JoAnn Spencer Taylor, beloved attender and member of the Santa Monica Friends Monthly Meeting community for 30 years and a mainstay of the Meeting, died at the age of 83 in Los Angeles, California on January 29, 2020. Joann was born in February, 1937 to Davieree Powell Headings and Harrison Calvin Spencer in Detroit, Michigan. Her father died shortly before Jo- Ann was born.
JoAnn is fondly remembered by many Meeting parents as a special friend to the children in the Meeting. She greeted them with consistent love and perceptiveness for the special gifts of each child.
For the Meeting, JoAnn volunteered with the Alternatives to Violence Program in California pris- ons. She brought verve to the Meeting committees on which she served. One year, a large, bright poster publicized the requirements of the Meeting for active participation in its committees during the annual Nominating Committee efforts to fill positions. While holding her poster, like a commercial sandwich sign, JoAnn gave a pep-talk at rise of Meeting and Meeting for Business.
JoAnn’s passion was education. She earned a doctorate in education from Claremont Graduate School in 1975. She joined the faculty at Pepperdine University in the same year. At that time, JoAnn was one of only three women on the faculty and the only African American woman. She served with distinction at Pepperdine for 25 years, retiring in 2000. During that time she had served as a Board member and energetic participant in many professional educational organi- zations. For her dedication, leadership and service, Pepperdine honored her with the distinction of Professor Emeritus.
JoAnn met and married Clyde R. Taylor while both were studying for advanced degrees in 1960. After their union was dissolved in 1970, JoAnne continued her studies while raising daughters, Shelley and Rahdi Taylor.
In the mid-1980’s, JoAnn met and married author, Sean Masterson, from County Galway Ire- land. Both were Quakers and celebrated their mutual love of literary, spiritual and service tradi- tions and were tremendously dear to one another. They married in 1993.
We miss the deep-pitched tones of JoAnn’s voice as she offered grounded vocal ministry during Meeting for Worship. We miss her genuine interest in every Friend, and the meaningful conver- sations with JoAnn during fellowship. The way she met her last illness with courage, humility, and honesty leaves us a touchstone as we meet life’s passages.
JoAnn was predeceased by her late husband, Sean Masterson, by her mother, Davieree Powell Headings, and by her daughter Shelley Zinzi Taylor. She is survived by sister Lorraine Isaac and family, brother David Headings and family, her daughter, Rahdi Taylor and Granddaughter Hailey Taylor Maynard.
JoAnn’s family partnered with the Meeting for JoAnn’s Celebration of life on February 15, 2020. Granddaughter Hailey, Age 10, played ‘Amazing Grace’ on her violin. JoAnn’s daughter, Rahdi read her mother’s poem, “Lament” and “Westward Woe” by Rahdi’s sister, Shelley Zinzi Taylor.
Memorial Minute Prepared by Celia Carroll June 8, 2020