Denise Elaine Hillsten Taylor, 49, died on January 4, 2017 at Harbor Hospice Center in Beaumont, Texas. She lost her battle with breast cancer. She was born in Fort Collins, Colorado on May 22, 1967 to Kenneth L. and Carolyn R. Cunningham Hillsten.

Denise lived in Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, and Texas. She was salutatorian of her graduating class from Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School in 1985. After high school, she attended Lamar University where she graduated cum laud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She had a long and prestigious career that took her to work for several refineries in Chicago, IL, in Texas City, TX, and in Port Arthur, TX where she was a member of the volunteer counsel and was awarded the 2005 Volunteer of the Year. Her final employment was with the TPC Group in Port Neches, TX.

She married Jim Taylor in 1999 and they created a happy home with Nichole, her step-daughter, in Nederland. They recently built their dream home on several acres of land outside of Beaumont, JD Ranch, where they raised Longhorn cattle. She enjoyed her Bunco group of friends and was a proud member of the Orange Chapter of AAUW, American Association of University Women.

Denise was an active member of Celebration Women’s Ministry. Celebration is a woman-to -woman ministry of sharing, encouraging, disciplining, and mentoring in the faith. Denise believed whole-heartedly in the purpose of the ministry that is “to strengthen and enrich the spiritual lives of women by helping them discover and grow in the fullness of life that God intended for all women to experience as citizens of His Kingdom on earth and as a foretaste of His Kingdom in Heaven.” It is because of that faith that we know that Denise has truly been healed.

She was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Henry and Vera Hillsten of Keenesburg, CO and maternal grandparents, John and Annabel Cunningham of Polo, IL.

Denise is survived by her husband Jim, of Beaumont, TX; her step-daughter Nichole (Daniel McCown) Taylor; her grandchildren Madison Dean and Wyatt McCowan; her parents, Ken and Carolyn Hillsten of Orange, TX; her brother Kevin (Catherine) Hillsten of Nederland, TX; her nephews, Brian (Ashley) and Troy Hillsten of Nederland, TX. Also, her great-nephew, Braden.

A gathering of Mrs. Taylor’s family and friends will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Community Fellowship Center at First United Methodist Church, 104 13th Street, Nederland, with her memorial service to follow at 3:00 p.m., in the sanctuary, on Monday, January 9, 2017, under the direction of Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland.

Memorial donations may be given in Denise’s name to The American Cancer Society, or Celebration Women’s Ministry (celebrationministries.org). The family would like to thank all of the nurses and caregivers at Harbor Hospice Center for their thoughtful care.