Carolyn Taylor Burr died on November 6, 2021, in her home in St. Paul, Minnesota, due to complications from SCA6 ataxia. Carolyn, who was also called Bettz, was born June 17, 1939 in Charlotte, NC, the daughter of Melvin Holmes Taylor and Elaine Culp Taylor. She grew up in western North Carolina and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Duke University in 1960, where she was an Angier B. Duke Scholar. In 1961, Carolyn married and moved to New York City, where she raised her two children, Elizabeth Shepard Burr and David Taylor Burr, who survive their mother.
Carolyn’s twin passions in life were her children and writing. She published two novels, Blue Ladies (1980) and Up North (1981). Upon her return to North Carolina, she wrote about historic gardens and homes for Southern Living magazine, as well as poetry, stories, and illustrated children’s tales. In addition to her writing, Carolyn worked as a professional fundraiser for The Junior League of New York, The Museum of the City of New York, The Spence School, The Big Apple Circus, and the Mobile Foundation in New York City, and the Memorial Mission Foundation in Asheville, NC. She later became a middle school teacher after studying education at the University of North Carolina, Asheville.
In addition to Lize and Taylor, Carolyn is survived by her daughter-in-law Suzanne Kueffner Burr, of St. Paul, MN; her son-in-law Chris Hyams, of Austin, TX; her five grandchildren: Emma and Mazie Hyams, and Caswell, Zachary, and Theo Burr; her brother Larry Holmes Taylor of Asheville, NC; and her former husband David Shepard Burr of Chapel Hill, NC. Carolyn leaves behind a community of family, friends, and neighbors who enjoyed her sharp wit, keen eye, and singular perspective on the world. A feminist since the early 1970s, Carolyn was a fierce advocate for equality and change. She was also a lover of music, art, and film, an intrepid spiritual seeker since her early 20s when she began studying yoga in Greenwich Village, and a sharp political critic with a quicksilver mind.
A celebration of Carolyn’s life will take place at Unity Unitarian Church in Saint Paul in December. Details will be provided at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Carolyn’s name to Michelle Obama’s Girls Opportunity Alliance (https://www.obama.org/girlsopportunityalliance/)
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