When Richard F. Taylor passed away on January 28, 2022 in Muncie, Indiana, his four children and their families shared the grief of his loss, of course, but were also so deeply grateful for his 95 years of an incredible life.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri on July 27, 1926 as the youngest of the ten children of Andrew and Kate Taylor. Once a sports ball found it’s way into young Richard’s hands, he joined in the endless competitions of his siblings & neighborhood friends. His love of baseball led to his lifelong devotion to the St. Louis Cardinals.
A star athlete in his own right throughout his high school days, it was merely a preview of what was to come. To stay active and up on the rules, Richard began officiating football, basketball and baseball for several different leagues and ages. This is something that continued on for nearly 5 decades; he was a coaches/team favorite due to his fairness and knowledge of ever-changing rules.
After honoring a stint in the Navy, Richard returned to the midwest to attend Illinois Wesleyan University. He excelled in every aspect of college life, especially earning an advanced degree in education, receiving his Masters in Education from the University of Illinois. While at Wesleyan, Richard fully participated in the many social & charitable activities as a member of Sigma Chi fraternity, and he held the rare distinction of being selected as Captain for both the Titans football & baseball teams.
Not long after he began living out his dream of preparing his students for their own life goals, Richard was fortunate to meet and marry an authentic beauty queen, also noted for her elegantly casual style, a popular co-ed at Joliet’s St. Francis: the lovely Marilyn Hessling of Ottawa, Illinois. Together they set off on their great adventure, which has proven to be raising a beautiful family.
In 1952, Richard began his Illinois teaching career at Ottawa Marquette, also coaching football. He rose up thru the teaching ranks in LaSalle, being tabbed Principal in at Matthiessen Elementary in 1977, finally retiring in 1981. In relocating to Champaign, he committed once more to young people pursuing education in his administrative positions at both the University of Illinois and Parkland College. He filled his spare time swinging away with his old-timer’s softball team.
After hanging up his cleats once again, Richard & his forever bride, settled in Southern California to be near family that now also called it home. With the exception of his last few years, Richard enjoyed traveling from his home in Southern California to visit family in various midwestern cities. The highlight was always a day trip to Busch Stadium to cheer on his Redbirds joined by his sons, Rick and Randy, his daughter, Sandra, grandchildren & great grandsons, as well as various cousins, nieces & nephews still residing in the St. Louis area.
Richard is preceded in death by his cherished wife of nearly 60 years, Marilyn in 2007; as well as his parents, siblings Raymond, Catherine, Mary, Andrew Jr., Florence, Francis, Roselle, Martin and Virginia, and grandson Todd Taylor.
His surviving family includes his devoted children Richard F. (Pam) Taylor, Jr., of Muncie, Indiana; Victoria Taylor, Randall (Kristine) Taylor and Sandra Taylor Henson, all of Southern California. His beloved grandchildren are Brett Flaherty, Richard F. (Lauren) Taylor, Trisha (Joseph) Chapman and Chloe Henson; great grandchildren are Justyce Chapman, Ryker and Brooke Taylor, Hunter, Carter and Grayson Taylor.
A Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, May 7th at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church in Ottawa with Reverend David Kipfer officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Memorial Park. Gladfelter-Roetker Funeral Home has been entrusted with the arrangements.
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