Piedmont woman paints portrait of late husband on house to remember his ‘best feature’

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The house where Keets Taylor lives is easy to spot.

“People turn in the driveway all the time, looking at the guy who sits on the front porch,” she said.

They’re stopping to look at the portrait she painted when she first moved to Winston-Salem six years ago.

“His name was Richard Taylor, Dick Taylor. Everyone called him Uncle Dick,” she said of her late husband.

Dick and Keets were married for 49 years, but the last 16 were the hardest.

“He had Alzheimer’s for 16 years and coming up with things to do together that were fun, not just sitting and watching television which of course he lost interest in at some point,” Keets said.

So Keets decided to paint a portrait on the front porch of the home they lived in in Huntersville. She wanted to paint her husband and show his best feature.

It served as therapy for both Keets and her ailing husband.

“He had a ready smile and that was one of the things I missed when he became sick,” she said. “Particularly toward the end when he was beginning to forget how to smile.”

“It was fun to paint him smiling with that twinkling in his eye and every day when I came home he would smile at me again.”

And when the couple moved to Winston-Salem six years ago, Keets spent a month and a half recreating the magic they had on their front porch in Huntersville.

“I missed that because he was all sitting, smiling on my porch in Huntersville and I missed that and I decided to do it here.”

Dick Taylor died from Alzheimer’s last March and while it never gets easier, Keets still treasures being greeted with her husband’s smile.

“I just love it. It’s very rewarding and comforting in a way. Even though he’s gone, he’s not quite gone.”

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