Nancy Charlotte Taylor (Bilski)
December 26, 1932 – July 14, 2020
Age 87 of Bloomington. We are mourning the loss of our beloved mother, Nancy Taylor, who passed away from cancer on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. Nancy was the daughter of Albert Aloysius Bilski and Genevieve Bilski, and grew up in St. Paul, where her father owned a greenhouse filled with beautiful, fragrant roses. Nancy often recalled making corsages during prom season, and helping to fill flower orders for the holidays.
During her junior-senior prom at Wilson High, Nancy noticed a tall, handsome trumpet player up on stage; the two ended up dancing the night away. David won an ROTC scholarship to Harvard and left for Boston in 1950, but drove all the way back to St. Paul during his first semester just to ask Nancy to marry him. Upon David’s graduation they wed, and David served in the Navy in the Pacific from 1954-1957. Nancy spent these years in San Diego, where Geoff was born in 1955. After David’s honorable discharge, he and Nancy returned to Minnesota, where Susan was born in 1957, followed by Jenny in 1961 and Mary in 1962, while David worked for Brown & Bigelow and then Montgomery Ward. In 1966, he took a job as a marketing executive in the textile industry with Fieldcrest Mills, and the family moved to Berkeley Heights, New Jersey so that David could commute into New York City each day.
Nancy made a wonderful home for her family. She was such a kind and loving presence, not only in her children’s lives but in that of many of their friends whom she “adopted” over the years, offering advice, affection and support, and heart-to-heart conversations around the kitchen table. To this day, quite a few of these “kids” have stayed in touch with Nancy and share our grief at her loss. Nancy was also unfailingly kind and friendly to others in her community, always helping neighbors who were enduring hard times. A natural extrovert, Nancy considered the people at her local post office and grocery store her friends; she knew every single employee by name as well as all their spouses and kids, and never failed to greet them with warmth and affection.
The family lived in England from 19771981, when David’s company opened a London office to increase sales to the European market and to manage a mill in Ireland. Nancy learned to shop at the baker, butcher and greengrocer instead of at a grocery store (becoming friends with each of them, of course) and became an even better cook, learning to make everything from scratch due to the scarcity of convenience foods. The family returned to Berkeley Heights in 1981, and the children all finished college and settled elsewhere. Nancy and David travelled frequently to visit their children and grandchildren in Minnesota, California, and Germany.
After David passed away in 2013, Nancy moved back to Minnesota to be closer to family. In 2014, she moved to Nine Mile Creek, where her friendly and outgoing nature was initially a bit of a shock for the introverted Minnesotan residents. Noticing how quiet everyone was at dinner, looking shyly at their own plates, Nancy said, “Hey! Let’s share some memories! I’ll start! What do you remember about grade school?” After a week or so, Nancy’s once-silent tablemates drew attention as they laughed together, sharing stories and getting to know each other better. Nancy spent the remainder of her life as a happy and well-loved member of the Nine Mile Creek senior community, where she continued to be thoughtful and caring of others, saving her desserts for a friend with a sweet tooth and inviting friends who had moved to memory care to share meals with her in the main dining room, to give them a chance to reconnect with their friends.
We will miss her long and funny conversations; her incredible memory for past events, even from her earliest childhood; the fact that every recipe she ever made required tons of butter and went into the oven at 350 degrees; and the way she made us all feel so loved. But mostly, we’ll miss those nights of playing Scrabble together, eating ice cream and telling her jokes just to see her laugh so hard she would wheeze; those last moments when we were all together as a family, so happy and delighted with life, with each other, and with our lovely, dear and much-adored mom.
Nancy is survived by her loving brother, Jerry Bilski, and her four children, seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. (Published in the Star Tribune on July 19, 2020)