Maye Bell Taylor

Missionary, 1929

Maye Bell Taylor was born on May 4, 1905 and spent 35 years of her life serving the people of Northern Brazil as a missionary and educator. As a native of Eldorado, Texas, she grew up in Haskell and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Simmons College in 1929. She received the Master of Religious Education degree from Woman’s Missionary Union Training School (now merged with Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) in Louisville, Kentucky. Before going to Brazil, she taught in the public schools of Texas for more than seven years.

She was appointed by the Foreign Mission Board in 1938 and was associated with the North Brazil Training School in Recife for a number of years, first as associate director and later as director. She served as principal of the Baptist primary school and director of a good will center in Aracaju, Sergipe. Maye Bell also was involved as a leader in Woman’s Missionary Union work in Sergipe, working as corresponding secretary and treasurer of the state’s organization.

Her strength of character and commitment to her responsibilities and to the people of Brazil gave her a place of leadership throughout the women’s work in her field, at a time when women struggled to find their places in ministry. The influence of her service has been broad, impacting lives throughout the land in which she worked and the other ministers with whom she served.

In 1974, Maye Bell received the HSU Distinguished Alumni Award. She was also named a “Citizen of Aracaju” by the municipal government in recognition of her contribution to the betterment of the people of Aracaju. The school in Recife where she worked now bears her name, as does the library in Aracaju.

In 1938, as she prepared to leave for missionary work, she wrote: “May I prove worthy of so great a calling.” She died June 6, 1985 in Haskell, Texas, at the age of 80.

Inducted on April 5, 2002