LaVerne Taylor loved reading books, a passion that inspired her to leave $1.4 million to the Metropolitan Library System Endowment.
Taylor died in February 2012 at 93 and was preceded in death by her husband, Gordon, a retired senior vice president of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.
LaVerne Taylor's favorite library to visit was Belle Isle, which she typically visited every Wednesday morning and would check out as many as a dozen books at a time. She loved mysteries and James Patterson books.
“She was a very sweet person,” Belle Isle circulation clerk Regina Wolfinger said. “As she was getting older and getting frailer, we would take her books out to the car. When I helped her, I would always give her a big hug and tell her to take care of herself.”
Wolfinger said earlier in her life Taylor was an avid golfer, but as she got older, it became more difficult for her to play. Reading became one of her great passions.
“She would bring in things from the newspapers and we would put things on reserve for her,” Wolfinger said. “She loved to read. “She would check out a big bag of books and she'd read them in a week.”
The amount of the donation was a surprise to library staff.
“We were amazed at how much it was,” Wolfinger said. “She was very quiet and unassuming.”
Metropolitan Library System Executive Director Donna Morris said Taylor's legacy will live on at Belle Isle through her donation. After it is renovated in 2014, the library system will recommend naming an area of the library after the couple.
“Her dream to create a legacy for the Belle Isle Library will long be remembered by those who frequent the library,” Morris said.
Taylor graduated from Norman High School and attended the University of Oklahoma, where she met her husband. Taylor was also active with Trinity Baptist Church and was a longtime member of Twin Hills Golf Club.