Mary V. "Ginger" Taylor

May 3, 1934 ~ November 16, 2021 (age 87)


Mary V. (Ginger) Taylor

Mary Virginia (Ginger) Taylor, 87, of Strasburg, VA passed away peacefully at her home of 50 years, on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, surrounded by her family, after a short and unexpected illness.

A celebration of life is planned for 10:30am on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Woodstock, VA, where she was an active member, with a reception following.  Reverend Nathan Robinson, Ginger’s pastor and friend. will officiate; childcare will also be provided.  The church asks that all attendees to wear a mask. 

Ginger was born on May 3, 1934 in Boston, Massachusetts Margaret Mary (Canavan) Lee and to George Frederick Lee.  In addition to Boston, Ginger spent her youth in Burlington, Vermont, Dayton, Ohio, and eventually Fort Washington, Maryland, where she met the love of her life, George C. Taylor, Jr.  They married at age 17 and celebrated 56 loving years before George’s death in 2007.  They resided in Oxon Hill, MD for a time where they started their family, and in 1970, Ginger moved the family to Shenandoah County to fulfill her dream of living on a farm.    

From a very young age, Ginger had a love of animals, from the milk cart horse she fed sugar cubes to, to the park police horse that she exercised.   Her first dog was a Cocker Spaniel puppy named ‘Chico’ that she received as a Christmas present from her husband, George.  After moving to their farm in Strasburg, VA with their Siamese cat, Sinbad, and German Shepherd, Senta, Ginger and the family quickly began acquiring a plethora of animals including a herd of milk cows and horses, a few pigs and chickens, more dogs, and various wildlife that all came to call “Willow Springs Farm” home.  Ginger quickly became known in the community through her passion of animals, and in conjunction with the local Extension Office, she started the Shenandoah County 4-H Horse and Pony club and held the first club horse shows on her farm.  In addition to being a Girl Scout leader, Ginger served as a 4-H club leader for many years, continuing as a 4-H project book judge in recent years.  Because she took such an interest in her Girl Scout and 4-H members, many became lifelong friends.

Ginger had a natural gift for training animals, specifically horses and dogs, and she taught local dog obedience classes.  She spent years, actively involved in showing her German Shepherd, Katie, Collie, Heather, and later, Border Collie, Ben, in AKC obedience and tracking trials.   Ginger was regularly featured in the Shenandoah Valley Herald or Northern Virginia Daily and quickly became a reputable resource for people looking for a dog, cat, or horse.  She was honest to the core and was centered in her conviction to do right by animals, which usually included educating people about different breeds and matching them to the perfect animal.  That love and devotion quickly grew her involvement into over 40 years of dedicated service to animal rescue and the successful placement of thousands of animals.  In addition to being a founding member and former president of the Blue Ridge Dog Training Club, Ginger served as a board member and volunteer and former President of the Humane Society of Shenandoah County and was also an integral part of building the new county animal shelter in 1999.  Over the years, she worked with multiple organizations, and up until her death, she was still placing animals in their forever homes.  Ginger was a proud owner of many rescue dogs, but her most beloved pet was her 30-year-old African Grey Parrot, Ziggy, who never failed to provide entertainment to family and guests.  She also had a special place in her heart for Border Collies and rescued over a dozen through the years who lived out their final years on her farm. 

Ginger’s love and dedication to all animals, as well as her family and friends, was well known.  She was notorious for her storytelling and enjoyed sharing her honesty and her experiences in life, whether it was about growing up in Boston and life when days were harder, the animals that she’s rescued over the years and crazy encounters she’s had along the way or sharing how proud she was of her granddaughter and best friend, Jennifer, and most recently, great granddaughter, Margaret who were her greatest joys.  Ginger was known to many as “Maw”; she made her friends feel like they were part of her family and could talk to her about anything.  Ginger and her husband, George, also built many lasting friendships through their successful business, A-1 Water Testing, that they operated for many years.  Ginger greeted everyone with a smile and had an optimistic take on life that left you wanting to learn more from her.  She was a force of nature and an inspiration who will be missed by so many who loved her dearly and what she stood for.  

In addition to her granddaughter and great-granddaughter, Ginger is survived by her sister, Nancy McCarthy, of Ocean City, MD, her son-in-law, Kenny Sandy and grandson-in-law, Titus Cooper of Strasburg, VA, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.  In addition to her parents and husband, she is preceded by her brother, William Lee, son, Rick Taylor, and daughter Ellen Sandy.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Humane Society of Shenandoah County, (checks made payable to: "HSSC" and “Ginger Taylor memorial” written in the memo line, PO Box, 173 Woodstock, VA  22664) or Shenandoah County 4-H (checks made payable to: "Treasurer, VT" and “Ginger Taylor Memorial” written in the memo line,  VCE-Shenandoah Co. 4-H, 600 N. Main Street; Suite 100, Woodstock, VA  22664). 

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