Louise Barlow Taylor Felts

Published 10:54 am Friday, December 4, 2020

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BERLIN – Louise “Pudden” Barlow Taylor Felts, 93, of Berlin, Virginia, passed away filled with the love of her family and friends and surrounded by God’s loving arms on Dec. 2, 2020.

Louise Barlow Taylor Felts – Photograph by Dale Pittman

Pudden was born June 20, 1927, to the late Annie Louis Barlow Taylor and Robert Pate Taylor of Berlin, Virginia. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ashton Meredith Felts Sr.; son, Ashton Meredith Felts Jr. (Mert); brother, Robert Pate Taylor Jr. and sisters, Elizabeth Howell Taylor Miller (Tookie) and Anne Louis Taylor Wegman (Lulu). Pudden is survived by her son, John Pate Felts and partner, Ron Bracco of Washington, D.C.; her daughter-in-law, Jean Thompson Felts of Berlin; grandson, Ashton Meredith Felts III (Trip) and fiancée, Kristina Caroline Johnson of Suffolk; two granddaughters, Ellyn Felts Hassell and husband, Derek V. Hassell of Williamsburg and Taylor Felts Billingsley and husband, Ryan E. Billingsley of Arlington; six great-grandchildren, Cayla Brittle Felts, Ashton Pate Felts, Maxton Anderson Hassell, Eva Page Hassell, Everett Meredith Billingsley and Hazel Page Billingsley; and many faithful nieces and nephews.

Pudden was born at Raiford Memorial Hospital in Franklin. A few years later at the tender age of three, she met Meredith — the love of her life. Meredith’s family lived “up the lane” at the Felts farm while Pudden’s family lived “up the road” at the adjoining Taylor Farm. Meredith loved to tell the story of how they met. “One day I was visiting our neighbors. Their cute little girl with long curls taught me how to tie my shoes. Her name was Louise and they called her Pudden.” They were childhood sweethearts who would go on to have a long, loving marriage filled with many blessings.

Before starting married life, Pudden graduated from Ivor High School where she delivered the class history commencement speech. She furthered her education by earning a secretarial diploma from Madison College (now James Madison University) and was an active member of Tri Sigma Sorority. During this time, Meredith was serving as a merchant marine in WWII. They would soon reunite and marry on Dec. 28, 1946, in the Chapel of First Baptist Church in Richmond.

Their adventures quickly took them back to Berlin and together they ran the family farm in the heart of Southampton County. Pudden managed the bookkeeping at A.M. Felts Peanut Warehouse and kept things running smoothly. She was also an incredibly gifted seamstress, often creating her own clothes. A quick-learner and undeniably resourceful, she could tackle any project that came her way. From wedding and formal dresses to pants, shirts and quilts, she could thread a needle in her sleep and truly delighted in her craft. In the early years stories were told about Pudden’s sewing. In the words of Meredith, “The first year back on the farm was really tough with no weekly income. If it hadn’t been for Pudden’s sewing and selling milk and butter from our cow, Doris, we would have never made it.”

At the heart of Pudden’s soul was her dear church family and community. A loyal member of Millfield Baptist Church, she served as organist, pianist and leader in the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). For years she enjoyed monthly outings in Berlin’s Home Demonstration Club. She valued her community and was always eager to contribute to the preservation of its history. One such example came in the form of a children’s book by Elizabeth Camp and Reba Lowe. Titled “Earl’s School Bus Ride,” the book depicted local families and landmarks in the surrounding Ivor area. After realizing that only one copy remained in circulation and how meaningful this would be to the community, she partnered with several friends and businesses to bring the book back to life. On a more personal level, Pudden and Meredith co-authored “Memories,” documenting a treasured era of experiences that are now preserved for future generations.

Over the years, Pudden’s family grew deep and wide. She and Meredith immersed themselves in every moment, enjoying milestones from graduations to weddings. They enjoyed traveling from the West Virginia mountains and the waters of Hawaii and the Panama Canal to London, Paris and Normandy. Summer beach vacations with family and friends were priceless. Traditions of fishing, swimming, cooking and shopping were always a highlight. It was in these moments that Pudden’s light shone bright. She loved her family deeply and fully, and was so proud of her sons, Mert and Pate.

Pudden was a genteel woman with quick wit and endearing charm. She transcended generations with her pioneer spirit and strong work ethic. Even after Meredith passed away more than 20 years ago, she lived a new chapter just as strong and vibrant as ever. She was considered a woman of tradition, while also ahead of her time — modern and forward-thinking. As a loving daughter, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend, she led a beautiful life. We rejoice knowing that she is reunited with her parents, siblings, her dear Meredith and loving son Mert. And most of all, she is now in the arms of her Savior.

Dr. Frank Crawford will preside over a private graveside service for the family at Ivor Cemetery. The family is being served by R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home, 11414 General Mahone Hwy., Wakefield, VA. The funeral home received visitors to privately pay their respects and sign the family’s guestbook on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, noon to 5 p.m. The photograph was taken by Dale Pittman. Condolences may also be posted to RWBakerfh.com. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Millfield Baptist Church at www.millfieldlife.org.