Adele Stemmler Taylor of Woodbury, Connecticut, passed away peacefully on May 21, 2021 at the age of 93. She is survived by her six grandchildren and four children: Daniel Taylor and his wife, Carol Rhodes, of San Carlos, California; Andrew Taylor of Middlebury, Connecticut; Samuel Taylor of Woodbury, Connecticut; and Martha Taylor of Windham, Maine.
“Adele will always be one of a kind, the indefatigable organizer of adventures near and far, the most earnestly optimistic person I have ever known,” wrote Jane Vercelli, one of Adele’s many friends.
Born in 1927, Adele grew up in Queens Village and Manorville, Long Island, where her father, Louis Stemmler, started America’s first archery business. She attended Long Island’s Sewanhaka High School and obtained her B.A. from Vermont’s Middlebury College. Not long after her 1948 graduation, Adele met Norm Taylor in Waterbury, Connecticut, on a blind date arranged by Adele’s college friends. They were married on July 8, 1950 in Wading River, Long Island. Norm and Adele rented an apartment on Woodbury’s Main Street, then built and lived in a home on School Street before moving to 471 Washington Road in 1968. Adele has been a devoted Woodbury resident for 71 years.
Adele’s global adventures began in Woodbury in the 1970s when she led the Taylor family in hosting high school and college students from Tanzania, Norway, Austria, England and Finland through the American Field Service (AFS) and The Experiment in International Living student exchange programs. AFS was important to Adele. She became an Area Representative and was asked to join the USA Board of Directors and then the AFS International Board of Trustees. Adele also became involved in AFS’s Educator’s Program, providing orientations for teachers from Thailand and China.
Through New Hampshire’s Interlocken Camp, Adele led American students on cultural exchange programs to China and Japan in the 1980s. She also led several cross-country skiing tours to Norway for adults. “Nana” shared her passion for adventure and travel with her six grandchildren: Greg Taylor, Kevin Taylor, Annie Taylor, Maddie Taylor, Nevada Horne and David Horne. Adele was delighted to have the entire Taylor clan join her and Norman for an unforgettable tented safari in Botswana and Zimbabwe in 2007. For nearly 50 years Adele found particular joy in the annual summer family trip to Block Island.
For all her international travel, Adele played an active role in local and regional organizations. Adele cherished the services and activities of the Mattatuck Unitarian Universalist Society. She was a committed supporter of the Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust in Woodbury from its founding in 1963. Adele also worked diligently on behalf of the Woodbury Scholarship Fund, which helped fund Woodbury high school students at college, and the Interlocken Educational Opportunities Fund, offering summer camp experiences to deserving children.
In national elections, Adele, a committed Democrat, would often suggest to her staunchly Republican husband, Norman, that they both skip voting because they would just cancel out each other’s vote. Having agreed on that, both would then sneak off to vote.
Starting in college, Adele became a committed hiker of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Later in life, she went on to climb Norway’s Besseggen Ridge and Japan’s Mt. Fuji. When hiking New Hampshire’s White Mountains with family and friends, Adele loved to read aloud the trailhead signs: “STOP The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many have died there of exposure, even in the summer. Turn back now if the weather is bad.” Having persuaded her companions that it would take real courage to proceed, Adele confidently resumed her ascent.
A memorial service for Adele will be held in Woodbury’s Hollow Park at 2:30 pm on Saturday, July 31st, 2021.
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