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Taylor Prazynski

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Family-Placed Obituary

PRAZYNSKI, LCpl. Taylor B. Taylor Prazynski was born on Veterans Day in 1984 at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, the son of a staff sergeant, and lived his first four years on bases in Utah and Illinois. His father became a civilian in early 1989 - but not Taylor. The family moved to Fairfield, where Taylor adopted The Army Goods Store on Dixie Highway as his favorite hangout. Since 1990 the store has hung a picture of 6-year old Taylor, in a beret and camouflage jumpsuit, on a wall behind the counter. The store hung up a second photo of Taylor late last week. In this picture he's decked out in more military gear - the real kind. This photo was taken before Lcpl. Taylor B. Prazynski left in January for Iraq, where he was killed Monday, May 9 while fighting alongside his U.S. Marine corps battalion. He was 20. "Taylor always said he was where he was supposed to be," said his father, John Prazynski, "doing what he was supposed to be doing." Taylor didn't know he'd die a marine. He didn't even know he'd live to be a marine. His overt infatuation with the military came and went over the years, his parents say, but by his senior year at Fairfield High he'd decided to enlist. He and two of his best friends, Troy Riggs and Sean Barr, enlisted together. Taylor's mother was the last to know. "He worked with me at the Best Western in Springdale, and for a week everyone there knew he'd signed up except for me," said Claudia Focke-Curati. "He didn't want to upset me, but I wasn't surprised. I knew he was heading that way." After going through boot camp together in Parris Island, S.C., Taylor and Riggs were baptized at Vineyard Community Church in Springdale. That brings great comfort to his family. "We know Taylor's in heaven," John Prazynski said. Following a peace-keeping stint in Haiti, Taylor and his battalion were deployed from Camp Lejeune, N.C. to Iraq in January. They were sent to Fallujah, the heart of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While overseas, Taylor kept in touch with his family. "He called every week," said Taylor's stepmother, Carol Prazynski. "We laughed that we heard from Taylor more when he was (in Iraq) than when he was in Camp Lejeune - and he had a cell phone at Camp Lejeune." During a call in April, John Prazynski could tell his son was growing up. Taylor started talking about his plans for the future, including his desire to buy a truck, find an apartment and start college. "He wanted to be a teacher," John Prazynski said. Taylor called home for the last time on Friday, May 6. He told everyone not to be shocked if they didn't hear from him for a while. His battalion was about to enter a combat zone. He couldn't say much more. Until recently, Focke-Curati had saved most of her son's phone messages from Iraq. Shortly before his death she cleaned out her voice mail, but she saved the message he left on Valentine's Day. "Hey, Mom. I'm doing good. . .calling before I go back to the room. . .I miss you. . .love you. .." "I've listened to that one a good bit this week," said Focke-Curati. "Maybe 20 or 30 times." Taylor B. Prazynski is survived by his mother, Claudia Focke-Curati; his father, John F. Prazynski, and his wife Carol; a brother, Ryan Blomer; a great-grandmother, Gertrude Horgan; two grandmothers, Mary Alice Prazynski and Urshel Arnett; and many other loving family members. Taylor was preceded in death by his grandparents, Hershel and Siegrid Curati, and Francis J. Prazynski. Funeral services with full military honors will be held Wednesday, May 18 at 3:00 p.m. at Fairfield High. Visitation will begin Tuesday, May 17 at 3:00 p.m. at the high school. Final interment will take place Friday, May 20 at 2:00 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, supporters honor LCpl. Prazynski by making memorial donations to the LCpl. Taylor B. Prazynski Memorial Fund at any Fifth Third Bank Branch. The Avance Funeral Home of Fairfield is serving the family. Condolences may be sent at www.avancefuneralhome.com
Published in Journal-News from May 15 to May 16, 2005
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