SALLY JANE (KLAVER) TABER
90 3/4 years
Sally Jane (Klaver) Taber stood tall and strong, honored soldiers in the Marine Corps, cared for foster children, was a devoted mother of two and known for having a heart of gold.
She died peacefully in Bellaire, Michigan June 21 with her son and daughter by her side. Sally was well known in Charlevoix as the Probate Court, Juvenile Court Register and often cared for foster girls she met in the courtroom.
She was born in Royal Oak Sept. 26, 1927 to John Boer and Ethel Taft Klaver and spent her childhood summers in East Jordan. Her grandfather, Levi Taft, was a renowned professor of horticulture at Michigan Agricultural College (MSU) and founded Eveline Orchards on Lake Charlevoix’s South Arm. Sally attended MAC from 1945-1947 and then graduated from the Vogue School of Design in Chicago.
The adventurous Sally stood 5’11” with red hair and had a striking presence. As a young woman Sally drove cars for work from Michigan to California.
She once flew with Jane Briggs Hart, the first licensed female helicopter pilot in Michigan, in the Civil Air Patrol. Sally was the helicopter observer for Hart, who was the wife of Sen. Phil Hart of Michigan.
Among her proudest jobs was honoring fallen soldiers for the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. She awarded Medal of Honor Citations in Arlington, Virginia in 1952.
“Doing this made me very proud to read about the courage of these brave young men.” She wrote on a card given to her by her department.
Sally loved her work but was heartbroken when she realized a fallen soldier being honored was her childhood neighbor from East Lansing.
"That was the last for me,” she wrote.
Sally became a hostess at a hotel in Virginia Beach and later returned to Michigan, where she became a window decorator for Knapp’s Department Store. She also worked as assistant personnel manager at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California from 1957-1958.
She returned to Michigan, moved to Charlevoix and worked at the Weathervane Restaurant where she met her future husband, James Taber. They married in 1959 and raised their son and daughter, John and Holly, in Charlevoix. Sally began working for the court and became known as a strict and loving woman who could care for children who needed her. As a den mother for the local Boy Scouts, Sally was typically asked to oversee the most unruly boys.
Sally is survived by her son, John Taber of Lansing, daughter, Holly Taber of Charlevoix, her stepson Scott Taber of Grand Rapids; five grandchildren, Nitya, Narayan, and Tolkien Taber all of Lansing, Zachary Finlayson (Courtney) and Abbey Finlayson and great-granddaughter, Isabella of Grand Rapids; two nieces, Deborah Russo (Joe), and their family, Cindy Piehler of Grand Rapids and nephew Randy Piehler (Virginia) and their family of Brighton. She also has a daughter, Chris Nunemaker of Rogers City and daughter-in-law Rebecca Holaday of Lansing. She was preceded in death by James Taber in 1985.
A Celebration of Sally’s Life will be held at Ferry Beach in Charlevoix from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 7. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated for the Heartland Hospice of Traverse City. Her family wishes to thank the caring staff of Meadowbrook Medical Care Facility in Bellaire, the Charlevoix Area Hospital staff and Heartland Hospice.
Arrangements are being handled by the Winchester Chapel of Mortensen Funeral Homes.