Dr. Mary Helen McKnight-Taylor, 93, of Frederick, MD, passed away peacefully with her son by her side on Sunday December 31, 2023. She was born to the late James Elzaphus Watson and Viola Henderson on November 27, 1930, in York, SC. \n\nMary was a dedicated Educator and a trailblazer as an African American woman who received her Master’s and PhD from the University of Virginia with a concentration in Special Education in the 70’s. Her training includes a broad spectrum of exceptionalities, ranging from the gifted and talented to physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Her undergraduate preparation in education culminated at Coppin State College in Baltimore, MD, but early study was undertaken at Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY) where she studied Speech and Drama, later in Psychology and Education. \n\nDr. Mary McKnight-Taylor taught at Hofstra University as a Tenured Professor, initially in the Master’s program of the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling which later became the Department of Counseling, Research, Special Education and Rehabilitation. She also held dual appointments as an Adjunct Professor at York College CUNY in the Social Sciences Department and in the Department of Behavioral Studies. Mary was also an Educational Consultant with extensive experience in Assessment, Teaching, and Counseling of various populations. Her work with families around school success for typically and atypically developing children was the focus of her coursework, workshop and conference presentations and publications. \n\nMary was attuned to the difficulties of negotiating the school system for African American children and their families as she pursued her own education. She undertook a complex study of family dynamics and children’s perceptions of those dynamics for her doctoral dissertation. The turbulence of the integration struggle for African Americans was repeated in the effort of Disabled Americans to achieve parity and equal access. Mary was once again fully engaged in preparing professionals to assess and facilitate the development of the abilities of individuals who differed in the ways in which they learned and interacted with peers, authority figures and society at large. \n\nDr. Mary McKnight-Taylor was active in educational, civic, and social organizations (including an esteemed member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.). She also found a home at Jackson Memorial AME Zion church which became central to her life in Hempstead, NY. As a "Mother of the Church", Mary would be integrally involved in various programs and initiatives. In many of the organizations she served in, she held leadership positions on a local, national, and international level. \n\nAfter her retirement and enjoying many years living in Long Island amongst her community of friends and chosen family, Mary relocated to Frederick, MD to be closer to family. Mary was a deeply loved woman and devoted wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and a friend and mentor to many. Over the years, Mary was blessed enough to reconnect with family stretching down from Upstate New York to Gastonia, NC, and as Education and opportunity would inspire many moves over time, there was a port of love where friends, extending into family, would connect and uplift one another.\n\nDr. Mary McKnight-Taylor was preceded by her: husband, William Roscoe Taylor Jr.; ex-husband, Stephen McKnight Sr.; eldest son, Stephen McKnight Jr.; sister, Thelma Lee Minion; and step-siblings, Earl Robinson and Thelma Baylor. \n\nShe is survived by her: youngest son, Clifton McKnight; daughter-in-law, Michele McKnight; grandchildren, Tamar McKnight, Courtney McKnight, and Chelsea Simpson (Arthur); great-grandchildren, Tyranny Powers, Ava Simpson, Arden Simpson, and Ariena Simpson; nephew, Devron Minion; and a host of other dear family members and friends.\n\nA memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2024, at 3:00pm at the Rollins Life Celebration Center. P.A. (330 Catoctin Ave, Frederick, MD, 21701). The family will begin receiving guests at 2:30pm.