Eastern New Mexico lost a "loyal friend" with a "passion to feed the hungry," when Nancy Taylor died on Thursday, friends said.
Taylor, 70, executive director of the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, died about 4:45 p.m. Thursday in a Lubbock hospital, friends and family members said. Cause of death was not immediately known. She had been in critical condition since being hospitalized Sunday night.
"Our communities have lost a loyal friend and lost an advocate and pioneer in the fight against hunger," said Erinn Burch, executive director of United Way of Eastern New Mexico. "And to say we are saddened is not enough, because our loss is not only personal — the loss of a friend, colleague, and mentor; but also communal — the loss of a leader and bridge builder."
The Food Bank was created in 1983 with the help of Altrusa International. Taylor was among its original founders and, for her work, she received the United Way's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Curry County Chamber of Commerce Director Ernie Kos said she worked with Taylor for about 27 years and has seen her touch a lot of lives.
"I know firsthand that she has had a huge impact not just locally but statewide and nationally," Kos said. "I just think her passion to feed the hungry and her huge heart will be missed by so many people."
Officials said some of the Food Bank's more significant community contributions included its response, services and donation of supplies to victims of the 2007 tornadoes that hit Clovis, Portales and Tucumcari, and a Weekend Backpacks program that offered food to poverty-stricken children in area counties.
"There's just so many agencies locally that have benefited from her work and all these food programs started because of her," said Kos about Taylor's giving. "I'm going to really miss her."
Taylor was married to husband Joe Taylor for 49 years and lost her son R.B. to diabetes.
Her strength and dedication was noted by others as she continued to serve with the Food Bank while battling cancer, according to United Way officials.
"I will miss her sorely because everywhere I look I can see her shadow and her handprint," Burch said. "There are so many who will miss her."
Taylor complained of pain hours after returning to her Clovis home from riding horses Sunday, according to food bank board President Allan Isbel.
She was first taken to Plains Regional Medical Center and then transferred to the intensive care unit at Lubbock Covenant Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition until her death.
The nonprofit Food Bank serves residents across the region, assisting close to 200 agencies and schools and distributing more than 1 million pounds of food annually, according to Clovis News Journal archives.
Isbel said it has remained open and continues to do business as usual.
Services are pending with Muffley Funeral Home in Clovis. An autopsy has been scheduled, officials said.
Honors and affiliations of Nancy Taylor:
- Nancy is one of the original grassroots founders of the Lifesaver Food Bank which was started in 1983 in a collaborative effort with the Altrusa International of Clovis.
- The Food Bank first opened for business in Nancy's Shoe Store on West 7th Street.
- In 1999, she became one of the original founders of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks.
- While running the Food Bank, she has continued her alliance with Altrusa International of Clovis and has served in numerous positions both locally and regionally including District Governor for 10 years from 1983 to 1993. She served on the National Board of Directors from 1989 to 1991.
- She was a member of Cow Belles and also belonged to the United Dairy Women's Association.
- She received the 2009 Public Service Award from the Aging and Long-term Services Department. The award recognized her "unique and lasting contributions that benefit the aging population in New Mexico."
- In 2009, the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico served about 175 agencies and schools with an overwhelming 1.3 Million pounds of food, a record for Taylor.
- In 2010, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the United Way of Eastern New Mexico annual banquet.