Elsie Gray Taylor
Dec. 18, 1920 — May 7, 2015
Well-known during her many years in Waukesha for her great smile, zest for life and love of travel, Elsie Gray Taylor died on May 7, 2015 in Tahiti while on a 30day cruise of the South Pacific with her loving companion, Tom Stantial.
She was 94 years old.
Born to Clarence and Jane Fox Gray in Pittsburgh, Pa., on Dec. 18, 1920, she graduated from Waukesha High School Class of 1939. Elsie lived in Waukesha for more than 60 years, before moving to San Diego in 2010 to join family. From 1949 to 2005, she lived on Milky Way Road in a house custom designed and built by her brother.
Elsie served as secretary, then teacher at Montessori School of Waukesha from 1965-1985. An active volunteer all her life, she was the Waukesha County campaign chair for Easter Seals, deacon of the First Presbyterian Church and an active member of Service Club, Symphony League and Spring City Garden Club, among other groups.
Known for her flair for entertaining and flower arranging, Elsie gave generous and unerring support to friends and neighbors throughout her life. Her willingness to try most anything took her walking on the Great Wall of China at age 60, on safari in Africa at 80, onto a horse and a Harley for the first time at 85, and kayaking at 90.
Enrolled in the groundbreaking Wellderly Study at Scripps Health in San Diego, Elsie was selected as an example of successful aging and was featured in “Brave New World with Stephen Hawking,” a British television documentary series. Her energy and charisma prompted at least one musician to write and record a song about her.
She wrote her memoirs at age 80, and kept adding chapters.
Elsie was predeceased by three husbands and an infant son. She is survived by her brother, Edward D.
Gray of San Diego, and three daughters: Janie Hopson Anderson and Sherry Hopson Rudrud of San Diego and Peggy Hopson of Apple Valley, Minn.. In addition, she leaves behind five stepchildren: Jay (Linda) Taylor of Holcombe, Bruce (Cheryl) Taylor of New Berlin, Brad (Cheri) Taylor of Pewaukee, Larry Lattin of Bushnell, Ill., and Mary (Rick) Lattin Peterson of Rosemount Minn., niece Cynthia (Steve) Gray and grandniece Robyn Goldenberg of Chappaqua N.Y., plus 13 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.
Her daughters have planned simultaneous celebration parties on June 7 in San Diego and Apple Valley at which laughter and stories of a remarkable life will be shared.