Theta Taylor

October 2, 1923 - May 17, 2015
Climax, MI



Saturday, May 30, 2015
11:00 AM EDT
Fulton Christian Church
14108 East W Avenue
Fulton, MI 49052


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Fulton Christian Church
14108 East W Avenue
Fulton, MI 49052

Prairie Historical Society
P.O. Box
Climax, MI 49034


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

VanderSalm's Flipse
1120 S. Burdick
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
(800) 232-7134
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


It seems only fitting that Theta’s journey began during a time that was as vibrant as she was. It was the Roaring Twenties when jazz music, the Charleston, and motion pictures colored the cultural fabric of America. It was in October of 1923 that Fred and Fern (Rambow) Roof were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby in Climax, Michigan. The big day finally arrived and her parents were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl named Theta Lorraine. She was the middle of five children raised on the family dairy farm. Her family was among the earliest settlers of Climax as her ancestor, Robert Roof, bought property and settled there in 1855.

Even as a young girl, Theta was a bustle of activity. She helped her dad bottle and deliver milk and assisted with their homemade ice cream business that was known for its caramel ice cream. Theta was also active in the local 4-H with her sewing while she was a teen. In fact, she and her friend, Betty Jean Nickerson, even made it to the national level with Betty’s mother as their leader. Growing up on a farm meant that there were always animals around, and Theta’s favorite was her lamb, Buckie. As a family they went camping in the trailer that her father built before such a thing could even be purchased. Theta was a student in the Climax schools and graduated as the valedictorian of the class of 1941.

New and exciting changes were in store for Theta when she met a young man who stole her heart. His name was Aaron Betz, and he was a teacher who was supplementing his income by working on her family’s farm. They were smitten and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Theta and Aaron were married on February 15, 1942, in a small and intimate wedding. The couple soon settled into their home that Theta would live in for more than 70 years. Together they welcomed two children, Rosalie and Ted, into their hearts and family. Theta and Aaron loved going out dancing and were part of a ballroom dancing club. Priceless memories were also made on the many family vacations, and she and Aaron also enjoyed playing cards with family and friends.

In 1960, Aaron died unexpectedly, leaving Theta a widow at 36. To support her family, she immediately entered the work force, working for the schools in the cafeteria during which time she also took night classes for shorthand and typing at KCC. Theta then went to work as a stenographer for Bukley and Dunton, a paper manufacturer in Kalamazoo until they closed twelve years later. Theta became the office manager at Domtar Industries where she remained until retiring in 1985.

Later on, Theta found love again with a man named Bill Taylor and they were married in 1969. The two of them enjoyed traveling together with their trailer and camping with their friends from the Climax Harvesters Camping Club. Family was always a cornerstone in her life, and that included her extended family, too. For years Sundays were spent at her parents’ home for family dinners. Christmas was always a special time of year, too, and Theta set up her extensive Christmas Village every year.

In addition to spending time with her family, Theta also kept busy with other things. She loved being out in her gardens and was known for the most glorious irises. They were so beautiful that people came from all around to see them. Theta kept a large vegetable garden as well. She was a member of the Study Club, the Prairie Historical Society, and Theta also spent 20 years as a 4-H leader teaching sewing. She was a beautiful seamstress who made many of her own clothes over the years. In addition, Theta loved photography and made treasured scrapbooks for her family. For years she was also a member of the Fulton Christian Church where she sang in the choir.

A lifelong resident of the community she loved, she was never one to worry about the things of this world, rather, her focus was on filling the days she was given with the people and things she loved. Theta was a woman of many talents that were showcased in a variety of ways whether in her yard, through her priceless scrapbooks, or in the countless projects she completed as a seamstress. Life will never be the same without Theta here. She will be deeply missed but not forgotten.

Theta Taylor died on May 17, 2015, at the Laurels of Galesburg. Theta’s family includes her children, Rosalie (Chuck) Hawley of San Diego, California, and Ted (Judy) Betz of Galesburg; three stepchildren: Brad (Penny) Taylor, Cherie (Fred) Viers and Christie (Phil) Goode; five grandchildren, Steve (Karen Decano) Hawley, Katie (Tim Mackin) Hawley, Heather (Dyami) Calari, Tara (Glen) McBride, and Eric (Jill) Betz; 16 great-grandchildren; sister, Peg (Lawrence) Jenkins of Galesburg; and her brother, Fred (Betty) Roof of Oregon. Theta was preceded in death by her husbands, Aaron Betz and Bill Taylor, and by her sisters, Marion Johnson and Freda Jenner. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. at Fulton Christian Church located at 14108 W Avenue in Fulton with Pastor Noah Miller officiating. Memorial donations may be made to Fulton Christian Church or Prairie Historical Society. Arrangements by Life Story Funeral Homes, Portage.