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William Owen (Bill) Taylor went home to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. He died of natural causes at his home in Lamar, Missouri.

Bill loved his hometown of Brookfield where he was born on February 8, 1911.

He graduated from Brookfield  High School where he lettered in every sport, became a football hero, and held several athletic records (which were not bested for several decades).  He then went to Missouri Valley College and did the same, ending up as a Missouri All Star (and was later in the Athletic Hall of Fame).  He was extremely fast and still holds some yardage records there.  He was known for playing with a broken shoulder blade simply having his arm taped to his side (and then completed the game adding another 300 yards and two touchdowns for his team).   After college he was signed on to play with a pro team in Kansas City, but during the practice season his career was cut short due to a cracked vertebrae. 

Loving the sport of football, Mr. Taylor went on to become a Coach (and teacher).  He honed his coaching skills in Macon and then came home to Brookfield to distinguish his town by coaching the record breaking 1947 Bulldogs football team.  This 1947 team was undefeated and unscored upon for an entire season.  Over 7 different football seasons in 3 different schools, Mr. Taylor's teams won 46 out of 54 games.  However, he never failed to credit the team for the wins.  There was just something about Coach Taylor that caused his players to display a fierce loyalty to him.  They all wanted to please him.  He never raised his voice or put any of them down.  He continually encouraged them and personally helped to strengthen them in areas where they were weak.

During WWII Bill was disappointed that he was not allowed to join the army due to his cracked vertebrae.  Therefore he put his coaching career on hold and since he had a degree in chemistry he went to work at a war plant in Kentucky.  

Mr. Taylor also served as Superintendent in Weston, MO. for several years and was credited for pushing through the consolidation that saved the small school district from extinction.  

Bill then moved on through the field of education and advanced to the position of Principal of Culver City Junior High in California.  Mr. Taylor thought of this school as ‘HIS BABY” and dearly loved every day he spent there.  He took a deep personal interest in every student that crossed his path.  He was available for his parents, teachers, students and staff 24/7.  This same quality that endeared him to his football players was also part of his persona at this school.  Because he seldom used sick leave, Mr. Taylor was able to retire one year early, with pay, by using his sick leave.

Bill and his wife, Maida, retired in 1975 to Lamar where he taught biology class at the high school, became a chemist at O'Sullivan's, and was substituting at the age of 90.  He had to quit his substituting job when his wife became ill.  He then nursed her for three years until her death in 2005.  

Perhaps the best way to eulogize Mr. Taylor is to quote from a letter he received from a former Culver City student on his 100th birthday.  This letter was written by Kitt Christopher Calton-Whippern, Ph.D. (an engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center).

  “… I remember you as a man of sincere honesty, integrity and gentle character. … …of all the teachers and administrators, principals and athletic coacher I had at Culver City, I remember you the most.  Perhaps most of all, despite the fact that you held a position of high authority over “us students.” You always strove to be fair.  You were fair in your assessments, fair in your judgments; and willing to give a kid a chance to explain his (or her) side of an issue.  You were never overly harsh, but were ready to give anyone the benefit of doubt.  I always admired that quality in you. … … (He goes on to relate his life as a high-grade civil servant) … …  But, during those years, and especially when I had supervisory responsibilities over junior personnel, I would invariable remember you, and how you were with us.  When a situation would arise requiring disciplinary action, I would to the best of my ability try to emulate you gentle calm and reserve; your civility and graciousness, which I never saw you to fail to show others.   Whenever I hear the word “gentleman,” I always think of you as the model; the standard against all others are to be judged.  I wanted you to know how important you have been to me, how deeply you have touched my life, and to thank you.  Thank you for the privilege of having known a man like you. … …”

This aptly describes a man who never showed any gender, ethnic, social status or religious bias against anyone.  He did not smoke, drink or swear.  His sense of humor was always present even days before his death.  He was a tribute to his generation and a lesson to all generations that follows. 

Bill is survived by his sister Octavia (Taylor) Straub of New Haven, his daughter Karen Taylor (Grounds, Laird) of Lamar, his grandson Gene L. Grounds of Lamar, his granddaughter Patricia L. (Laird) Sullivan of Oxford, CT, six great grandchildren, six great-great grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.  He will be missed.

Graveside service for William Owen (Bill) Taylor will be 2:30 pm Wednesday November 2, 2011 at the Oak Grove Cemetery across from Oakton Methodist Church, the church he attended every Sunday.

The family will receive friends at Daniel Funeral Home 6:30 to 7:30 pm Tuesday November 1, 2011.

The family requests that flowers not be sent.  If anyone wishes to acknowledge the life of William (Bill) Taylor please make a donation, in his name, to the Oakton Methodist Church



#1 Carl Junction, MOGreg Peters 2011-11-01 14:44
I had the pleasure of getting to know Bill through my friendship with his grandson Gene. My thoughts and prayers go out to Gene, Patty and Karen. God bless you all!

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