-ness” of the students. “They are so cute and sweet,” she says.  She also volunteers for whatever is needed at the church. First attending the 8:30 service, Susan joined in October 2017, and she switched to the 10:30 service when the earlier service was discontinued. She remembers Don Hughes greeting her most warmly and made her feel like someone knew she was there.  She soon threw herself into helping out at this year’s Pumpkin Patch. Susan appreciates the friendliness of Taylor FUMC.  She loves the sharing of joys and concerns, and the passing of the peace. She has gotten to know everyone from these activities in the church service, and from her volunteering. Reluctant to admit to any “hidden talents”, Susan did say she liked to paint landscapes and animals, especially cats and dogs. She also likes to play the piano but, she is quick to add, not for anybody else.
Susan has already joined the choir, singing soprano. She has sung in choirs since she was 12. “I loved my high school choir,” says Susan. “It was my outlet.” She still sees friends she made in choir during high school. Her favorite hymn is Amazing Grace. She loves the story of its author, John Newton, who was a slave runner. His conversion experience and grace convinced him to change his life, and to leave the slave trade.
Be sure to say a big hello to Susan, and welcome her as a part of our Taylor FUMC family!

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight
Mary Pearl Sutton
April 2018
Mary Pearl Sutton was born in Hutto.  Her grandparents migrated from Sweden, and her grandfather helped build the Methodist Church in Hutto. Mary Pearl was baptized in this church, which is also the very church that was moved recently to a new location in Hutto.  Her grandfather owned the property that now houses the Home Depot in Hutto.
Mary Pearl had seen hard times in her life.  Her mother divorced when she was twelve and they experienced some lean times.  She doesn’t dwell on those hard times but rather with her quick laugh and keen sense of humor, she looks at life more philosophically and focuses on the positive things in life.  She prefers to use her fantastic memory to remember many stories about Taylor and the many years she has lived here.  She also uses it to remember all the accomplishments of her daughter and her granddaughters and her great grandchildren, but more about them later.
When Mary Pearl was 12, she and her mother moved to Taylor and Mary Pearl began attending school here.  She went through the rest of her school years in Taylor.  Here’s a fun fact from her school years:  when she was a senior in high school, she took American History from T. H. Johnson who was then the football coach at Taylor High School.  The elementary school in Taylor is named after him.  She graduated from Taylor High School.
Mary Pearl started working immediately after high school since she had to pay for all her living expenses, including her dry cleaning.  She even paid her share for purchases her mother made for the house such as a new lamp.  She worked at a record shop for eight months, and then was recruited to work for Lone Star Gas as a bookkeeper.   The woman she replaced was leaving because she was expecting.  Mary Pearl and the other employees pitched in to give her a bassinet.  Later, the baby who slept in that bassinet became Mary Pearl’s son-in-law!  Mary Pearl laughs that at the time she never knew that in the future she would have grandchildren who would also sleep in that bassinet.
When she had first moved to Taylor, Mary Pearl began attending church at Taylor First United Methodist Church which was then located at 4th St. and Talbot.  She went all through her school years in Sunday School and when she decided to marry in 1946, of course, she chose the old church for her wedding. 
Although Mary Pearl had arranged for the ceremony months in advance, the pastor didn’t write the date onto the calendar, so he forgot about it and went out of town. Mary Pearl didn’t find out she was missing a preacher until the rehearsal dinner. Her groom called his mother who arranged for the pastor of Tenth Street United Methodist, Reverend Gill, to perform the ceremony.  He said he was more used to marrying people in front of a Model T Ford than in a church.
Needless to say, this left a negative impression on the newly married Suttons.  They transferred their membership to Tenth Street UMC and worshipped there for many years.  However, when their daughter Susan was about 12, she was in a Sunday School class of all boys and the boys teased her so relentlessly that the Suttons decided to return to First UMC.  By this time, First UMC had moved to its new location on Lake Street.  Susan played volleyball during her school years at First UMC.  Mary Pearl has been a member of First UMC ever since.  Her favorite hymn is How Great Thou Art, and her second favorite is Amazing Grace.
Mary Pearl has had many fun times in her life.  She fondly remembers a trip her family took in 1964. She and her husband drove to California with Susan, and Shelly, a friend of Susan’s.  Shelly’s family struggled to make ends meet, so this was a great treat for her as well as fun for Susan.  They went to the Disneyland and the Lion’s convention.  The girls had a marvelous time at the park and enjoyed a lot of freedom at the convention interacting with other kids.
In 1968, Mary Pearl and her best friend, Peggy, opened a dress shop on Main Street in Taylor selling both misses and juniors dresses, blouses, slacks and lingerie.  They operated the store in the location where the Nest is currently housed.  Mary Pearl’s mother had worked in a dress shop so they had some advice on their venture.  With Mary Pearl’s Susan and Peggy’s three children in school, the two entrepreneurs had a blast operating the shop.  They used innovative advertising techniques, such as using Peggy’s connection with the radio station to get promotions, and also having Susan wear their fashionable dresses and dance in the window of the store.  Susan loved the dancing and also working in the shop which led her to her present career of department store buyer. 
The shop allowed Mary Pearl to meet people and visit with them, which she loved.  As a good Swede, she had coffee ready to offer customers.  They went to Dallas to market to procure their inventory and had advice and help from their friend, Dot.  There, Mary Pearl put to use her good shopping talents, and her uncanny ability to put different outfits together.  Mary Pearl smiles, “Many times, people think I have on something new, but I’ve only put my clothes together in a new way.”
Mary Pearl was married for 48 years and then divorced.  She has one daughter, two granddaughters, and five great grandchildren – three girls and two boys.  It probably cannot be overstated how important family is to Mary Pearl and it is hard to get her to talk about anything else.  She is very proud of her daughter’s and her granddaughters’ accomplishments, as well as their husbands’.
Her daughter, Susan, while in high school, sang in a choral group called the Coryells.  They won first place three years in a row in the school talent competition.  The group also performed at many conventions and meetings. Mary Pearl proudly shows the group’s write up and picture that was printed in the power company’s newsletter.
Susan attended the University of Texas and got a degree in Fashion Merchandising.  She lives in Fort Worth and is a buyer for the Texas-based, international chain: Dillard’s Department Store. Susan and her husband have two daughters:  Reagan and Raeley.
Reagan with to Texas Tech and then Oklahoma State for 3 years.  She got a masters and a PhD in Child Psychology.  She landed an internship at John Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.  She and her husband now live in Fort Worth with their two daughters (Mary Pearl’s great granddaughters), Cara, 5, and Einesley, 6 months.
Raeley went to Texas A&M.  She and her husband both went to medical school at North Texas State, and then to Wake Forest, North Carolina for internships.  Then Raeley received a fellowship at Texas Children’s’ Hospital in pediatric intensive care.  Both she and her husband work at Dallas Children’s’ Hospital now.  They have a daughter, Adelynn, and two boys, Hunter, 2, and Nolan, 3 months.
With all her own accomplishments, Mary Pearl is most proud of her family’s accomplishments.  She brings much sunshine to her church family.  Be sure to give Mary Pearl a hug and tell her how much you appreciate her being a member of our church family!
By Robin McKinley

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight
Delta Underwood

January 2018

Delta was born in Binghamton, New York, which is 10 miles north of Pennsylvania, and 4 hours northwest of New York City. Her grandfather worked at a foundry in the area making cast iron pans. Her mother came from a family of 10, and her father came from a family of 8, so although she has only one brother, she has dozens of cousins. Her mother and father both worked for the Endicott Johnson Company which manufactured shoes. Her mother put the linings into the shoes, and her father took care of the boilers.

After graduating from Binghamton North High School, Delta met her future husband, David Mosher, at church. They had six children, 4 boys and 2 girls. Four of her children still live in the Binghamton area, one lives in Texas, and one just moved to Oklahoma. Delta recently got to spend a week with each of her kids in New York when she went to celebrate her mother’s 96th birthday. Now, her family has expanded to include 12 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren, with another great on the way.
Raising her six fine children is what Delta considers her greatest success in life. She stayed home with the children until she divorced, and then she supported the six kids on her own by operating a paper route. The paper route was fifty miles long out into the country up into the hills “God took care of us,” says Delta, marveling that she was able to keep 6 kids fed, clothed and housed on what she earned from the paper route. Not only did she have to support the kids, but she had to pay for the gas to run the route, as well as keep the car running. “The numbers just didn’t add up. God had to be making it happen.”
In her own “endless pot” Stone Soup story, Delta once made stew for the family for supper. Not only did the seven in the family eat supper, but each child had a friend, and her son Wesley remembers having 3 bowls of the stew himself. Delta figures 30 bowls of stew were served. “It was only a regular sized pot,” Delta remembers. “It was a miracle that we got that many servings out of it.”
Those hard times had their own kind of fun. She would pick up her youngest son from kindergarten and they would drive the 25 miles to the end of the route, and then get treats and lunch from a store. He would help with the route, and his pay off was the treats. He loved riding with her. For a bit of fun, Delta used to drive 80 mph on the back roads. Because of a mutual friend, the cops would only shake their finger at her.
Delta remembers many good times with her kids, including packing up the crew with strollers and a picnic lunch and walking 3 miles to the beach on the lake for a day of swimming and picnicking. And if the weather was too bad to go out, they would run around the house chasing each other and having a grand time.
Delta moved to Texas 15 years ago. She worked at the Crossings Spa Center on Lake Travis. She loved it there. It was beautiful, and on breaks she could sit outside and enjoy nature. On the Fourth of July, she could sit by the pool and watch fireworks.
Delta joined Taylor FUMC five years ago. “Shelly and I came to choir rehearsal on Wednesday night, and then we sang for Sunday services, and joined the church,” she remembers. Vesta Ryan and Bob Walker welcomed her most warmly, and she has been a faithful church and choir member ever since. “I love the way that the church feels like a family,” says Delta. “If it didn’t, I wouldn’t stay!”
Her favorite hymn is “To God Be the Glory.” She loves it because it praises God in a robust way, and she loves to sing the harmony.
Delta has a hidden talent of knowing American Sign Language. She used to sign songs, and could translate although she says signing songs is much easier.
Delta would love to travel to Hawaii, but she confides she wouldn’t come home again. She loves beaches and spends as much time near water as she can. She has researched Hawaii, and has planned her budget, her itinerary as well as her accommodations – which would be a cabin at the edge of the jungle in sight of the beach. She’s saving up her money to go. She would love to spend the rest of her days there.
I, for one, hope she doesn’t save up the money too fast, because Delta is such a gift of us here for her service and her singing. Give her a hug the next time you see her.


By Robin McKinley

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

Marsha Beckermann
September 17, 2017
Marsha Brandt Beckermann was born in Houston and married Raymond Beckermann in 1977.  Marsha and Raymond joined FUMC Taylor in December of 1980. Marsha and Raymond have two sons, Christopher and Daniel, two daughters-in-law, Michelle and Amber, and two grandsons, Brandt and Turner. 
In 1960, she moved to Seabrook just 5 blocks from Galveston Bay.  Just days before the Hurricane Carla made landfall, Marsha had a dress up birthday party with 10 or so of her friends.  In the photo taken at the party, the girls all went a sheltered side of the house, but still all the veils and dresses were blowing one direction.  That night, just before dark, the National Guard came around with bullhorns saying all families had to evacuate or the National Guard would move them. 
Marsha’s parents loaded up Marsha and her brother, David, plus the dog and cat.  They went to her paternal grandparents’ house in Wallis.  By the second day, there was no electricity and they were pummeled with rain and wind, but Marsha remembers that time fondly because of several things. 
First, her father taught them how to take a bath in one quart of water, which he had learned in the navy.  “I thought that was the coolest thing,” says Marsha.  Also, their grandmother taught them how to play Canasta with 3 decks.  There were so many cards that young Marsha could barely hold them.  And the experience of seeing the hurricane, especially the eye of the hurricane, was an experience Marsha will never forget.
The heavy rain and winds stopped, and sunshine came out.  Her father said, “Y’all go out with me.”  They looked up in the vortex of the storm.  Thousands of birds were flying desperately, caught in the eye wall.  Within 15-30 minutes, the winds picked up and started slamming the other side of the house. 
When they got back to Seabrook, their house was spared, and only lost 3 shingles, but all around were the effects of the hurricane.  Debris was piled up 10 -1 5 feet high.  Spears of glass and even grass stems were blown through telephone poles.
In 1961, President Kennedy announced the goal of putting a man on moon.  This goal brought very exciting times to Marsha’s community because NASA began to build the space center at Clear Lake.  Seven astronauts and their families were members of Marsha’s church:  Seabrook Methodist Church.  Scott Carpenter’s son was in Marsha’s 6 or 7th grade class.  For show and tell, Astronaut Carpenter sent space food samples – astronaut squeeze packages of peaches and chicken salad.
Marsha’s maternal grandmother got her interested in nutrition as a young child.  In the 1930s, her grandmother was conscious of spending the grocery money to buy whole wheat bread and whole grains.  She continued her interest in health and nutrition her whole life.
Once her grandmother brought home ten pounds of organic carrots.  Marsha started salivating because she knew there would be carrot juice.  Her grandmother said, “They have to be scrubbed first.”  She put little Marsha up on a step stool, and Marsha kept going until they were finished.
Marsha took art lessons from a retired commercial artist, Mr. Fred Weis.  He offered free lessons and all supplies to any kid in the neighbor who wanted to come.   Marsha found she loved art.
When she started university at SW Texas State in San Marcos (now Texas State), she first studied art but she found academic art to be stifling.  “I don’t want to produce art on demand for a grade for a professor,” she says. 
At SWTS, she also was studying German, and during the summer, she and a friend decided to go to Germany.  They signed up to be in a work exchange program but when the government cancelled the program, they decided to go anyway. They each had $300 in travelers’ checks and they would stay until they ran out of money.  They lasted 11 weeks.  Their moms and dads were amazed.
After that summer, she transferred to UT and she changed her major.  In 1974, she got a BA in Psychology.  During her senior year, she started exploring job opportunities and found a BA in Psychology was rather limiting.  She switched over to a pre-med track and filled her electives with microbiology, bio chemistry, and human nutrition.  After a year’s break, she came back in January ’76 and got a BS in Biochemistry and Nutrition in ’77 and later become a registered dietician. 
In October ’78, Marsha was hired at UT.  She was the first registered dietician for residence halls at UT, she managed five kitchens and 6000 students until 1990.
During that time, Marsha implemented many innovations in the kitchens, including computerizing the entire recipe and food service operation.  She supervised the student workers who coded recipes and developed nutrition program tours for students who led tours through the residence halls.  She was featured in a report on the CNN show “On the Menu.”
The sports nutrition niche becoming de rigeur in 1980s.  Marsha became very interested in pursuing that area in her career.  She went and introduced herself to Food Service Manager of Longhorn dining room.  He was interested in computerizing his system, so he created a job for Marsha, and she was able to pursue her interest.  They had to do some extensive remodeling of the Longhorn Dining Hall so that she would have an office and a ladies’ room.  She became the first sports nutritionist at UT.  Marsha worked as a sports nutritionist until her retirement.
The next time you see Marsha a big hug, and congratulate her on all her accomplishments and all the gifts she brings to Taylor FUMC.  You might even be able to twist her arm and get her to fill you in on all the interesting tales that wouldn’t fit into the Member Spotlight!
Written by Robin McKinley

Member Spotlight, Jean Stevens

Member Spotlight
Jean Stevens
August 27, 2017
Lois Jean Clark Stevens was born in Beverly, Kansas during the Great Depression.  Her family teases her that when she was born it created a deep depression all over the world.  The family moved to WaKeeney, Kansas when Jean was five years old.  Her father was an International Harvester dealer, and her mother was a housewife and active in the church.  She has an older sister, Beth Galloway.

Jean got her degree from Texas State College for Women, now Texas Women’s University.  While at the university, Jean heard a choir that so moving that she changed her major from education to music education and she’s been involved with music ever since.  She didn’t major in music because a recital was required and she didn’t want to do that.  She did accompany many recitals of other music students.  After graduating, she taught music in public schools for 3 years.

While she was living in Brian and teaching music in the public schools, Jean went with a friend to a Texas A&M yell practice.  There she met a handsome young man named Leland.  After that, she only had one date with one other person.  The rest were with Leland.  She and Leland married in August 29, 1953.

They have four children.  Beth Ann, William Wesley (Bill), Jeanette, and Leland Clark (Lee).  Beth lives in New Mexico, Jeanette in Houston, Bill in Austin and Lee lives near Dallas.  The kids grew up in Houston, but after they had flown the nest, Leland got a job in Taylor, and Jean and Leland moved here.

When they first came to the Taylor FUMC, they received a warm welcome, especially from Debi Tucker.  “I like the friendliness and caring of Taylor FUMC.  People really care,” Jean reports.  She loves Bible Study.  “I look forward to Mondays,” she says.

Jean played piano and organ for worship services at Taylor FUMC for 24 years, as well as many duets.  Though it is difficult for her to choose a single favorite, she says “I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry” is her favorite hymn because she loves the words to it.  You can find it in The Faith We Sing, No. 2051, and the first verse goes:

“I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.”
Jean started playing piano so young she doesn’t even remember starting to play the piano.  “We had a piano in our house,” she says.  “I took lessons in the first grade, but I didn’t learn how to read music so my mother took me out of those lessons.  In the third grade, I started again, and started learning how to read notes.” 

Jean played the oboe the high school band, but says she could never get a decent sound out of it.  “I sounded like a snake charmer,” she laughs.  Piano was always her primary instrument and she accompanied choirs in high school and choirs and UIL solos.

Her friends describe her as musical, likeable, and ready to laugh.  Even talking to Jean for a short time, you will notice she has that light-hearted spirit that leads to a ready laugh.

The most fun she’s ever had was doing musical things.  Her family is very musical although they all had their own teachers.  “I have accompanied my children but I never taught them.  I didn’t want their musical practice to be compared with make your bed,” she says.

While living in Houston, Jean accompanied a musical group called “The Classics”.  They sang Broadway-type music and sang for conventions and other events.  They rehearsed at Jean’s house, so her kids heard them practice.  Once, Beth went to a performance, and said in surprise, “Mother, you’re really good!”

Sometimes things happened in the performances that led to Jean being a stronger person.  Once when accompanying The Classics, Jean performed on an upright piano.  There was a vase on the piano that wobbled as she played.  Her eyes had to share time between the music and the vase to keep track of it!  “I had fear and dread that it would fall over on me during the performance,” she laughs.

Another time, the performance piano was so out of tune that she had to look down at her fingers on the keys to make sure she was playing the right keys.  The women sang in tune and the piano played out of tune.  The group could do nothing but laugh about it.

“Most performances were okay, just sometimes things happened that we were not expecting,” Jean says.

Among Jean’s hidden talents are the quite diverse skills of dramatic reading and water skiing.  When she was in high school, she gave a dramatic reading and went to state and got a 1.  “That talent is pretty well hidden because I wouldn’t be able to do that now,” Jean grins.  And her other talent is water skiing, although she hasn’t done that for a while.

If she had the chance to travel she would like to go abroad.  “I’ve never been to Europe and I would like to go to England and Italy.  I would like to see where Shakespeare grew up in Stratford on Avon,” she says.

We are so blessed to have Jean in our congregation.  Give her a hug and your thanks for her many years of service the next time you see her!

Written by Robin McKinley

Member Spotlight, Vesta Ryan

 Member Spotlight

July 16, 2017

Vesta Ryan

By Robin McKinley

On a snowy January 23, in Wier, Texas, a baby girl was born.  She didn’t breathe, so the doctor sent the grandmother to get hot water and cold water.  She gathered snow in a pan for the cold, and filled another with the hot water.  The doctor alternated the baby’s feet from cold to hot and back again.  Finally, the baby gasped, and began to breathe.  Thank you, Lord, for the life of Vesta Ryan.  And Vesta has always believed that God let her live because He had a purpose for her.  The FUMC of Taylor knows that to be true.
Christened Vestadel, as a combination of her father and her mother’s name, Vesta chose to shorten her name when she learned in school that Vesta was the name of a goddess.
To get married, Vesta’s parents had to go to Georgetown to get a marriage license.  Her mother and father went by a Pastor Abbott’s house on the way to Georgetown.  “Can you marry us?”  The preacher said yes.  His children were running around snotty nosed, rumpled, and dirty.  Her mother thought, “Oh my goodness, those children are going to be at my wedding.”  To her surprise, when they returned from Georgetown, the children were all spic and span and dressed in their Sunday clothes.  But when her mother and father arrived, her mother literally had cold feet.  “I can’t get married with cold feet,” she said.  So, the preacher’s wife warmed a pan of water and her mother put her feet in, and then the marriage could proceed.  The preacher’s wife stood for them.
Her daddy was a master carpenter and many of the cabinets and bookcases in Taylor homes today were built by her daddy.  Vesta remembers, “He was a little bitty pipsqueak and red-headed.” 
During World War II, Vesta’s father and mother worked in the ship yards in Orange, Texas.  Her mother worked as an electrician wiring ships and her father did carpentry.  Her mother and father worked on two of the same ships.  When it came time for those two ships to be launched, Vesta, aged 10 or 11, was invited to see the launch. She still remembers vividly that one of the ships was launched straight out, but the other was launched on its side.  To get the ship into the water, men carried stalks of bananas for the ship to slide on, and the boat slide sideways into the water.

While in the fourth grade in Orange, Vesta got her first calling.  One of the girls in the school had her leg ripped open because a loose screw cut her as she slid down the playground’s metal slide.  Because she wanted to help, Vesta thought, “Oh God, I want to be a nurse.”
After the war ended, and the end of the school year in Orange ended, the family moved to Taylor in ’46, and Vesta started her freshman year at Taylor High.  About that time, her mother decided she wanted to be a nurse, and so while Vesta went to school, her mother did too.  She passed her boards Vesta’s sophomore year.  Taylor kids loved Vesta’s mother.  “My kids don’t cry when she gives a shot,” her patients’ mothers said.
In 1950, Vesta graduated 13th in a class of 68 from Taylor High having won several awards in school.  Her senior year she was voted Miss THS by the students.  She was an A student except, she admits, for English 4 where she could never get over an 89.  She was also the high school’s representative at Girls’ State. 
When she first moved to Taylor, her family went to First Christian Church.  She later met Edward in Sunday School.  The first time they met he had a patch on his face.  He had been in the war, but this injury was from a wreck in his car.  He drove down the street by the hospital, and a piece of lumber with no flag caught his face.  Blood streaming down his face, he got out of his car and went into the hospital.  Later he would remark on how convenient that was.
Edward and she were in the choir and Sunday School together.  They would go to church, come home and eat with Mother and Daddy, then later go to night church. 
For a while, Edward quit coming to see her.  Vesta remembered Edward saying he didn’t like seeing girls go to town with a bandana covering curlers in their hair.  One day, her grandmother asked her to go get a spool of pink thread.  Vesta took off down the street hairs in curlers topped with a bandana, and long pants. Who would she run into but Edward?
About that time, Vesta was working a summer job at a department store selling men’s socks.  Edward came in, saying he needed socks, but he asked Vesta for a date.  “I already have a date,” said Vesta.  “Well, how about Saturday?”  “No, I’m busy.”  “Okay, then, will you go to Sunday evening service with me?” Having asked 3 times, Vesta finally said yes.  The rest, as they say, is history.
On December 3, Edward asked Vesta to marry him.  “You don’t have to give an answer today,” he said.  Vesta was ready to say yes, but he said, “No, think it over.”   Two days later, they went for hamburgers, and he asked if Vesta had an answer.  She said yes.  Neither of them could eat so they gave their hamburgers to a dog hanging around the cafe.  Edward gave Vesta an engagement ring for Christmas.
Edward and Vesta got married on Monday morning at 7 a.m. on June 26, 1950, one month after she graduated from high school.  They didn’t want to get married on Saturday night because they would miss church on Sunday.  So, they married early Monday morning.  The church, which held 200, was full.  The congregation dressed in their work clothes so they could head on to work after the ceremony.  Edward’s folks said goodbye, and the newlyweds went to her mother and daddy’s to say goodbye.  Her daddy was eating a bowl of cereal, so she sat down and ate a bowl of cereal with him.  They were heading to Carlsbad, but they stopped in Pecos.  She put her orchid on the car and forgot, so she lost it as they drove away.
Edward had bought a home, and Vesta’s mother and her 5 sisters secretly prepared the home for them while they were on their honeymoon.  The men moved in the furniture, and the women settled everything else in.  When they returned home, everything was in its place, even down to flowers on the coffee table.  The water and gas were connected, thanks to Edward’s aunt who paid for the connections. 
Edward worked in the funeral home, and Vesta worked at the bank for 32 years.  She did almost every job at the bank, and most of all, she loved teller work. 
Vesta’s third calling was to be a teacher.  So, she wanted to be a missionary, a nurse and a teacher, and she came to be all three.  She taught her kids both at home and at church, and taught dozens of other kids and adults in Sunday School, as well as substitute teaching for a couple of years after she retired.  She served as a nurse to her kids as well as many others, serving as camp nurse at church camp for every year her children went.  And in 2015, she was able to join a missionary trip to Uganda.
Vesta has three children, six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. Her youngest granddaughter is getting married this weekend.

Another of Vesta’s talents is sewing.  Her grandmother sewed, and Vesta would sit by her side and watch her.  Vesta made all her going away clothes, and she sewed for children.  Later, someone at the bank said, “My daughter’s getting married.  Could you make the bridesmaids dresses?”  Vesta agreed and made six dresses.  So that started it all.  She never advertised or asked for work, but she has been kept busy with prom dresses and wedding dresses ever since.  “I love it,” says Vesta.  “I feel like I’m part of their families.”
Vesta has been a member of Taylor FUMC since 1983.  The preacher, Mark Childress, was most welcoming to them, and she has been a faithful member ever since.  “I like the church because it is my family.”  Her own family is far away – Gary is in Ft. Wroth, Diana is in Indiana, and Donna will be in Chad.  Vesta’s favorite hymns are “It is Well with My Soul,” “In the Garden,” and “Eagle’s Wings.”

This writer could tell you so much more about Vesta, and has left so many things out.  You will have to go talk to her and find out more about this precious gift of God who graces our church with her presence.

Member Spotlight, Amber Beckermann


Member Spotlight
Amber Beckermann
April 28, 2017
Amber Beckermann was born in Georgetown, and moved to Taylor when she was four. She is the oldest of three children in her close-knit family. Her sister, Shelby, is two years younger, and her brother, Dustin, is 7 years younger. Her mother, Monica Johnson, has worked for State Farm in Austin for 34 years. Her dad, Joe Johnson, does bidding for an Austin company, Texas Cutting and Coring. Amber and Daniel Beckermann, a long-time member of First UMC of Taylor, married three years ago on December 13, and have a darling baby boy, Turner, who was born last July 16. Daniel works for Brant Plumbing which is located in Austin, but he works all over wherever he is called. Amber counts her family as her biggest success in life. Her family is very open and talk about everything. She has a really healthy family which is a great support system.
Amber is very close to her grandmother, Dorothy, who she calls Granny. Granny tells a story of when Amber was little and in trouble with her mother. She was supposed to be sitting in the corner. Granny telephoned her mother during Amber’s time out and her mother confessed that she was close to spanking Amber. Amber piped up and said, “You can’t spank me because I am so precious. Granny says so.”
Amber was very close to her grandfather, too, who recently passed away at the age of 89. He had been sick and gotten better, but then worsened and died. So the family was not prepared. It was a very tough time for Amber. Her grandfather, along with her Granny, was the glue that holds the family together. Amber realized, “I knew I had to be stronger for my family.”
Amber works at Trinity Lutheran with the 3- and 4-year-olds. She started there last October. “I like it a lot,” says Amber. She has worked with kids since she was 17 (a LONG time ago, not!) She loves working with kids because they are all so different and they are excited about what they’re learning. One thing she misses about being a kid herself is taking naps. (Somehow with a little baby at home, this seems beyond understandable.) She tells the kids, “You will miss this when you are older.”
She worked for State Farm for three years, but didn’t like sitting behind a desk all day, so when the opportunity arose to work with children again, she took it. She says her dream job would be to be a counselor for children, especially those that have mental disabilities. She would like to work with kids who need special attention and be someone who has the time to give it to them.
If money were no object, Amber would be a stay-at-home mom. She would take Turner and go do fun things. “I’d spend as much time with him as I could,” she says. She would also do charity work.
Amber joined FUMC of Taylor this year in March. Formerly, she went to St. Mary’s in Taylor. Before joining, of course she knew Turner’s proud grandparents, Marsha and Raymond Beckermann, and she knew Shelli Cobb. The whole congregation, especially Vesta Ryan, was warm and welcoming. Amber is a big fan of Pastor Sela, and she likes how laid back the church is with an emphasis on being there to worship and be happy with each other’s fellowship. “Everyone wants to be there and help. There is a family-type feeling,” Amber says. Her favorite hymn is “Eagle Wings”. She loves the way it can fit in any mood or any situation. When sorrow hits, it comforts. When joy comes, it expresses that, too.
One of Amber’s hidden talents is cooking. She doesn’t have a single special dish so you could say her specialty is trying new things. “I cook really well and I love to cook. I like trying new recipes,” she says. Happily, Daniel is not a picky eater, and he enjoys the new recipes.
Another thing church members may not know is that when Amber was attending junior college she played softball. She loves to play. Both she and her sister played softball since they played T-ball as children. Amber doesn’t play anymore, but her sister is a softball coach at Ranger Junior College.
After junior college, Amber began to attend Texas State. She is still taking classes there, and is finishing as she is able. She is majoring in Applied Arts and Sciences, with special emphasis on Elementary Education, Psychology, and one more area still to be chosen.
Her friends describe her as an outgoing, people person who likes to look at the positive side of things. Her mother-in-law adores her and says she is the ideal daughter-in-law.
That positive nature shows up when Amber says that her life has taught her that you learn as you go. She says she hasn’t done everything by the book, but she has found love and started a family and she is doing what she loves – working with kids. Her life reminds her that measuring up to the status quo isn’t that important.
When asked about the most fun she’s had, Amber has a hard time choosing. She has a lot of fun with her friends and family. Her wedding day was amazing. Turner’s birth was amazing. She finds fun in large things, but also in small ways. Once when she was a junior in high school, she was at a softball tournament. After the tournament, they and her friends were at the hotel. They were watching something on TV, and one of the girls made a comment. “It’s a beached whale.” “We all died of laughing,” she reports. Maybe you had to be there, but “fun in life comes from making jokes, being fun, and silly. It was a great experience,” she says.
Amber’s eyes light up when asked where she would like to travel. “Europe,” she says. Which country? No one in particular but all over Europe. “There are so many places to go and such much history and culture. That would be amazing. I love history. I could sit and watch the history channel all the time.”
We are so lucky to have such a brilliant light in the world as Amber as a part of FUMC of Taylor. Be sure to give her a big hug and welcome her to the congregation.
Written by Robin McKinley