VIEWING - MONDAY APRIL 6, 2:00pm: Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611. (510) 654-0123 (Note: Immediate Family)
FUNERAL - TUESDAY APRIL 7, 11:00am: Church of the Good Shepherd, 799 52nd St, Oakland, CA 94609. (510) 653-6055. Repast to follow.
Coesther Le Dora Taylor was born January 8, 1916 to Robert and Lucy Harper Ward. The 6th of 16 children, she grew up on a farm in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Her mother’s work as a mid-wife inspired Coesther from a very young age, and she often spoke of her admiration for this work and a longstanding desire to assist her mother with delivering babies.
After marrying Edward Taylor in 1937, Coesther moved with her husband to St. Louis, Missouri where she lived for 7 years. In 1939 her son Wardess was born. During World War II she packed her young son and took a long train ride to join her husband, who had relocated to the Bay Area for work. The family would eventually settle in Berkeley, CA and in 1947 her youngest son Wilbert was born. Coesther began working in the homes of local physicians while completing her certification and training as a Psychiatric Technician, and soon she started work in the psych ward at Highland Hospital. An intense job where she frequently had to manage difficult and even dangerous patients, she worked the night shift for over 30 years. At this point a single mother, she would often take jobs during the day as well. She continued to work in the homes of many local physicians even well into her retirement simply out of love for caring for others. In 1970, Wardess found the house at 1346 Ordway - the place that she would call home for 45 years.
Rarely one to shy away from an adventure, Coesther enjoyed travelling and could always be counted on to share stories about her excursions: day trips to Reno, cruises to Alaska, and visits to family everywhere from Maui to Chicago to Mississippi. She cherished the moments she spent with family and friends and could always be counted on to snap photos memorializing every event – taking so many pictures that she was known as the unofficial family historian. She grew fruits and vegetables in her garden and was a force in the kitchen, living a healthy, organic lifestyle well before it was popular. She adored dogs and had quite a few in her lifetime. And as an active and devoted member of the Church of the Good Shepherd for most of her life, Coesther always made room for God. She held various positions within the church and even served as a member of the Board of Christian Education. She was steadfast in her faith, loved her church and its fellow members, and was a regular churchgoer well into her golden years when she could no longer attend weekly. She was mighty, quick-witted, sharp, and fiercely independent.
Coesther died peacefully in her home on March 29, 2015 at the remarkable age of 99. She is survived by her sister Lucille Walker in Chicago; her brother Dewitt Ward in Berkeley; her seven grandchildren Miles, Aaron, Shokai, Kanoa, Kaisha, Gavin and Cicely; her 8 great-grandchildren Kayleigh, Katherine, Jacob, Zane, Kyra, AJ, Shayleigh and Ryan; her great-great-grandchild Solenne; and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents Robert and Lucy; her siblings Mary, Pearl, Bessie, Robert, Jessie, Brinkley, Odessa, Narvelle, Lula, Bunyan, Joe, Sherman, and John; and her sons Wardess and Wilbert.