Previous Bozeman resident, William "Bill" George Taylor, died in his sleep from complications related to post polio syndrome on Jan. 2, 2011, in Green Valley, Ariz. He was 74 years old. He was in Green Valley visiting his sister, Mary Gay Wells and his brother-in-law, Jack Wells.
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Bill was born in Saco, Mont., on March 2, 1936, in the homesteading area of his great grandfather. His parents were Thomas George Taylor and Betty Gay Sanders. In 1937, Bill's family moved to the Anaheim, Calif. area where his father sought work on the naval shipyards during the Great Depression. In 1945, the family relocated to Bozeman, Mont., where Bill's father joined Bill's grandfather to run a lumber mill and logging operation.
He had a very active youth with activities including football, basketball, track, baseball, hunting and fishing. In football, he was recognized as an all-state linebacker. Bill gained many lifelong friends during this time. Early on in his life, he gained an appreciation for hard work, the western way of life, and family values through his pioneer upbringing.
Bill attended Gallatin County High School in Bozeman and graduated in 1954. He then enrolled at Montana State University. He joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Bill also enlisted in an ROTC program with the Montana Army Reserves. While at MSU, Bill was recruited to play football and tried out for the basketball team. During basketball season, Bill contracted polio, which was one of the great challenges of his life. Despite being told he would never walk again, through determination and extensive physical therapy at the Shriner's Hospital, he regained his ability to walk.
In 1959, Bill graduated from Montana State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He accepted a position with Thiokol Chemical Corp. in Brigham City, Utah. There he met Suzan Jane Scalley. They were married on Aug. 5, 1960, in Tremonton, Utah. They were married for 20 years and together had four sons. In 1962, Bill, Suzan and their new son Bill Jr. moved to Palo Alto, Calif., where Bill took a position with United Technologies Corp. as an Aerospace Engineer. Bill was responsible for several patents on rockets for the NASA Space Program. He served as a project engineer on the teams that designed the space shuttle boosters as well as the Minuteman and Titan missile systems. Bill's son Ford was born during this time in Palo Alto, Calif.
In 1965, the family moved to San Jose, Calif., where sons Spencer and Carson were born. Because of a son's medical condition, he left behind his aerospace career and moved the family to Bend, Ore., in October 1970 where Bill obtained a position as a real estate salesman for Sunriver Corporation. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to be the Sales and Marketing Chairman for Sunriver Corp. In 1975, Bill accepted a position as the Vice President and General Manager of the Bend Branch of Pacific First Federal Savings & Loan. During his tenure at PFF, the very first residential loans were made available to Sunriver and Black Butte.
In 1979, Bill fulfilled a long-held desire to start his own business. He opened Bill Taylor's Bankers Realty, which in a few years grew to be one of Bend's largest real estate brokerages, with residential, commercial, and property management divisions. He retired in 1992. Bill was very involved in the community and his primary love was for Rotary International. He led the Greater Bend Rotary Club's main fundraiser for over ten years, with resulting annual donations in excess of $100,000 to local high school sports and activities. Bill took particular pride in Rotary's effort to eradicate polio and was a Paul Harris Fellow because of his contributions to that effort.
Bill spent his retirement enjoying life in the Bend area socializing with his many good friends and playing golf at the Bend Country Club where he was a long time member. He continued to participate in Rotary until he could no longer physically sustain his involvement. At various times, Bill also attended Trinity Episcopal Church and the First Presbyterian Church.
He was a devoted father and grandfather taking great interest in his sons' lives, spending countless hours hunting, fishing, coaching, traveling and exposing the family to all kinds of activities and places.
He had many great friends throughout the places that he lived. He was especially fond of the Bend area and the wonderful people that he was able to spend his days with. Bend always reminded him of his hometown, Bozeman, where he will be laid to rest.
Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Evelyn Jo Carpenter. He is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Mary Gay Wells and Jack Wells of Bozeman, Mont., his sons and daughters-in-law, Bill and wife Joanne of Tigard, Ore., Ford of Bend, Spencer and wife Denise of Salem and Carson of Bend and 10 Taylor grandchildren, including Will, Maggie, Grace, John, Brittany, Jessica, Lansdon, Brayden, Lillian, and Annalise.
His family entrusts him to God and he will be greatly missed. A memorial service in Bill's honor will be held in Bend on Saturday Jan. 15, 2011, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church with a reception following. An additional memorial service will be held this summer in Bozeman, Mont., on July 30 at 12:30 p.m. at Spring Hill Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bill's name to the The Rotary Club of Greater Bend, P.O. Box 6561, Bend, OR 97708, designated to the Rotary Foundation to further Bill's goal of eradicating polio.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Jan. 9, 2011