CAMDEN Every community has a few individuals who are involved and active to degrees that put the rest of us in awe of them.
Camden just lost such a dynamo in Octavia Taylor.
Our community was privileged to have been the home of Octavia for the past 58 years and it’s safe to say that, when she came here, she hit the ground running.
She seemed to change for the better - or was a vital part of - every activity or organization in which she was involved.
A 1942 graduate of Conway High School and 1947 graduate of the then-Arkansas Teachers College, she taught physical education, Spanish and English for 45 years.
But while busy with her teaching career. Octavia always found the time, energy and enthusiasm to contribute to her community in a variety of ways. She was the energy behind starting the girls’ athletic program at Camden High School.
Until recently, she taught water aerobics at the city swimming pool and, as her obituary last week pointed out, she was usually older than her students.
Nearly 12 years ago, she started the Oakland Cemetery Walk, which is held during the Daffodil Festival and in the fall. The walk features hosts in period costumes portraying long-ago Camden residents who are interred in the cemetery.
She was a Master Gardener in the Camden Garden Club, member of the Thursday Musicale and an active member of the Retired Teachers Association, which often held its annual picnic in her back yard.
She was also a member of the Tate’s Bluff Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she held several offices and had developed a program on the Constitution and another on the Flag of the United States that was presented several times in the public school system.
Octavia was a member of St. John Episcopal Church in Camden, was a recipient of the Camden’s Lion’s Club Woman of the Year award and was acknowledged by the Camden Martin Luther King Committee for her community service.
We know this list covers only the most visible and noted of her accomplishments, and are certain it does not do justice to Octavia’s remarkable impact on the community and influence on generations.
Camden misses you, Octavia, and is a better city because of your part in it.