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Annie Louise Cowan Taylor

by Beth Rasmussen

A MEMOIR OF ANNIE LOUISE COWAN TAYLOR, 1897-1976, Written by Beth Stone Rasmussen in June of 2002

The following is my memory of a special lady, LOUISE Cowan, which I hope will be included with histories of other members of the Hiram Martin Taylor family.

On May 19, 1936, my maternal grandfather, Patriarch Hiram Martin Taylor, traveled from Salt Lake City to Murray, Utah to the home of his daughter Lydia Taylor Stone, to give me, his granddaughter, the gift of a Patriarchal Blessing on my fourteenth birthday.  Accompanying him was a friend of the Taylor family named LOUISE Cowan, who recorded Patriarchal Blessings in Pittman Shorthand; to be transcribed on a manual typewriter; then signed by grandfather and later distributed.

The above mentioned birthday was special for many reasons.  In addition to receiving my Blessing, pronounced by my own grandfather, I was impressed that LOUISE wrote shorthand so quickly and accurately.  I was prompted to learn the Gregg Shorthand method at Murray High School, also at Brigham Young University, which became a useful tool during my life.

As the Taylor family gathered together as often as possible, either in a small groups in someone’s home, or a large reunion held at S.L. Fairmont Park, everyone became better acquainted.  I enjoyed the older folks as much as my cousins, and realized that age difference didn’t matter very much.  It was always a delight to be with my parents, grandfather, aunts and uncles, many fun-loving cousins, and, sometimes LOUISE was invited.  Reunion times featured a lot of conversation to update family news; comparison in growth of the younger children; an active exciting softball game; then a delectable picnic was enjoyed.

World War II intervened, affecting most families.  Gas rationing curtailed travel.  But the Taylors continued to hold Family Home Evenings together.  Agenda featured children and adults entertaining, with wit and sage advice from Hiram.

September 14, 1943, Hiram married LOUISE in the Salt Lake Temple, where they met as temple co-workers many years before.  LOUISE now filled a void in our lives.  Grandfather had been alone since 1926.  I had been deprived of knowing Grandmother Clara, as I was only four years of age when she passed away (and, of course, no one can replace one’s own Grandmother).  However, the Taylors were blessed now to have LOUISE join the family.  Hiram and LOUISE liked to drive on Orchard Drive, Bountiful.  Ray and I recall sipping root beer floats with Grandfather and LOUISE when we were all visiting Lydia and Phil Stone in Salt Lake.

LOUISE and Hiram had only four years until sickness took over.  During the final weeks of Grandfather’s illness, LOUISE felt comforted to have Hiram’s daughter Lydia, a nurse (my mother) also, my husband Ray (WWII Med. Corps) take shifts around the clock to measure exact dosages to inject necessary medication to Grandfather.  He always smiled and thanked them for helping.  Grandfather’s earthly sojourn ended January 29, 1947.  The funeral service for Patriarch Hiram M. Taylor was recorded in Pittman Shorthand by scribe, Leone B. Rasmussen (my mother-in-law).

Through 1947-1976 I’m thankful for visits with LOUISE, as our bond of friendship grew.  Ray and our four children also enjoyed visiting “Aunt” LOUISE.  We telephoned first, then drove to 2334 S 9th E (former Cowan home) where I had met LOUISE’s brother William “Bill”, a lawyer, years ago before his death; and her older married brother, Dr. Leland R. Cowan, renowned cancer specialist.  It was evident LOUISE admired her two brothers’ various accomplishments.  The Cowan home had fine antiques, and the library shelves contained many good books.

After climbing steep steps; ringing a doorbell; visits began with LOUISE’s happy smile of recognition thru the oval glass entrance door she opened.  Her expressive, large brown eyes captured attention while she greeted each person in her soft, pleasing voice.  LOUISE was gracious, with a talent of helping everyone feel comfortable and welcome.  She was knowledgeable about various subjects from current world events to comics; conversed easily with all ages; encouraged others to share thoughts and ideas.  Also, LOUISE was a sympathetic listener.

I discovered some likes of LOUISE: Reading scriptures; classics; Shakespeare; poetry of Longfellow and Browning.  She showed talent for rhyming words, and wrote a poem entitled “The Taylors,” to honor her husband on his birthday in 1943.  She like to watch the television episodes of the “The Waltons.”  LOUISE like music, from classical instrumental to folk songs.  She encouraged me, and probably others, to play the piano for her.  I was happy to oblige!  As LOUISE like Christmas Carols, she enjoyed a light arrangement of “Twelve Days of Christmas” played by my youngest daughter, Marybeth, sung by friend Brenda.  It was fun to see the expression on LOUISE’s face while comical verses were repeated by the young, enthusiastic girls.  On another visit the two girls entertained her with a medley of “Promised Valley” music.  Mary records: ….”I was enthralled by LOUISE’s optimism which left an indescribable feeling.  Although LOUISE was confined in a wheelchair, she looked angelic as she exemplified heavenly qualities while on earth.”  Yvonne, my eldest daughter, remembers “LOUISE called her and baby Rob ‘darling’ (an adjective she used often), and she made eye contact with people she talked to.”

LOUISE acquired beautiful handwriting.  It was special to see one’s name written on an envelope containing a personal card message from her.  She inspired me to learn calligraphy.

During her last week of life spent in the Holy Cross Hospital my husband and I visited her, and while there she opened the small bedside drawer to get a photo which she place in my hand saying, “This is for you, Beth dear.”  Needless to say, it brought a flood of tears.  It is the favorite photo of my dear Grandfather Hiram that everyone enjoyed seeing on the mantle of her home from 1947 to 1976.  I felt truly blessed, indeed.

My view of the mortal remains of beloved LOUISE COWAN TAYLOR, took place in the Larkin Mortuary, 260 E Street, SLC, UT.  It was my privilege to put a handkerchief in her clasped hands, and cover her sweet face with a veil before the casket closed…

Now, I daily strive to live worthy and look forward to seeing her in the great beyond at a future Taylor family reunion.  I  close with love and a sincere desire that any who may read this will understand that a memoir of LOUISE needed to be written.

Beth Stone Rasmussen
June 30, 2002
Mesa, Arizona

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