Dr. Richard Dean Taylor

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  • "No words can express the loss of this man, he was a..."
    - Amanda Brand (Taylor)
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Dr. Richard Dean Taylor July 22, 1924 - December 2, 2009 Dr. Richard Dean Taylor passed away peacefully on December 2, 2009 at the VA Hospital in Grand Junction while being attended by family. He was 85 years old. Richard was born on July 22, 1924 on his parent's farm in Hillsdale, Oklahoma. His parents, Ogie and Docia were both born in Indian Territory, now known as Kansas and Oklahoma. As was common in those days, after finishing his morning chores, he rode a horse to school. His first car was a Model T Ford. Richard lived and worked on the farm until his high school graduation in 1942. This is where he gained his love of animal husbandry and farming. He joined the Marines in 1943 and fought on Bougainville in the Soloman Islands. He also served in the Philippines on several islands, including Luzan. He told his sons that he had the only radio in his unit. They would listen to Tokyo Rose and laugh at the propaganda unless she said they were going to bomb tomorrow, at which time they all prepared for a bombing. His unit went to Luzon to secure and protect airfields. They took part in an operation to free American soldiers who were prisoners of war. Later while attending college, he came across one of the men they had freed, his psychology professor. Richard Taylor fought valiantly during the war and for this received the Bronze Star. He met his future wife, Irene Geletka at Cherry Point Marine Base in North Carolina where they were both preparing to be discharged. He was discharged October 8, 1945 and they were married October 12th. Richard went to college on the G.I. Bill and earned his bachelors degree from New Mexico State University. In 1950 he was hired to teach agriculture at Mesa College in Steamboat Springs and his son Donald Lee was born there. While in Steamboat Springs, he brought High School rodeo to the State of Colorado. He also formed an outreach program to bring farm children to school five days a week. He subsequently taught school in Scottsbluff, Nebraska where his second son, Russell Dale was born in 1952. Richard was hired to teach in Pueblo for a couple of years before accepting a position as Superintendant of Eagle Valley Schools. While in Pueblo, his third son, Dean Allen was born in 1954. He was Superintendant of School District 3 in Security from 1959 - 1969. His fourth and final son, Roger Lynn was born in Colorado Springs in 1959. Richard's work in education often took him to Washington, D.C. and on one of these trips he met President John F. Kennedy. He proudly displayed the photo taken at this meeting in his office and then in his home. In 1965, Richard was selected as one of 15 educators to go behind the iron curtain in the U.S.S.R. to help them learn how to upgrade the Russian educational system. Also during this year, he was a guest of NASA for the fifth manned Gemini flight launch. Richard never forgot the thrill of being there. He took a sabbatical in 1968 to obtain a Doctorate Degree from Northern Colorado University in Greeley. During these years, he instilled a love of nature and the outdoors in all of his young sons with many fishing and hunting expeditions in the wilderness of Colorado. In 1970, Richard was hired by the Ford Foundation to study and raise educational levels in Colorado. During this time, he worked out of their offices in Denver and later in Glenwood Springs, until the later part of 1975. From 1976 through 1980, he served as Director of Vocational Education for the State of Colorado. It was at this time he bought a home in the Redlands where he lived with his wife Irene. He retired in 1980 and began to do all the things he never had time to do before. He and Irene enjoyed jeep touring through the back county of Colorado and excursions to Reno, Nevada. They often went to the four corners area to pursue their shared interest in American Indian jewelry, weaving and culture. He continued his love of animal husbandry during his retirement by breeding paint and quarter horses. Richard frequented livestock sales yards, farm equipment auctions, stock shows and rodeos with his family. After his wife's death, Dr. Taylor spent almost every day visiting his sons and helping them out in any way he could. He was always extremely proud of all of his sons and he loved them very much. He is survived by two sisters, Maxine McCurley of Anacortes, Washington and Ruth Porter of Cedaredge, Colorado; four sons, Don of Delta and Dean, Roger and Russell of Grand Junction. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren, Amber, Allison, Amanda, Brandi, Brooke, Chelsea, Dustin, Ethan, Heather, Julia and Zachary, and eight great grandchildren, Caden, Corbin, Ethan, Layton, Max, and Mia, Shawn and Zane. He was preceded in death by his wife, Irene; his parents and his brother, Dale, who died when he was a child. A private family memorial will take place on the Colorado National Monument in the spring. He was a shining example of what is referred to as "The Greatest Generation". He will be greatly missed by his sons and family.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Dec. 20, 2009