Mary Sue Taylor Bixby, 91, an Island County resident since 1969, died Feb. 16, 2018, at Summer Hill retirement community in Oak Harbor after a long illness.
Sue, a spunky and beautiful southern belle who never lost her soft, southern lilt, was born in Greenville, S.C. on June 14, 1926, the daughter of Ryan Earl Taylor and Zadie Almena (Mahon) Taylor. Always eager to explore the world, Sue left for the nation’s capital soon after graduating from Greenville High School.
There she studied to be a laboratory technician and met her future husband Paul at a USO dance. They married March 31, 1944, in Wabash, Ind., where Paul was attending officer training at Notre Dame.
Over the next three decades, Sue followed Paul, an officer in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps, to naval stations around the world, including Morocco and many stateside posts.
As a career Navy wife, Sue’s life had both excitement and challenges, one of the most memorable being a relocation in 1964 from Port Lyautey Naval Air Station in Morocco to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard at Bremerton. She and her three young girls – and a cat in his cage – spent a week at sea to reach New York, where they sweltered in the August heat. There she picked up a new car, packed the girls and their cat into it, drove up and down the East Coast visiting relatives, and then across the northern tier to Washington, where they awaited Paul’s arrival after he finished his Morocco assignment.
When she and Paul settled on West Beach after his 1969 retirement, she worked as a medical technician for 15 years at Island Hospital in Anacortes. Paul went to work for the Island County engineering office.
With an active and inquiring mind, and a sharp wit, Sue loved learning and continued her medical training and college education throughout her life, taking advantage of her new homes to study in a number of locations, including California, Virginia and Skagit Valley College in Oak Harbor.
On retirement in Oak Harbor, Sue performed with the Sweet Adelines, loved gardening outside at West Beach, was an accomplished seamstress, crocheted and enjoyed her many friends.
Sue was a true animal lover, adopting her own and spoiling others every chance she got.
She studied tai chi at the senior center, and she and Paul always had season tickets to the Whidbey Playhouse and the Seattle Opera. They were regulars for breakfast at McDonald’s in Oak Harbor, where last year the manager surprised them with a special meal complete with tablecloth, cake and a welcome from the staff, celebrating 47 years of patronage.
She is survived by her husband Paul of Oak Harbor; three daughters, Betty Lynn Mercure (Delbert) of Seattle, Nancy Jane Campin (Bill) of Custer and Linda Sue Barfuss of Oak Harbor; and by seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. She had three older brothers, two younger sisters and two grandchildren who predeceased her.
The family would like to convey special thanks to the caring and outstanding hospice team that attended Sue in her final months, and the wonderful staff at Summer Hill for all the care they provided during Sue’s last days. She was a world class lady who will be so very missed. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. March 17 at Whidbey Presbyterian Church, Oak Harbor. In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to Hospice or the American Lung Association.
The family also conveys thanks to Whidbey Memorial for their care in the arrangements for Sue.
Please visit Sue’s page in the book of memories online at www.whidbeymemorial.com to share memories and leave condolences.