Margaret West Taylor, widow of Dr. Kenneth Taylor and cofounder of Tyndale House Publishers, passed peacefully into eternal life with Jesus on March 12, 2018. She was born on March 23, 1917, in Oswego, Oregon, and died in Winfield, Illinois.
“My mom lived a quiet but vibrant life for more than 100 years, and she was ready for this final step,” said Mark Taylor, chairman and CEO of Tyndale House. “Members of her family were at her bedside, singing hymns and reading Scripture. We rejoice in a life well lived. Many years ago she selected the verse that has already been engraved on her tombstone: ‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others’ (Mark 10:45). In the same way that Jesus came to serve others, Margaret dedicated her life to serving her family and others with whom she came in contact.”
Kenneth and Margaret Taylor were the founders of Tyndale House Publishers and Tyndale House Foundation. The mission of both organizations is “to minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.” Through these ministries, millions of people have been able to read God’s Word in easy-to-understand translations (The Living Bible; the Holy Bible, New Living Translation; and the Santa Biblia, Nueva Traducción Viviente). Although Margaret worked at Tyndale House for nearly 20 years in its early days (1962–1981), she was always quick to say that caring for her family was her highest priority.
Margaret studied home economics at Oregon State University (and at Wheaton College for one year), graduating with the highest GPA of anyone in the department. After a long courtship that culminated in marriage in 1940, Margaret and Ken Taylor embarked on a remarkable, and at times challenging, ministry journey.
By the time Tyndale House Publishers was launched with the publication of Living Letters in July 1962, the Taylors had 10 children. Margaret was the glue that held the family together, navigating through several moves due to the housing shortage following World War II and managing a large household with limited finances. Meanwhile, Ken commuted long distances to work and was often gone for days at a time. In the dedication of his autobiography, Ken Taylor wrote of Margaret, “She worked unceasingly at home during the family years.” He later described her as “the stronger one” during that difficult period.
Margaret also had a hands-on role in the business, working as a proofreader, an order-entry clerk, and business manager, effectively serving as Tyndale’s first COO. She retired from business operations in 1981 at age 64. The company had grown from ground zero to being one of the larger Christian publishing companies in the world. In April 2001, Tyndale House achieved record annual sales; later that year, Ken and Margaret Taylor transferred ownership of the company to the Tyndale House Foundation.
In addition to her impact on the vision and long-term success of Tyndale House Publishers, Margaret Taylor’s legacy is one of faith and dependence on God. Throughout her 100 years, she was, and will continue to be, an extraordinary example of what it means to love and follow Christ wholeheartedly and in all circumstances. Ken Taylor wrote, “Her own quiet, steady love for our Lord has been a constant inspiration to me”—just as it has been for all who knew her.
Margaret is survived by all 10 of her children: Becky Kraft; John Taylor and his wife, Mary Tall Taylor; Marty Taylor and her husband, Art Grosman; Peter Taylor and his wife, Sharon; Janet Taylor and her husband, Wayne Martin; Mark Taylor and his wife, Carol; Cynthia Brown; Gretchen Worcester and her husband, Bob; Mary Lee Bayly and her husband, Tim; and Alison Lingo and her husband, Jim. Margaret was proud of her 28 grandchildren and 79 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by Kenneth, her husband of 65 years, who passed away in 2005.