Bea Taylor, known by thousands of Temeculans as “Mrs. Claus,” died December 17, 2017 of a heart attack while recuperating from a broken ankle in Encinitas. Bea was 90 years young. A celebration of her life will be held February 25th at 2:00 at the Temecula Community Center at 28816 Pujol St, Temecula.
Bea was born Beatrice May Dawson, March 9, 1927, in Ohio. Her parents Thelma and Frank later moved to Chula Vista, where they built a nursery business. Bea loved to dance and met her first husband Navy sailor Gardner Wade at a USO dance. They had two children, Vera and Bruce. The couple divorced, and later Bea met the handsome and tall Robert Taylor at a “Parents Without Partners” dance. They were married in a simple civil ceremony while the children were in school.
Bea ran a gift store in Torrance for many years while Bob hung wallpaper. They fell in love with Temecula when it was just a two stop-sign town. Bea and Bob eventually moved to Temecula and quickly became fixtures as the town greeters. They would dress in period costumes from Temecula’s early days and walk through town greeting visitors while distributing Bob’s hand-drawn maps.
The Taylors were best known as Santa and Mrs. Claus during the Christmas holidays. From the early 1980s until 1997, Bob and Bea greeted thousands of children, posing for pictures and listening to children’s Christmas wishes.
Bea was an accomplished watercolor artist and part of the Temecula Art League. She was often seen at local events selling her paintings. Bea was a quilter, and quite crafty. She wove baskets crocheted items that were donated to newborns at the hospital.
Both Bea and Bob were performers at heart. They participated in local theater where Bea would perform and sing. Bob was often the stage manager. Bea loved to sing and continued to sing to her favorite music throughout her life.
Bea had broken her ankle and was on the mend in a skilled nursing facility in Encinitas when in the early hours of a new day, her heart just stopped. She lived a big beautiful life, filled with love, art, music, dancing, friends and joy. Bea is survived by her daughter Vera Michaels, her son, Bruce Wade, her stepsons Bill and Ron Taylor and a total of five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.