Longtime Laguna Beach resident Flora M.Schoenleber Taylor passed away on Feb. 4, 2014.
She was born Sept 10, 1920, in Pasadena to Catherine and William Gray, the third of four daughters. While attending Pasadena City College, she met her best friend’s brother, James Schoenleber. They were married in 1943 in Honolulu where he worked in the Pearl Harbor ship yards.
The couple moved to Laguna Beach in 1948 when he became a principal in Charles Schoenleber and Sons Construction. She devoted her mid-adult years to raising three
children, scoring Little League games, and converting her yard to a tropical oasis.
In the 1970’s she became librarian at Aliso Elementary School, then an aide at El Morro and Thurston school libraries, jobs she truly loved.
Her husband passed away in 1975; she was proud of the many Laguna residences he built, including their “house in the woods” where she thrived for 64 years.
She married noted Laguna author Theodore Taylor in 1982. She
was Taylor’s most ardent fan, reading his manuscripts, traveling the
world with him on research jaunts, rarely missing a book tour, speaking engagement, or award ceremony. They became the elders of their tight-knit Woods Cove neighborhood, rarely missing a celebration. They spent 25 years in her home until Taylor’s death in 2006.
Flora’s favorite post-retirement pastimes were tending her beloved garden and meeting her chums for twice-weekly rounds of golf.
At 88 years old and ailing from aortic stenosis, Flora chose to participate in a medical heart valve replacement trial; she wished to be part of the science that would revolutionize heart valve treatment.
She is survived by three children, Patricia (Thomas) Killoran of Tucson, Ariz., Michael W. Schoenleber (Marcia J. Steinberg) of Sacramento, and Charles L. Schoenleber of San Diego; and by her sister, Evelyn Stevens of San Luis Obispo. She was predeceased by sisters, Dorothy Waterhouse and Catherine Mitchell. Flora was loved by her many nieces and nephews, all of whom have fond memories of her Laguna hospitality. She is also survived by Taylor’s children, Wendy (Patrick) Carroll of Fresno, Mark Taylor (ex Becky) of San Diego and Michael Taylor of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She leaves grandchildren Whitney and Caitlin Carroll, Ashley and Sean Taylor and Chris (Mary) Taylor and their children Nathaniel and Benjamin.
Flora was good-natured and gracious, a “class act” as friends and neighbors described her. Aloha, Flora, from the many who hold you dear.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Flora’s life, 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, at Hotel Laguna. The family suggests donations in her memory be sent to Friends of the Laguna Beach Library or the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club.