Nov. 5, 1923 – April 6, 2016
Lake Forest, IL & Hingham, MA – Virginia Dean Steele Taylor, formerly a life-long resident of both Lake Forest and Winnetka, Illinois, passed away peacefully April 6, 2016 in Killingly, CT at the age of 92. The sole great granddaughter of the 1830’s Lake Forest Scottish pioneers Matthew Steele and Ellen Atteridge Steele, Virginia cherished her family’s long history as one of the first settlers in Lake Forest. She and her remaining Steele cousin, Joseph W. Steele of Lake Forest, are the last of the Steele great grandchildren in Lake Forest. Virginia was predeceased by her son Stephen Lewis Taylor; her brothers Merritt and Lowell Steele; and her parents Robert G. Steele of Lake Forest and Arvilla (Honey) Dean of Winnetka. She is survived by her daughters Laurie Taylor-Curby (Wm Curby), Leslie Taylor Jefferson (Tere North), and Louise Steele Taylor (Dawn Krasnecky).
Called ‘Virgie’ throughout her life, she lived in Winnetka on school days and spent the weekends on the Lake Forest family farm, faithfully attending Lake Forest Presbyterian Church with her family until after World Was II. Virgie’s primary and secondary school years were full of Girl Scout accomplishments and excelling as an athlete and student. She was captain of the women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams as well as Head Student of Women’s Sports in high school. She met her future husband, Lewis Treat Taylor (deceased 1988), in middle school, and dated him while attending New Trier High School in Winnetka, both graduating in 1941. Virgie attended Lake Forest College, majoring in accounting and political science during World War II. She married her high school sweetheart upon his return from the war and gave up her last year at Lake Forest College to work to support the newlyweds while her husband attended college. The young couple was soon living in Lake Forest on Mayflower Road until they moved to their new home on Green Bay Road in 1957.
While raising her four children in Lake Forest, Virgie also opened her home and her heart to foster children and exchange students from the college. She was active in the Glencoe Women’s Club, Lake Forest’s Church of the Holy Spirit, and the Winter Club, while also volunteering as a Cub Scout den mother and as the local Girl Scout Leader. She delighted in hosting bridge parties and dinners in her home. She was a devoted mother and wife. She also worked as the book keeper for her husband’s Lake Forest insurance agency. Later in life, Virgie was employed as a pension analyst with the Methodist Church Board of Pensions in Evanston until her retirement a few months prior to her graduation from Lake Forest College in 1989.
Starting yet a new life upon graduation at age 65, Virgie moved out East to live with both her daughter Laurie’s family in Hingham, MA and also her daughter Louise’s family in Thompson, Connecticut. Yet, she continued to spend all her summers in Illinois with her daughter Leslie’s family. Out East, she was an active participant raising her three grandchildren, Matthew Taylor-Curby in Massachusetts and Jack and Kelsey Rafferty in Connecticut. A life-long dressmaker with a flair for quiet fashion, Virgie continued creating clothing for herself and her girls, as well as intricate knitwear and many forms of needlepoint. She also continued to enjoy painting, home décor, gardening, and sports. She remained athletically active until age 89. Always serene, gentle, and beautiful within and without, Virgie lived by the Golden Rule and was admired for her gracious and loving composure throughout life.
A celebration of Virgie’s life will occur at First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest the morning of June 11, 2016 followed by burial in the family site at the Lake Forest Cemetery. Please contact Laurie Taylor-Curby at 781-749-7737 with any questions. Virgie’s favorite charities remain Lake Forest College and the Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, IL.