Dr. Tonia Aiken Taylor was the daughter of the late Mr. Frank Smith and Ms. Leola Aiken-Byas. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, reared in Moncks Corner, South Carolina and attended Berkeley County Schools. In 1982, she graduated from Berkeley High School and was accepted at Baptist College in Charleston, South Carolina (currently Charleston Southern University) to begin her college education. In May of 1986, she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Arts with a minor in Religion.
Dr. Taylor was the first African American (May 1986) student to receive the Myrtle E. Hamerick Award citing the student “who exemplifies the highest virtues of womanhood”. In 1986 she was also selected by Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.
Ten years later, through much hard work and passion, her graduate studies were completed. She received her Master’s Degree (1995) and Doctorate Degree (1996) in Christian Psychology from Jacksonville Theological Seminary and Truth Bible College and Seminary. At Truth Bible College, she later served on the Board of Directors and served as an adjunct professor. During the summer of 2002, Dr. Taylor continued her professional studies in Christian Education at Pensacola Christian College.
Dr. Taylor was petite, yet powerful, as she inspired and motivated God’s people! Dr. Taylor had a passion to minister the Love of God through the musical expression of singing. She provided music on the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s local affiliate station in Jacksonville, Florida, ACTS Network in Jacksonville, Florida, and WCSC-TV Chanel 5 Inspirational Sounds Broadcast in Charleston, South Carolina. Not only did she minister in song, she was also a motivational speaker for various churches, civic, and governmental organizations. Dr. Taylor was a recording artist and recorded the CD titled First and seven music videos. She also co-authored two books: 50 Shades of Change and the upcoming release G.P.S. Your Marriage.
Dr. Taylor served as Pastor of Heart to Heart International Ministries in Moncks Corner, South Carolina where her husband, Bishop Jerome A. Taylor, is the Senior Pastor. Dr. Taylor was also principal of He Arts Christian Academy, a Member of South Carolina Association of Christian Schools (SACS) and in 2009 she was elected the first African American female to Moncks Corner, South Carolina Town Council.
Dr. Taylor was the wife of Dr. Jerome A. Taylor. They were married in March 1992. Through their ministry they shared the joy of marriage with many other couples in guidance and/or marriage enrichment forums. Family life was very dear to her heart. She treasured her time spent with her husband and children!
In addition to her husband, Dr. Taylor leaves behind three beautiful daughters: Destiny Joy, Dynasty Sophia, and Divinity Victoria; her mother, Leola Aiken-Byas, her sister, Cherisse O. (Maurice) White; Mother in Love, Queen Esther (Mr. B.) Alexander; Father in Love, James London Taylor; a host of Brothers and Sisters in love; Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Nephews, God Children, Spiritual sons and daughters, cousins and a host of other family members and friends.