Taylor Brooke Hlebak passed away surrounded by the love and care of her family at home on May 13, 2022. She was born on March 12, 1993 in Kentucky. She was transferred to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she lived for many months. She left the hospital, went to foster care, and then was placed for adoption. At 22 months, she was adopted by Larry and Kara Hlebak. Kara had been one of Taylor’s nurses in the NICU.
A beloved daughter, big sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, neighbor, and friend, Taylor lived her life encircled by her family, close friends, and supportive College Hill community. She was fiercely determined in every endeavor. Throughout her life she participated in the wheelchair games, wheelchair basketball, tennis, rowing, and cheerleading. Taylor played the piano and danced with the Miracle Dance Studio. She brought songs to life and audiences to their feet with her stunning combination of grace and athleticism. Years ago, thanks to Make a Wish Foundation, she was able to swim with dolphins. She enjoyed camping and vacationing with her family. She was a skilled and private poet. But her favorite place was North Hills Swim Club, where she helped prep the club for opening, conversed with members, played competitive card games, and cheered at swim meets. Despite being a frequent flyer at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital her entire life, she was persistent and inspiring in her quest to live life to the fullest. She had a warrior heart and an ever-present smile.
Taylor was decidedly independent, a trait that sometimes drove her parents crazy. As a teenager, she had the best eye-roll-wheelchair-turn-move the world has ever seen. As an adult, her unique perspective and wisdom took root and flight. The way Taylor lived with her challenges was an expression of her power, honesty, humor, resilience, and generosity. No one knew anyone stronger or kinder. She had a gift of making others feel seen. She was the best encourager. Taylor was a light, a force for good, a testament to the depth of the human spirit. But most of all, she was loved.
She is survived by many friends and her grateful family including her parents: Kara and Larry Hlebak; brother: AJ Hlebak; sisters: Gabrielle and Amelia Hlebak; grandparents: Robert and Elaine Ludwig; aunts and uncles: Karen and Jim Bartell, Frank and Julie Hlebak, Lisa Janusik, Rob and Sue Ludwig, Larry and Jennie Ludwig; Hlebak Cousins: Amanda, Josh, Matt, Theresa, Cindy, Corey, Elizabeth, Austin, Jessica, Alexis, Joe, Molli, Jessica and Ryan, many second cousins; and Ludwig Cousins: Jake, Abby, Gunnar, Genevieve and Gemma. She is also survived by her dear lifelong friend, Abby White.
She was preceded in death by grandparents: Joe and Helen Hlebak; uncle: Joe Hlebak; uncle: Joe Janusik; and friend: Katie Boyle.
Visitation will be held at Hodapp Funeral Home, 6041 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio 45224 on Wednesday May 18, 2022 from 4-7pm.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Clare Church, 1443 Cedar Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45224 on Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 11am.
Please consider making a donation in Taylor’s name to Starshine Hospice and Palliative Care
at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center or to North Hills Swim Club, Taylor’s favorite place to be - PO Box 24149 Cincinnati, OH 45224`