Willma Smith Taylor, 86

Willma Smith Taylor died at Lake Gibson Village in Lakeland, Florida, on August 10, 2021, of natural causes, surrounded by her family and loving care team.

Willma was born in Leslie County in Hyden, Kentucky, to James and Myrtle (Sizemore) Smith on August 4, 1935. She had five brothers and five sisters. After her family moved to Dayton, Ohio, she attended Stivers High School.
In 1959, Willma was united in marriage to Donald D. Taylor. Shortly thereafter, in 1960, Wilma moved to Tacoma, Washington, with her husband as he was drafted into the United States Army. He was immediately sent to Germany, where he was stationed close to the Berlin Wall. In 1962, Willma and Don moved to Lakeland, Florida, and their daughter, Debra Jane Taylor, was born in 1963.

Although Willma worked many jobs over the course of her lifetime, her most beloved career was opening her alterations shop after they moved to Lakeland. She opened her shop, Taylor’s Alterations, in 1991 in what was then called “the Little Red House” on South Florida Court. When she first began, she made repairs to the little house during the day while completing the alterations at night. After the first month, she was ready to bring on other seamstresses to help her as her business began to grow. She reluctantly closed her shop in February 2020. Willma was always thankful for her customers and knew that it was only because of them that her shop was so successful. She always had a smile on her face when a customer entered her shop. She truly loved her work and her customers, and they loved her.

Willma was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Donald D. Taylor; her brothers, Shelly Smith, Oakley Smith, McKinley Smith, Ed Smith, and Brodus Smith, and her sisters, Sophie Barker, Marie Griffitts, Ethel Whitaker, Edith Roden, and Ona Jordan. She is survived by her daughter, Debbie Watkins (Clay), and her grandchildren, Ashley Marie and John Taylor Watkins.

A Memorial Service will be held at Heath Funeral Chapel, 328 S. Ingraham Avenue, Lakeland, FL, on Saturday, August 21, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.