Jack Taylor, 88, died peacefully at home on Nov. 17, 2013, in Laramie, Wyo. with his family by his side.
Jack was born in Mystic on March 16, 1925, the youngest child of John E. Taylor and Kate (Ducey) Taylor. His fraternal grandparents emigrated from Scotland and his maternal grandparents came from Ireland. His mother died when he was 6 years old. Growing up in Mystic, he enjoyed baseball, hunting, riding and training horses, and driving a harness racing sulky for his cousin.
He was WWII veteran, enlisting in the U.S. Navy after graduating from high school in 1943, serving in the South Pacific. He was a landing craft Coxswain driving a Higgins boat in several island invasions including Peleliu, and the Solomon Islands. He was also stationed on Guam and served on the Destroyer Escort Rathbun. He saw the aircraft loading of one the atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of the war. He rarely talked about his combat experiences and spent the rest of his life feeling war was a terrible waste. After his discharge in 1946, he used the GI Bill to become the first in his family to attend college, graduating from Centerville Community College and later receiving a Bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Iowa. He received his Master’s degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Wyoming in 1961 and held a Professional Certificate in guidance and counseling from Hunter College in New York City.
During the war he attended basic training at Farragut Naval Training Center in Idaho cementing his love of the west. Before settling on education as his life’s work he worked as a surveyor in Wyoming and Montana, among other jobs. He was a talented carpet and tile layer. In his early education career he taught in Minnesota and Wyoming. He joined the Laramie High School faculty as a guidance counselor in 1964, retiring in 1985.
He was a fine pistol and rifle shot, winning a sharpshooter’s flag for his naval training unit. He was a well-known gun collector in Laramie and an expert on the makes, history and development of firearms. In his earlier years, he enjoyed hunting and fishing with his family. He could fix anything (always with a few choice words he picked up in the Navy) and never met a dog he didn’t like or who didn’t like him. Jack was a kind and loving man.
He was preceded in death by his oldest son, John F. Taylor, killed in an auto accident in 1970; his brother and sister-in-law, William and Vi Taylor; his sisters, Ellen Taylor Farquhar and Goldean Taylor Schulz; son-in-law, Douglas R. Pirtle of Bloomfield; his parents; and his former wife’s parents, Forest and Lucile Jennings of Centerville.
He is survived by three children; son, Pryce J. Taylor and former daughter-in-law, Ticia Shelton; and daughters, Susannah (Sue) Taylor McClendon and former son-in-law, William McClendon and Katherine (Katie) Taylor Pirtle Morgan and her husband, Phil Morgan; and his three grandchildren, Jack and Ken McClendon and Sarah Morgan, all of Laramie, Wyo. He is also survived by his former wife, Lafonne (Foncey) Jennings Taylor of Laramie, Wyo., originally of Centerville, who he married in 1951 and is the mother of his four children; and his dear companion of many years, Dorothy Masterson of Laramie, Wyo. and her extended family.
He has been cremated and his cremains were placed at Greenhill cemetery in Laramie, Wyo. next to his son in a private family ceremony. At his request, there will be no memorial service.
Memorial donations may be made to the Eppson Center for Seniors, 1560 N 3rd St., Laramie, WY 82072, or Hospice of Laramie, 1262 N 22nd St, Ste A, Laramie, WY 82072.
Condolences may be sent to the family at his home address, 414 S 10th St., Laramie, WY 82070.