Taylor (Janet) Caldwell

By Patrick Kavanagh
History of Women in Forest Lawn Lawn Cemetery

Section 23, Lot 45
Date of Death: 9/2/1985

Mrs. Caldwell was born in Manchester, England, into a family of Scottish background. Her family descended from the Clan of MacGregor of which the Taylors are a subsidiary clan. In 1907 she emigrated to the US with her family.

In 1919 she married William F. Combs. They divorced in 1931.

Between 1918 and 1919 she served in the US Naval Reserve. From 1923 to 1924 she was a court reporter in the NY State Department of Labor in Buffalo and from 1924 to 1931 she was a member of the Board of Special Inquiry at the Department of Justice in Buffalo.

In 1931 she graduated from the University of Buffalo.

In collaboration with her second husband, Marcus Reback, she wrote several best sellers, the first of which was Dynasty of Death. Caldwell's heroes are self-made men of pronounced ethic backgrounds. Her themes are ethnic, religious and the conflict between the desire for power and money and the human values of love and sense of family.

During her career as a writer, Caldwell's books sold over thirty million copies. She received several awards including the National League of American Pen Women gold medal (1948), Buffalo Evening News Award (1949) and Grand Prix Chatvain (1950).

Caldwell was married four times. Caldwell's memoir, Growing Up Tough, was published in 1971.

She died in Greenwich, Connecticut on September 2, 1985.

There is a question as to where Caldwell is buried. Ms. Caldwell's second husband, Marcus Reback (1889 -1970) is buried in the sarcophagus in Section 23/Lot 4. The left half was originally engraved with Janet Taylor Caldwell (Reback's) name and date of birth. Mrs. Caldwell is not buried here. It is still not known where she is buried. In an article that appeared in The Buffalo Evening News on August 15, 1980, Caldwell's then husband, Ron Prestie (Taylor Caldwell married Ron Prestie in 1978. They remained married until Caldwell's death in 1985), believed it would be Caldwell's wish to be cremated and have her ashes scattered at sea. Caldwell moved from Buffalo in 1980 and was living in Connecticut at the time of her death in 1985.

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