Harriet Taylor, a clinician remembered for her innovation, energy and creativity

Harriet Taylor, who died May 12, 2017, was once the Director of Public Health Nursing for the City of Berkeley. Photo: Courtesy family

Harriet J. Taylor died peacefully at Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Sacramento, on May, 12, 2017. She was 77. Her death followed several years of chronic renal failure complicated by early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Harriet was born in Oil City, PA on May 4, 1939. She grew up in Western Pennsylvania and Nebraska, graduating from Sidney High School in 1957. She graduated from the University of Wyoming, earning a B.S. degree in nursing as well as becoming a Registered Nurse. Upon graduation she worked as an RN in a hospital and later for a doctor in private practice in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She got her start in community health nursing while working for the Visiting Nurse Association in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In the late 1960s she migrated to California and received a Master’s Degree in Community Health from the University of California, Sacramento. In 1969 she moved to Berkeley where she was employed by the City of Berkeley Health Department, eventually becoming the Director of Public Health Nursing.

Upon leaving that position she became the Executive Director of the California Association of Public Health Nursing Directors (CAPHND), serving until 1991. Harriet was instrumental in moving the California SIDS Program (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) to CAPHND and remained director of that program until 1993.

Tom Keens, current chair of the California SIDS Advisory Council, upon hearing of her death wrote: “The California SIDS community is a beneficiary of Harriet Taylor’s early innovation, energy, creativity, and action. We are grateful for her contributions which launched the advances we have seen in the past few decades.”

Harriet then became a Community Health Consultant for the State of California and remained in that position until her retirement.

Harriet was an active member of the Presbyterian Church wherever she lived. In retirement, she was active in the Family Promise Program at the Fremont Presbyterian Church, Sacramento. Recently she had been attending The Fremont Chapel and Northminster Presbyterian Church, both in Sacramento.

Harriet enjoyed travel throughout her life; whether para-sailing in Mexico, riding the turtles in the Galapagos Islands, going on a safari in Kenya or sending a postcard to then Governor Deukmejian, when on a public health tour of Moscow. She was devoted to her niece and nephews and contributed greatly to their educations. She was also a generous contributor to hundreds of worthy causes throughout her life.

Harriet was preceded in death by her father and mother, the Rev. Harold B. and Eleanore Heasley Taylor, and her younger sister, Linda Taylor Miller. She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Stephen and Joyce Taylor of Northbrook, IL, and by two nephews, one niece, three great nephews and two great nieces, as well as six of her first cousins.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 20, in the chapel at Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3235 Pope Ave., Sacramento.

Interment will be in Oak Hill Cemetery, Plattsmouth, NE in July. At that time, there will be a reunion of surviving family members celebrating Harriet’s life.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Northminster Presbyterian Church, and Family Promise or the homeless shelter of your choice.