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Taillefer, devoted military wife, fed the poor and mentored unwed mothers

December 22, 2017 GMT

Huguette Henriette Sierra Taillefer, a native of Bordeaux, France, fell in love with a young U.S. airman in 1952, and later with his country. Settling in the Alamo City with him, she went on to mentor unwed mothers and to serve the poor.

“I had one stripe at the time,” retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert “Bob” Taillefer said, recalling when he met her. His proposal came only two weeks later, but their marriage lasted 64 years.

Her husband attributed his rise through the ranks to Taillefer’s support and encouragement. Experiencing multiple deployments, she never complained, he said. “She just asked, where and when.”

Battling Alzheimer’s disease the last 14 years of her life, Taillefer died while cradled in her husband’s arms at home Dec. 8. Taillefer was 85.

“Through it all, she never forgot who I was.”

The couple met while she was working at the logistics department at the Bordeaux-Mérignac Air Base. The two worked together at the now-closed military facility.

“I was attracted to her bright eyes, accent and bubbly personality,” her husband said. “We didn’t have anything in common, but we had a lot of chemistry.”

After months of paperwork and securing proper Air Force permissions, the couple married.

“She told many stories about growing up in France during World War II. Like when a bomb dropped a couple of blocks from her home,” he said, recalling how the war affected his wife’s life.

After the war, Taillefer studied at Bordeaux College and shortly after graduation began work at the air base.

Within one year of their marriage, twin daughters were added to their family. A few years later, with orders to Orlando, Florida, they boarded a ship bound for United States. While in Florida, their third daughter was born.

In spite of numerous deployments, Taillefer found work as a bookkeeper and accountant.

Retiring in San Antonio, the couple joined St. Mark the Evangelist Church on Thousand Oaks, where they entered the Mobile Loaves and Fishes ministry. For six years, they helped the ministry feed the poor in Travis Park. Taillefer also volunteered at Seton Home, offering advice to unwed mothers.

Her best advice, her husband said: “To listen to the Lord, and he will help you get through anything.”