In Memory of




Obituary for Ann Woods Taylor

Ann Woods Taylor passed peacefully to the beautiful sound of harp music, played by Kathryn Dandurand, on June 3, 2022 at the Villa Rehab Center in St. Albans, Vermont. She had just celebrated her 90th birthday on May 10, 2022. Ann is survived by her daughter, Katherine Penberthy and son, Kevin Penberthy, who were at her side when she passed, after a 13-year struggle with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Despite a tenacious will to live, Ann’s body became too exhausted to continue. But her strong spirit lives on. She is also survived by her grandchildren Jasmine, Lily and Isabel Penberthy, and her sisters Judy Gibeaut and Sibby Neff, along with many relatives and friends who loved her dearly.

Ann was an artist, poet, harp therapist, teacher, peace activist and adventurous spirit. She was a Unitarian, a Quaker and a Buddhist. She was born in Pittsburgh, PA, where she lived until her family moved to a farm in Lucas, Ohio. She attended Northfield Mount Hermon prep school, Denison College (where she studied religion and theater), Union Theological Institute for seminary, and Lesley College, where she received a master’s degree in Expressive Therapies. When attending Union, she acted in the off Broadway play, Noah. She also directed many plays including Amahl and the Night visitors and a children’s theater in Milford New Hampshire where she directed the Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. She continued to act in other plays at Tilton prep school in New Hampshire. Ann worked as a teacher, religious education director, dance therapist, activity director and missionary in Mexico and Peru, S.A. She also volunteered for over 500 hours as a harp therapist at Porter Hospital in Middlebury, where she brought others much peace, and where patients called her their angel. She was well traveled, with trips to France and Switzerland(during her tenure at Dennison), and other journeys to Scotland, New Mexico, Bali and Sweden.

She often spoke of her internship in East Harlem, where she served lower-income people of color. She married Rev. Robert John Penberthy in 1955, and they moved to Durham, North Carolina where he finished seminary at Duke University. In the 1950s and 60s she was very active in the equal rights movement and insisted on advocating for integration in churches, the YMCA and her own home. She often entertained exchange students from various countries, including Bertha Enciso from Mexico, who has remained a close family friend for 60 years.
Ann was part of creating the Spirit in Nature trail in Ripton, Vermont, which honors all religious traditions, including Quaker, Buddhist, Unitarian and others.

She loved nature and was an avid biker, hiker and skier. She devoted her life to challenging barriers and celebrating differences.

The end of her physical life was spent at the Villa Rehab Center in St. Albans, Vermont, where she was well loved and cared for by an excellent staff. They rank with the angels among us. They loved her, cared for her devotedly and treated her as part of their family. Ann’s family has deep gratitude to the staff members who cared for her tirelessly until she died. The family also thanks Bayada hospice for their emotional, spiritual and physical support to Ann and her family the last few months of her life. Thanks also to Rev. Katherine Arthaud and the United Church of Fairfax community for providing ongoing support to Ann and her family. Ann was a member of the Quaker meeting in Middlebury, Vermont before she moved to St. Albans, and the family wishes to thank them also for their ongoing support and kindness as Ann moved through her transition. There have been many friends and supporters who have held Ann's daughter Katherine as she supported her mother on her journey. They are appreciated beyond words.

Now Ann makes her peaceful journey home. She can fly with the birds and tickle the leaves of the trees she loved so much. She left her indelible mark on this physical plane with her strong spirit, and now has the pleasure of floating freely on the breeze, embraced by angels.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday July 30, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at the United Church of Fairfax.