I often run into readers in the community who like to talk about the old days of The Peninsula Gateway, when it was owned by the Taylor family and everyone worked out of an old house in town.
While it is sometimes hard for me to relate because I was hired as editor several years after the Gateway was purchased in 1995 by the McClatchy Company, it’s nice to be able to reflect on and be proud of the paper’s longtime roots in the community.
The Gig Harbor community — and this newspaper — lost someone dear to the family last week.
Betty Finch Taylor, 95, died Nov. 10 in Gig Harbor, were she had made her home since March.
Taylor was born Feb. 24, 1921, to Lillian Belle Wilkinson and Lloyd E. Finch in Gary, Indiana. She attended Gary schools and was a 1936 Lew Wallace High School graduate. Her college education at Purdue University was interrupted by World War II.
Taylor married Walter Clayton Taylor, Jr., Dec. 5, 1943, in Gary and the two made their first home at Camp White (now White City, Oregon), a U.S. Army training base near Medford.
The couple made their first home in Indiana after the war and shortly thereafter moved to San Bruno, California, where they began a lifetime of weekly newspaper ownership. Betty Taylor worked beside her husband at many weekly newspapers before getting the San Bruno (CA) Herald, The Gresham (Oregon) Outlook, The Sandy (Oregon) Post, the Newport (Oregon) News-Times, Lincoln County (Toledo, OR.) Leader and finally was involved in The Peninsula Gateway.
From 1981 to 1995, Betty and her husband Walt were part-owners, along with son Tom and his wife, Darlene, and published The Peninsula Gateway.
“Her strength was the business end of it,” Tom told me this week. “She was a role model for my wife and myself.”
Betty even continued her newspaper skills in her late years, putting out a newsletter for her retirement community.
“Her heart was still in local newspapers,” Tom said.
Taylor made her home for many years in Newport, Oregon. In retirement, the Taylors split time living in Port Ludlow and Kailua-Kona, Hawaii from 1979 until 2006 when they moved to a retirement community in Issaquah. She was an accomplished batik artist, enjoyed swimming her entire life and with her husband boated and fished the waters of Puget Sound, and the Canadian Inside Passage.
Following the death of her husband of 63 years in 2006, she moved to Issaquah to be near family.
Taylor is survived by her daughter, Susan Taylor (Al) Wehren, of Kailua-Kona, sons Thomas C. (Darlene) Taylor of Gig Harbor and Andrew C. (Junko) Taylor of Bellevue; her grandchildren, Sarah Wehren Kooiker of San Francisco; Jeffrey A. Wehren of Kailua-Kona; Nicole Taylor Jones of Gig Harbor, Brian C. Taylor of Tacoma, Samuel Y. Taylor of Tokyo, Japan, and Daniel Y. Taylor and Marina Y. Taylor of Bellevue, five great-grandchildren and her sister, Nancy Finch Briggs of Fort Meyers, Florida.
In July a celebration of life was held for Taylor with her family in Gig Harbor.