Lou Emma (Taylor) Adkisson, 91, died peacefully at Fern Terra Assisted Living in Owensboro, surrounded by her family and her caregivers on Saturday, May 23, 2020. She was born in Daviess County in 1929 and, except for her college years, lived her entire life in Owensboro. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ken O. Adkisson; parents Myrtle and David J Taylor of Owensboro; her sisters, Clarice (Taylor) Johnson and Ivella (Taylor) Dill; and her brothers, Leland Taylor, Oscar Taylor, J.C. Taylor and the Rev. Eldred Taylor. She said her proudest accomplishment was “three wonderful children” who survive her: Ken E. (Donna) Adkisson of Birmingham, Alabama, David C. (Bonnie) Adkisson of Lexington, and Carolyn Adkisson Estes of Owensboro; along with grandchildren Kendra (Josh) Faucett and her three children, Erickson, Violet and Lovekender, all of Lexington, Amy (Warren) Brown and their daughter, Paige, of Birmingham, Cyrus Adkisson of Lexington, Kenny Adkisson of Birmingham, and Dawn (Ryan) Steed and their children, Sam, Bennett and Emma, of Asheville, North Carolina.
She spent her early years on a 35-acre farm on Old Hartford Road at Burlew Boulevard and at age 10, moved to a farm on Highway 60 West. It was from there, as a 10-year-old student at Sorgho School, that she rode the same school bus with Ken Adkisson, who she would later marry.
She graduated as valedictorian from Daviess County High School in 1946 and received her B.A. in music from Georgetown College in 1949. While in college, Ken began writing her letters from the Korean War, where he served in the U.S. Army. After her relocation to Nashville for a job with the Baptist Sunday School Board and Ken’s return from Korea, he enrolled as an engineering student at Vanderbilt University and they married at Third Baptist Church in Owensboro in 1950.
Beginning in 1951, she was a full-time homemaker rearing their three children and later caring for several of her grandchildren while their parents worked. She taught piano in her home for 20 years. She was a member of Third Baptist Church for 83 years, starting at age 7. Lou Emma contributed generously of her time at her church, working with children’s choirs, the Women’s Missionary Union, teaching Sunday School classes for 60 years, and serving on numerous church committees. In 2011, she was ordained as a deacon at Third Baptist with five other women, the first female deacons in a Southern Baptist church in Daviess County. She was honored by the congregation as a deacon emeritus in 2019.
She and Ken traveled extensively in retirement, first driving the length of the Alaska Highway, from Owensboro and back in their new pick-up. Their travel also took them to all 50 states, Scotland, England, Scandinavia, Russia, Israel, Mexico and the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Immediately after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center, they drove to New York City and volunteered on a team that served meals to emergency workers, sleeping on cots in a Brooklyn warehouse by night and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan each day.
Lou Emma served as a board member of the Owensboro Concert Association for several years.
She assisted Ken in compiling, writing and editing three books: Two genealogical volumes of the Adkisson and Pendleton families and a centennial history of Third Baptist Church. Genealogical research took them to libraries in various states and cathedrals in England and Scotland. As time permitted, she enjoyed reading the newspaper and her Bible, sewing and making quilts for her grandchildren.
Known by her family and friends as a loving, cheerful and loyal pillar of her church and someone who sacrificed for others, she was the epitome of a servant leader.
In compliance with health and public safety directives, Lou Emma’s service will be private and available for viewing at www.davisfuneralhome.com on Wednesday at 2 p.m. A public celebration of her life will take place on a future date.
Expressions of sympathy can take the form of donations to Third Baptist Church, 527 Allen Street, Owensboro, KY 42303 or Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY 40324. The family wishes to express its sincere appreciation to her compassionate caregivers who, along with family and friends, helped her enjoy the last few years of her life.
Online messages of condolence may be made at www.davisfuneralhome.com.