Corne Taylor, 109: Conyers woman began work life as child to help support family

Back in the early part of the last century, Corene Taylor used to catch the train from Rockdale County to Atlanta and spend the week looking for jobs. Still in her early teens, she often found part-time work as a maid, washing and ironing clothes, cleaning yards for 5 — sometimes 10 — cents a day, staying with a cousin during the week.

The nickels and dimes she saved, she handed over to her parents who worked as sharecroppers while raising their children. Her life would become dedicated to church and family.

“Mother” Corene Taylor, 109, of Conyers died Saturday of natural causes at Rockdale Health Care Center with her family in attendance. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Thursday at Macedonia Baptist Church in Conyers. Interment will be at Peeks Chapel Cemetery in Conyers.

Born in Cobb County, Mrs. Taylor was the seventh of 14 children. She lived in Gwinnett County until the family moved to Rockdale County in 1917.

She spent her early years in ill health but attended school and helped tend her six younger siblings until she could find work.

“She said she would walk the streets in Atlanta and look for work,” her daughter, Norleen Lester, said. “Sometimes it would be for a day, sometimes for weeks, clear up through 1938.”

During her long life, Mrs. Taylor earned a reputation as a committed volunteer at church functions. Even as a child, her chief activity and entertainment surrounded church, Lester said.

“They didn’t go out for outings,” she said.

Taylor’s commitments went beyond church. She was also a skilled caregiver.

Her niece, Ruby Camp, credits her with saving her life when, as an infant in 1931, doctors had all but given up on quieting a fever she had developed.

Camp said her mother told her that her aunt spent days ministering to her, praying, keeping her bathed, applying ointments and giving her catnip tea. The treatments worked and Camp grew to consider her as a mother when her own mother died.

“She loved reading and always taught us to do right,” Mrs. Camp said.

In 1938, Mrs. Taylor moved in with her sister, assisting as a midwife. It was during this time, she met her future husband, Hayden John Wesley Taylor.

They were married for almost 50 years until his death in 1987. They had five children, two of them twins who died within a year of birth.

Her oldest grandchild, Nick Lester, remembered that she always prayed three times a day. At night, she always made sure the grandchildren got down on their knees beside her and prayed with her, he said.

“No matter what, she was a great listener and always had a Bible-based answer for your problem,” he said.