November 26, 2014

Onnie Taylor, 1924 – 2012

Onnie Taylor.

Onnie Taylor.

Onnie Taylor, who for 22 years organized the Sierra Club’s San Francisco Dinners series, died on Tuesday night, Oct. 16, in the presence of her family at the Tamalpais Residence in Marin, after a brief but intensive fight with cancer. Onnie would have celebrated her 88th birthday on Nov. 8.

Anne (Onnie) Wegman was born in the Frenchtown in Shanghai China in 1924 to Dutch parents, where her father Willem had taken a position as a principal violinist with the international Symphony Orchestra. In 1927 the family left China eventually, settling in San Francisco

In San Francisco Onnie attended public school, was instructed in music, and took piano lessons at the San Francisco Conservatory. She earned her BA in 1946 from Mills College in Oakland, where she majored in voice, and went on to attend the Juilliard School’s Opera Theater in New York.

In 1947 Onnie married Juilliard student Ross Whiteside Taylor, horn player from Berkeley, who soon became principal French horn for Cleveland Orchestra and later for the San Francisco Symphony and Opera Orchestras. Ross died in 1964. Onnie was left to rear their three young children.

To support the family alone, Onnie earned an MA in music from San Francisco State College in 1969, and began her teaching career at Holy Names College. then joining the faculty at the College of Notre Dame in Belmont for 25 years, where she established the curriculum for voice majors.

A fine pianist, Onnie instructed singers, especially aspiring classical vocalists, for 40 years. An active member of the National Association for the Teachers of Singing, Onnie was music host on “Radio for the Blind” for many years, featuring interviews with Bay Area performing artists.

Deeply spiritual and a practitioner of yoga, t’ai chi, and meditation, Onnie was a lover of nature and avid adventurer, and traveled widely. She served on the California Alpine Club (CAC) Board of Directors, and was a dedicated Sierra Club member. Onnie loved spa weeks at Echo Summit Lodge, owned by the CAC, and she attended for over 20 years. Onnie’s most recent stay at Echo was this past August.

Her children Dyanna, Paul Wegman, and Seth Whiteside and their partners, and her partner Charles Wirth, survive Onnie.

A memorial service will be held Sat., Nov. 10, at 2:30 pm at the Tamalpais, 501 Via Casitas, Greenbrae, CA.

Onnie’s family has requested that donations in Onnie’s memory be made to Echo Lodge for improvements. Checks should be made payable to Echo Summit Lodge c/o Ray Sommer, 15 Terra Linda Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903.

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