BELEN—There was one last bow to their partner as members of the local square dance club, Bosque Cuadrillas, held a memorial service to honor longtime member and president Donna Taylor.
After a long battle with cancer, Taylor died in May, leaving behind her husband John Taylor. Together, the two served as co-presidents for Bosque Cuadrillas for two decades. John now holds the position solo.
The two began taking square dance lessons in 1995 and, as leaders of the club, did whatever was asked of them, members said. They traveled across the state and central district, representing the club at events and festivals.
To honor Donna’s commitment to the club and square dance culture of New Mexico, members of Bosque Cuadrillas put together a memory book for John.
While looking for items to include and reaching out to members for memories, two boxes of club memorabilia were discovered at the Albuquerque home of a former club historian, member Betty Follett said.
The club decided the memorabilia would be best enjoyed by the community if it was made a part of the permanent collection at the Belen Harvey House Museum.
The memorabilia, which included photos and LPs, along with a square dance dress, complete with crinoline and shoes, that Donna won at the New Mexico State Fair several years ago and frequently wore to dance, were donated to the museum during a memorial service for Donna recently.
Kathleen Pickering, director of the Belen Public Library, accepted the donation on behalf of the museum, which is a branch of the library.
“These will be available as resources the public can access and eventually a display,” Pickering said.
The written materials and photographs will be available to the public in the library’s archives, she said, and the dress and accessories will be part of a later display, assembled by museum coordinator Frances Zeller.
The club began more than 50 years ago in the village of Bosque Farms. It has moved to various locations throughout the county in the last five decades, including the cities of Rio Communities and Belen.
“A group of us, we were all friends, we started taking lessons,” John said. “It is just a lot of fun and fellowship.”
The caller for the club, Greg Tillery, has been with them for about 30 years. He started dancing in 1983 and was drawn to calling, practicing in his den and anywhere else he was allowed.
John, Tillery and other members of the club said square dancing is all about fellowship and fun, remembering Donna as a key part of the fun and joy that was had.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.