Tor Taylor, Raised To Do Service

by Amena Hajjar

Growing up in New Jersey, Tor Taylor says she was raised to do service. Her mother co-founded the county museum and was active in the Junior League among other charities. Tor was always expected to participate.

When Tor came to California, specifically Point Reyes Station in 1978 to a friend’s party, she said to herself, “This is where I want to live.” After years of working and owning a beautiful Edwardian duplex in San Francisco, she found herself traveling to and from Point Reyes every weekend. It was in 2000 that she decided to “bite the bullet” and buy her beautiful home outside of Pt. Reyes Station, with gardens any novice would admire; flowers, succulents, herbs, veggies and a few fruit trees. Four years later, through their mutual volunteer efforts for Canine Companions for Independence, Tor met her wife Laurie Monserrat who is also very active in community service locally. They were married in Toby’s Feed Barn in 2006. They have been raising their nephew Hiroki, for the past 11 years.

Two dogs Becca and Tyla happily greeted me as I arrived to learn more about Tor. She invites me to sit and chat in the middle of the gardens. I admire the collection of heart shaped stones she has collected that sit in a row between us. Tor is a woman who’s volunteer journey in West Marin has been serving on local committees such as the Inverness Yacht Club’s Youth Sailing Program, and nonprofit boards. Tor joined the WMSS Board in April 2017. She has a strong vision for helping to develop a strategic plan for WMSS.

Tor came to serve on the board through Mary Morgan’s suggestion. She had long been a hero of Tor’s who had observed her constant service to our community. Tor remembers thinking “Uh oh! I’ll never be able to say no to Mary.” After serving as Vice President, Tor now serves as Board Secretary and serves on the WMSS Development, Strategic Planning, and Personnel Committees. She is proud of what she has been able to contribute by bringing strengths from her experience in the corporate world. Tor believes that she has gained much in friendships and knowledge from her volunteer work.

“I will always do some form of service, whether on a board or in some other way. It is the way I was raised and it’s important to me to give back to the community I love so much.”

Earlier this year when Tor was between jobs, she found herself offering to be a volunteer driver for the WMSS TRIP Trans program, driving older adults from West Marin to appointments over the hill. She said she had a great time doing this. She made new connections, had wonderful conversations, and was able to accomplish her own errands on the trip. “It was easy and fun and we always need volunteers to help drive people to shopping and the doctor.” Tor believes strongly that the older adult community needs to be supported. She would love to see a dedicated Senior Center, “like the Teen Center,” at the newly acquired Coast Guard Housing Project in Pt. Reyes Station. “Wouldn’t it be great if we had a place for older adults to gather, while being more closely integrated in our community?” Tor has been pivotal in the support of Stockstill House, a licensed 8 bed residential facility owned and operated by WMSS. “I believe West Marin needs this service, and I believe in what we as an organization are doing.”

Tor feels strongly that the best way to extend community is to give to the community. “I have been on the board for the Dance Palace, CLAM and now WMSS. I care deeply and want to sustain what we have here. I have been paid back in rich friendships through volunteering.” Tor’s eyes light up as she says this and I ask her what’s next on her journey. She explains to me that she would love to be a breeder/caretaker for Canine Companions for Independence again. In 1993 Tor started working with this organization, has helped to whelp over 50 puppies and raised 2 dogs for the program and sees returning to it again someday when she retires. She is a member of the community who never stops giving. I am reminded of that line of heart shaped stones, looking for the next heart out there to be brought into her lovely garden of giving.

Thank you Tor, for all you have given to the West Marin community, to our clients and to the ongoing success of WMSS.