Mary Waugh Taylor

Profile By: Laura Jaros


Part Six Living with Passion

It wasn’t until February of 2010 that I found out Mary was ill. One day during company class, Metal-Corbin announced to the group that Mary was not feeling well and that she was receiving chemotherapy every Friday. I was shocked. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. How could it be that this strong, confident, upbeat woman could be battling such a horrible illness?  There was not a single day that Mary ever seemed weak or scared. It turns out that Mary had been diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in the late 1990s. After twelve years of being in remission, the cancer came back. This time, though, it was attacking her liver and pancreas. In “Mary Waugh Taylor: Much More than a Fabulous Teacher,” Esther Katz, dance director of the JCC states, “The fact that many people didn’t even know she was that sick is such a testament to her strength . . . She was teaching the day before she heard she would have to go on hospice; that is very inspiring” (qtd. in van de Kamp Wright). We lost Mary on June 25, 2010, but her spirit will forever live in the memories of those she touched with her passion and care. Mary may have lost her battle with cancer, but she was victorious in the life she lived. The picture below was taken just one month before Mary passed away. Still full of energy, she was directing a rehearsal for an Omaha Academy of Ballet concert.