Cover photo for Amber Taylor's Obituary

Amber Taylor

d. October 31, 2020

Amber Taylor died at home on Oct. 31, 2020, just before sunset, from pancreatic cancer. She was 69 years old.

Amber was born December 13, 1950 at her family’s homestead in the bootheel of Missouri. A military childhood took her to San Antonio, California, Germany, Colorado Springs.

In 1957, the family made a trip to Taos. It impressed her. She first moved to Taos from Austin with a few friends in 1973 during the hippy invasion. Through the mid-70’s, she came and went, but continued to visit her adopted family group over the years, fulfilling her dream of making Taos her home in 1997.

Amber relished learning, earning master’s degrees first in architecture, then in counseling. After architecture school in Austin, she worked in historic preservation surveying Texas towns and as a designer for a design/build firm, then in Durham, NC, as a mapmaker for a series of books on shoreline dynamics. Over the years, she felt pulled to a second career in counseling. After her second master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at the Taos Drug Court and later at Community Against Violence for 13 years. At CAV, respected for her keen perceptions and listening skills, she felt committed to do her part to address domestic violence.

From 2004-06, Amber designed and built her own house. She adored tools and hardware, priding herself on her extensive collections. Should visitors need a fender washer, a carriage bolt or a set of casters, they were always close at hand. She repaired lamps for friends and for the CAV Thrift Store. Other loves included basketball, puttering, privacy and dogs. A basketball player in younger days, she remained a fan of the Duke men’s team, having worked for a geologist at Duke for 12 years. She cherished the many hours spent with her dog, Raffa.

Amber often said how lucky she felt: to live in Taos, to have had work she felt good about, to have a happy marriage, relatives who were kindred spirits, and many lifelong and a few newer friends.

Thanks to a procedure done at UNMH called a neurolytic celiac plexus block, she was pain-free and comfortable in the last month of her life. Just a few weeks before her death, she could be found completing work on her fence, on a jaunt to see the leaves turn in the Ski Valley, or building a blue-tailed skink habitat from scrap pieces of flagstone that she called a “lizard condo.”

Amber would want to send love and thanks to her spouse of 20 years, Jamie Ash; close relatives Angie, Anne, Barb, Benno, Charen, Charlotte, Jim, Katy, Sandy, Susan, Tony and other family members; friends who gave hands-on help in her end of life care: Adrian, Cathy, Cid, Connie, Elaine, Getty, Hilda, Jamie, Janie, Javier, Kat, Malinda, Mary, Miryam, Mollie, Nancy, Nancy Jane, Pat, Penny, Prisca, Sue, Susie and many others who volunteered. We are all grateful for the excellent care she received from her health care teams from Taos Whole Health, the UNM Cancer Center, and UNMH for her pancreatic and previous breast cancers, and from Mountain Home Hospice for her end of life care, especially Dr. Benjamin, Dr. Brown, Dr. Egli, Dr. Fine, Dr. Lee, Dr. Rustagi, Dr. Tarnower, Dianne Nielsen, Jaymi McKay, Catherine Haefner and Lina Ridge.

Arrangements by DeVargas Funeral Home. Donations to Community Against Violence. Audio only memorial service 2pm, Nov. 21. To attend, email

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Amber Taylor, please visit our flower store.


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