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Marjorie Moehlenkamp Finlay

Maternal Grandmother

Marjorie Finlay was Taylor’s maternal grandmother, and the mother of Taylor’s mom, Andrea Swift. She was born on October 5, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee, a daughter of Elmer and Cora Lee Morrow Moehlenkamp. She was an opera singer and television personality.

EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Marjorie was raised in St. Charles. A coloratura soprano, she performed at Mexico Senior High School in 1948 as a soloist in the Lindenwood Vesper Choir. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Lindenwood College a year later in 1949. She was in Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity.

CAREER
In 1950, Marjorie was working as a receptionist at Boatmen’s National Bank in St. Louis. She won a talent contest on the ABC network show Music With the Girls. This awarded her a radio spot and she toured on the network radio show for 15 months. During the summer of 1951, Marjorie studied at the Berkshire Music Center and then in New York City on the advice of musician Edwin McArthur.

Marjorie married Robert Finlay, president of Raymond Construction Company, on March 22, 1952, in Palm Beach, Florida. After their marriage they moved to Havana, Cuba, where his office was located before relocating to Puerto Rico due to political unrest. They moved to Caracas before returning to Santurce with their children. In Puerto Rico, Marjorie had her own television program and performed in concerts, operas, and supper clubs, including a two-week stint at the Caribe Hilton Hotel.

Marjorie was the mistress of ceremonies for El Show Pan-Americano on APA-TV in Santurce. She was active in the Pro Arte Societies, a civic music organization. Her Spanish was reportedly “bad” enough to be funny to her audiences. Her television show ran six nights a week for 17 months. In 1962, Marjorie performed at a Kiel Auditorium Pop Concert. Her performance included “Fanciulla Sbocciato d l’amore” from La rondine and “Jewel song” in addition to pop songs.

PERSONAL LIFE
Marjorie was the maternal grandmother of Taylor and her brother Austin. She and her husband lived with Taylor and her family until her death on June 1, 2003 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Marjorie’s occupation as an opera singer gave Taylor inspiration to pursue music as her passion, and to make it into a career, following in the footsteps of her grandmother. In 2020, she released the song “marjorie” from her ninth studio album, evermore; Taylor credited her grandmother with backing vocals which were sampled in the track. The lyric video shows footage of Marjorie in home movies and pictures.

General Information
BornOctober 5, 1928
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
DiedJune 1, 2003
Reading, Pennsylvania, USA
Alma materLindenwood College
OccupationOpera singer
Television personality
SpouseRobert Finlay (m. 1952)
Children2
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