COMMENTARY: Memphian Tova Taylor showed more grit than her Tennessee Titans

REMEMBERING TOVA S. TAYLOR (1974-2015)

DALLAS — Tuesday will mark exactly one year that I moved away from Memphis to Dallas.

Tova2While this undoubtedly has been a year filled with an assortment of blessings, challenges, new opportunities, and newly-established friendships as one of this city’s newest media members, I’d be remiss if I did not recall what had transpired two days before I officially bid farewell to my family and close friends in Tennessee.

On Saturday, April 19, at approximately 9 a.m., I stopped to pick up breakfast at the Chick-fil-A restaurant on Union Avenue in midtown Memphis.Tova4

To my surprise, I ran into fellow longtime Memphian and friend, Tova S. Taylor​ who, after greeting me with a hug, expressed to me how saddening it was that Memphis was losing what she deemed “one of its best sportswriters.”

Although I took a moment to poke fun at Fairley High, Tova’s high school alma mater, considering our respective high schools — I am a Whitehaven High alum — are neighborhood rivals and a few football passes away from each other, she made it point to say to me, “Make sure you represent Memphis well in Texas.”

While that was the last — and unfortunately the final — time our paths had crossed, I couldn’t help but recall 363 days ago just how complementary Tova was as I was preparing to leave Memphis.

Which, of course, is among the reasons that on the day before the one-year anniversary of my move to Dallas, I can publicly confess that I am indeed affected by Tova’s untimely death as a result of a horrifying car crash Sunday night. Without question, many of us — most notably on various social media platforms — who befriended this bighearted, compassionate young lady will forever recall along with her wealth of beauty, her unyielding love and affection and admiration for her family, will forever cherish her tireless contributions to Alpha Kappa Alpha, the African-American flagship sorority that was founded at Howard University in 1908.

Tova1Which is to say why her sudden, heart-dropping demise has undoubtedly sent shock waves throughout the social media world, let alone the LeMoyne-Owen College and Whitehaven communities.

Someone, all too soon, has lost a faithful, loving wife, which means that wedding anniversaries will never be the same.Family

Someone, all too soon, has lost an unconditional loving mom, which means that Mother’s Day will never be the same.

Someone, all too soon, has lost a high school classmate, which means that class reunions will never be the same.

Someone, all too soon, has lost a fellow sorority member, which means the familiar rants and chats of “Skee Wee” courtesy of Alpha Kappa Alpha will never sound the same.

And, for me personally, well, going to Chick-fil-A from now on will never be the same, in large part because 363 days ago, Tova, an avid Tennessee Titans fans who exemplified such familiar pleasantries Memphians had come to embrace, took the time to not only extend to me well-wishes as I prepared to bolt the Bluff City, but she paused to share something about which I had never heard in my 15-year professional print journalism career.

That is, Memphis was losing what she labeled as “one of its best sportswriters.”

Tova, you will be surely missed, in large part because you didn’t take for granted how precious, but fragile life is, because even when facing the toughest of life’s obstacles, you steadfastly demonstrated more grit and assertiveness and resilience than your Titans had shown last season.

So thanks a bunch, Tova, for propelling me to high spirits during a time I needed it the most.

Surely, it is a foregone conclusion that come Tuesday morning, the one-year anniversary of my relocation from Memphis to Dallas, I will drop in and pick up breakfast at Chick-fil-A.

Only this time, like wedding anniversaries, Mother’s Days, class reunions, and sorority chants, it won’t be the same.

DrePicAndre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to andre@memphisport.net. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.

Comments

  1. Sheila McCarley says:

    FYI, she loved Chick-Fil-A, I would often run into my cousin there also. Great commentary thanks a lot for a great memory to hold onto.

  2. Eric Rivers says:

    Thanks for the commentary on my beautiful cousin Mr. Johnson!

  3. Bridgett Chop Farmer says:

    This is one of the best written articles I have read in a while Andre. Blessings to you and prayers/hugs to Tova’s family. Her pictures and soft spoken post of her character have flooded my timeline. As well,my brother was also deeply affected.

  4. Sonya Wilson says:

    This was an awesome read, Andre. Thank you for sharing. Tova will be definitely missed. She was such a sweet person! Thanks again.

  5. stephanie says:

    God bless to each and everyone of the family members and the children she is free she is free God blessed and stay strong and keep God first.

  6. Teresagillardgunn says:

    I remember Tova Graves at the time at Fairley High .She have that seem big smile..The last time I saw Tova was at club Flirt with her Hubby..Getting some Bossman Barbaque!!! We the Fairley Family Will Miss You Dearly..Family We loved her but God loved her Best♡♡♡♡♡♡

  7. Antonico Thomas says:

    This was a great read. Such a talented young lady. I was saddened by the news. My condolences to her family.

  8. kelly (her old nail tech) says:

    This brought me to tears. RIP beautiful, you’ll be missed! Awesome article.

  9. Lashonda Carruth says:

    My condolences to her family and friends.

  10. Tattoo Q says:

    I swear I didn’t hear about this. I used to tattoo on her and some of her friends. It was always a fun time when they came thru. They were all so funny and good company. Tova you will be missed. My condolences to your husband and family.

  11. Tiffany Brown says:

    MY HEART IS SO BROKEN, BUT I KNOW GOD’S WORK IS NOT DONE. TOVA HAD THE BIGGEST HEART AND WOULD GO OUT OF HER WAY TO HELP ANYONE. THE DAY WE MET I KNEW SHE WOULD BECOME A LONGTIME FRIEND. WITH ME BEING A NEW RESIDENT TO THE MEMPHIS AREA ABOUT 9 YEARS AGO, I WAS LOOKING FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO HANG OUT WITH AND GOD COULD NOT HAVE BLESSED THIS LIL MISSISSIPPI GURL WITH A BETTER GROUP! TOVA WILL LIVE FOREVER IN MY HEART AND IF MEMORIES ARE ALL I HAVE, THEN MEMORIES ARE WHAT WILL KEEP HER IN MY HEART BECAUSE I KNOW FOR A FACT GOD DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES! GOD BLESS…..

  12. My condolences to her family and Friends! My Soror will surely be missed. So so heartbreaking! Beautiful lady and spirit.

  13. Pat (Anderson) Faison says:

    Mr. Johnson…Although I received the dreadful and sad phone call and got the news; Living out of state (VA), I was still very anxious to read and locate and see anything on my cousin and her accident details. But as a blessing strolled up on your wonderful, beautiful written article that help in it’s own way lighten the heaviness in my heart at how beautiful my cousin was to – ALL. A part of our family glue and joy is no longer with us here physically on earth and my heart aches and prayer extends to the Kids and her Husband and the rest of our Family – as we try to maintain due to this GREAT LOSS.

  14. Karen Minnis says:

    This was such a beautiful piece on Tova. She truly was a jewel and touched so many lives in just 40 years. She was also my beautiful Soror. She will be so missed not just for her eloquent style each time you saw her, not just for her wonderful smile that always lit up the room she entered, not just for having the deepest love for her Husband and children, not just for her zest and determination to educate herself to the highest (Lemoyne graduate,law school), not just for her spirit of always having fun, but for her kind sweet passion she showed for people, and most of all her love of Christ. She will most definitely be missed by the community. She was a star and continuously rising that touched so many lives. If you ever crossed the path of Mrs. Tova S. Taylor you knew that you crossed the path of a rare jewel.

  15. patricia ball says:

    Omg I can’t believe this. Wow

  16. Priscella says:

    It saddens me to know that she will no longer be around in the flesh. I worked with Tova cutting hair at the barber shop inside the mall of memphis. Last time I saw her we were on the party bus and what a great time we had. She was happy. Seems like she always was no matter which way the wind blew. And if u were sad when u saw her or upset about something, u weren’t when u left her presence. I could go on and on reminiscing about all the greatness she possessed as a woman. Never was to judge, belittle or put down. I’m going to miss seeing her out. I pray for her children to hav strength and know she will always be with u cause that’s jus the type of mom I knew her to be. I pray for the family as a whole asking God to give u strength as u go through the time of losing the one u love. We never know when God is going to call so live today as if ur last.

  17. Pamela Payne says:

    This has brought me to tears. Thank you for all the kind sweet
    words my cousin was a very loving, kind, unforgettable lady
    And and she is Greatly missed my many especially her FAMILY❤️

  18. Tova daughter played volleyball at ridgeway high school with my daughter i saw her atbthe games never got to know her but i fell she was a wonderful mother to her girls i waved at her in passing !my god be with her kids and family rest in peace lady !prayers to the family

  19. I didn’t know her personally, but we were in graduate school class together and she was beautiful inside and out. That was just a few months ago….this article is touching and really shows how many people she touched directly and indirectly. May her family find comfort in the days ahead.

  20. Cameron Martin-Tate says:

    Tova, I know there’s nothing we could have done to keep your here. On Thursday we celebrated our AKAversary like every year we had a ball. You were the life of our parties, the laughter of our community service projects and the voice in our meetings. Our Superior Poise, number 11 take your rest in heaven! The 14 BeaTitudes of Feminism will never be the same. Thank you for the memories Soror! We love you and will miss you more than ever. Your legacy will live on guaranteed!

    #2-Peaceful Harmony!

  21. Dr. Akpan says:

    Tova:

    I am very saddened by your untimely death. You were such an exceptional graduate student in my Management and Strategy course, and I was excitedly looking forward to your graduation in May. May God comfort the family you leave behind, and may you rest in perfect peace. You will be greatly missed.

    Dr. Akpan

Speak Your Mind

*