Two Juab High School seniors killed in an auto-train crash were remembered Monday as a devoted young couple who loved their baby daughter and planned to become a family by marrying after graduating.
Tiffany JaNae Taylor and Raymond Leo Newton, both 17, sweethearts since the eighth grade, were laid to rest side by side in Mona City Cemetery as their baby daughter, TaKelle JaNae Newton, was held by her aunt, Jamie Garrett.Taylor, who lived in Levan, and Newton, of Mona, were killed on Thursday, Nov. 3, when their car was struck by a Union Pacific train at a railroad crossing in northwest Nephi during a school lunch break.
Speakers at the funeral remembered two young people who were unselfish, good-humored and an asset to the school.
Ali Gee, coach of the Lady Wasps softball team where Taylor was a star, said, "Everyone's first thought was how much they loved each other. In a way it was fitting they left this world together."
When Taylor found out she was going to have a baby, said Gee, she made the decision to stay in school and continue to do good work. The pair planned for a future together as a family, she said. The young couple loved their baby and Taylor was a good mother, said Gee.
Taylor made baby TaKelle a football jersey just like Newton'swith the number 77. Taylor and the baby would attend football games and cheer Newton.
Newton was there, with the baby, cheering on Taylor as she played softball.
"The first game after she had the baby, she wanted to play the whole game," said Gee.
"A large part of the class has been taken from us," said Gee.
As word of the tragedy spread at Juab High School Thursday there were tears and disbelief. A viewing at the Nephi Utah LDS Stake Center began at 6 p.m. Sunday and lasted well past the closing time.
Funeral services on Monday filled the chapel and the cultural hall and others attending the funeral had to be seated on the stage and in the choir seats.
"What a great show of love this is for Raymond and Tiffany," said LeGrand Hunt, Levan Ward bishop, as he stood to conduct the services. He told those attending their strength and love were appreciated.
Among the several songs at the services was one sung by high school friends, "Families Are Forever," which they had adapted to fit TaKelle, the couple's 5-month-old daughter. Singers said the orphaned baby would be watched over by loving parents from the other side.
Prayers offered by Ed Newton, an uncle, and Jerry Stephensen, a cousin, requested heavenly consideration for the baby that she may grow up knowing how much she was loved by her parents.
Calvin Baird, a teacher at Juab High, said he would remember Tiffany as a dark-eyed, laughing girl who was the picture of energy, good humor and vitality. "She had a big grin that would brighten the whole classroom," said Baird. Not only a straight-A student, she was an organizer and hard worker, he said.
Wade Jacobsen, junior varsity basketball and football coach, said Newton was a very unselfish player and was an example to young people. "Raymond was a big, strong kid. If you told him no, he told you yes. If you told him he couldn't, he told you he could and proved he could," said J.C. Reed, a friend of Newton.