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Sandra Ann (Dalbey) Taylor was born on April 15, 1936 in Leon, IA to Margaret and Jackson Dalbey. An only child, Sandy was raised for much of her childhood in Diagonal. Her family owned and operated Dalbey Lumber Company.
Sandy graduated from Diagonal High School in 1954. She married her high school sweetheart, John Wallace Taylor, on September 4, 1954. They spent their married years working together on the farm, attending dances at the Chicken Inn and spending time with close friends and family. On their farm they raised corn, beans, cattle, hogs, chickens and three daughters: Bobbi Jean, Jerri Lynn and Jackie Ann.
Sandy took pride in her family, her home of 23 years on the Mount Ayr Golf Course, her unwavering faith in God and her beloved United Church of Diagonal. She was a master quilter whose work has long been worn, hung and cherished by both her family and her community. Her heart was tied deeply to her 150-year Heritage Farm (2015), so much so that she was lovingly given the name “Grandma Farm” by her oldest grandson.
Sandy lost her beloved, John, on November 30, 1990. She remained on the farm until 1999, when she moved into her home in Mount Ayr, which was built from preliminary plans she designed with John and her mother, Margaret Dalbey, many years before. It was important to her that the farm and her last home remain in the family. Her grandson, Daniel Graham, now operates and lives on the family farm in rural Diagonal and grandson, Benjamin Graham, now owns and resides in her house on the Mount Ayr Golf Course.
Fond memories of Grandma Farm include rides in the back of her Ford Ranger pick-up, countless hours babysitting (as long as she got help gathering sticks in the yard so she could light a respectable fire for a wiener roast), sewing clothing and quilts, stripping and staining woodwork, reading too many books to count and she was even known to engage in a political “conversation” now and again. Everyone looked forward to her legendary home-cooked meals which always included fried chicken, homemade noodles, homemade pies, ice cream cake roll and cookies. Grandma Farm was a healer to all generations – rubbing backs, wiping away the tears and serving as the family’s prayer warrior.
Sandy had a strong faith, rooted in study of the Bible. She prayed for countless friends and strangers over the years, both in prayer groups at the church and in her own quiet time. Sandy was a cornerstone member in the United Church of Diagonal all her life. She could be counted on to organize and cook any church meal, funeral dinner, or Easter Sunrise breakfast. She brought countless meals to friends and family in times of loss and need. For decades, she donated hours and hours of her time shining the floors of the old church, volunteering to help with everything from Vacation Bible School to in-gathering and Harvest Sales. She and her lifelong friend, Arlene Sobotka, restored to life the pews and woodwork from the old church to use in the new building. For as many years as she was able, Sandy made it to every prayer group, worship service and funeral held in Ringgold County. Perhaps Shakespeare described Sandy best – “Though she be but little, she is fierce.” Sandy stood firm on the values of honesty, hard work, integrity and selflessness. She did not waiver and raised the expectations of all those who stepped in the room with her.
She left the world, and her community, in a better place than what she found it for her three children: Bobbi (Joe Jr) Coppola, Jerri (Dane Johnson and the late Steve Graham) Graham Johnson and Jackie (Steve) Bohn. Her eight grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren who will miss her dearly include; Joe III (Holly) Coppola and three children, Joey IV, Maddox and Saylor; Tony (Kelly) Coppola and three children, Davis, Bennett and Nina; Cary (Ali) Coppola and three children, Carter, Brynn and Lia; Kyle (Emily) Coppola and two children, Henry and Charlie; Jessica (Josh) Skinner and two children, Graham and Grace; Daniel (Jentry) Graham and two children, Dylan and Drew; Benjamin (Kristen) Graham and three children, Ella, Brayden and Luke; and Jackson Bohn. Also mourning her death are her sisters-in-law; Helen Mae Turner, Barb Gifford and Caryl (Phil) Dukes; and many nieces and nephews.
Sandy was preceded in death by her husband, John Taylor; her parents, Jackson and Margaret Dalbey; son in-law, Steve Graham; in-laws, Harold and Margaret Taylor; brothers-in-law, Rex Turner and Chuck Gifford, and sister-in-law, Darlene Taylor.
Her seven grandsons and one granddaughter will serve as pallbearers at her funeral, which will be held at the United Church of Diagonal on Friday, April 29. Family will be present for visitation at 10 a.m. and the funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Burial will conclude at the Diagonal Cemetery followed by a lunch back at the United Church of Diagonal. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to United Church of Diagonal and Every Step Hospice. Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr is in charge of the arrangements.

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