Charles Edward Taylor "Papa" CHARLOTTE - Mr. Taylor, 97, of Charlotte, North Carolina, expired on October 19, 2013. Born in Darlington, South Carolina to the late Mr. and Mrs. John and Melissa Taylor, he was the youngest of five children. Mazie V. Graham Taylor, his wife, preceeded him in death in 2009, after being married for 67 years. A caring husband, father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather, Mr. Taylor is survived by his daughters, Charliese Bolton, Bette Taylor Jones, JD and husband, Dr. William Jones, of St. Louis, MO; grandchildren, Joseph Tisdale Taylor and wife Felicia, Robert Rashad Bolton and wife Sasha, and Jennifer Taylor Jones, JD; great-grandchild, Robert Rashad Bolton, Jr. He graduated from Marion Normal School for Negroes in Marion, S.C., where his first cousin who raised him after the deaths of his mother and father, was the Black Superintendent of Schools. Thereafter, he received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science from Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia. After World War II, he attended Iowa State University for graduate studies. Sergeant Taylor participated in what most historians consider to be the greatest event in the last 500 years in the history of the world, the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944. He was in a PT boat alongside the United States Destroyer Texas that crossed the English Channel. Unable to swim, he landed in the second wave in Omaha Beach. Sergeant Taylor was a member of the 320th anti-Aircraft Artillery Balloon Barrage Battalion, the only black unit that stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day landing on Omaha Beach. As communication chief, he was responsible for directing the placement of air barrage balloons to protect the infantry and armor from the German enemy radar and planes. He stayed there from June 6, 1944 to the end of November 1944. Sergeant Taylor's Battalion was the first barrage balloon unit in France, and was the first black unit in the segregated American army to come ashore on D-Day. Early, in his career, Mr. Taylor taught at Schofield Institute founded in 1868, a Quaker boarding school specializing in training for industrial learning and teaching in South Carolina, where he taught agriculture and farming. He was employed at the United States Postal Service and reached the highest position available to an African-American individual at that time. He also taught in the Charlotte, Mecklenburg School System. When he retired, Mr. Taylor was the Assistant Director of the Charlotte Employment Security Service. A deeply thoughtful and extremely intelligent man, Mr. Taylor maintained a keen knowledge of current events through the newspaper, reading books and academic publications. With his sweet smile and peaceful demeanor, one would never know that he was an expert at the game of checkers. He was also a faithful and giving person, who was a constant contributor to many organizations that assist the disenfranchised, including Second Harvest Food Bank of North Carolina and March of Dimes. A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 12:00p.m. at Memorial Presbyterian Church on Beatties Ford Road. The family will receive friends 30 minutes prior to the service. The Burial will be Friday, October 25, 2013 at 12:00p.m. in Salisbury National Cemetery. Grier Funeral Service is assisting the Taylor family.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Oct. 23, 2013