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B. J. Taylor - A Smile For Everyone

                        BJ Taylor and Heartland High Command

Betty Jane (B.J.) Taylor, 76 of Urbana, Ohio passed away Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005 at her residence following a lengthy battle with cancer. She was a lifelong Hackney and American Saddlebred trainer.


She was born Jan. 18, 1929 in Urbana, the daughter of Errett and Ruth Elizajane (Jones) Lewis. Mrs. Taylor was a 1946 graduate of Urbana High School and a graduate of Stephens College receiving an Associate degree in retail and merchandising. She was member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Urbana.

She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Louis E. Taylor; son and daughter-in-law, Michael Jeffrey and Dr. Mindy Taylor; three grandchildren, Bradley, Justin and Jason and one great-granddaughter, Kaitlyn. She was preceded in death by her parents, one brother, and two sisters.

Long-time customer and close friend Beth Jones says of Taylor, “B.J. was a teacher, trainer, adviser, and good friend… but most of all a teacher. She was always there for you, and you never had to ask her twice for anything.”

began her career in Missouri after meeting her husband Louie while he was a student at University of Missouri and she was a student at Stephens College.


She taught a lot of children throughout her career and was known for continuing to follow their progress even after they’d moved on. Jackie Hammond tells of Taylor starting her daughter Joan at age five. “B.J. taught the kids everything about the horses,” not just how to sit in the saddle.


Taylor earned two world’s championship during her lengthy career, the first of which was in the early 50's with Lady Sue McDonald in Fine Harness while still in Missouri. In the early 60’s the Taylors moved back to B.J.’s hometown of Urbana and never left again. The second world’s championship was in 1987 with junior roadster pony, Dun Haven Regality, owned by Beth Jones.


Jones observed that horses always came first for Taylor. In fact Taylor left her wedding reception to show a horse at the Dayton Horse Show. The Taylors celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Dayton Horse Show in recent years.


Taylor was warmly regarded by all who met her. She was equally respected within the industry where she served on the board of the Ohio Saddlebred Pleasure Horse Association, was named Tri-State Trainer of the Year, 2002 UPHA Chapt. 13 Horseperson of the Year,  and in 2005 was presented the Spirit Award by the ASHA of Ohio.    


Shirley Parkinson, a Stephens College suite-mate, says of B. J. Taylor, “It didn't matter how hard the task got, or how bad things were going, she always had a ready smile for everyone.” In fact many people who saw her at shows this year were not aware that she was ill. She even showed Jones’s Hackney horse, Wentworth Lucifer, to good ribbons at this year’s Lexington Jr. League Horse Show.


A gathering of family and friends will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005 at the Vernon Funeral Home, Urbana.  Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2005 in the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany with the Rev. Tim West officiating. 

Burial will follow in Oak Dale Cemetery. Memorial gifts may be made to the Cancer Association of Champaign County.

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