John A. Saylor M.D.
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John A. Saylor, M.D.

Years..... actually decades after he retired, people would often approach Dr. John Saylor in the grocery store or at restaurants to express how much he had impacted their lives. "Thank you for taking care of me and my family," someone would say. "I'll never forget how kind you were when my daughter was sick and I was scared," said another.

John A. Saylor, M.D. died April 12, on Easter 2020. He would have celebrated his 100th birthday today on Father's Day. Dr. Saylor is survived by his wife, Verla Saylor; his daughter, Laura Saylor, and three stepchildren Leslie Gilpin Dublin, Gary Gilpin and Larry Gilpin. He had numerous grandchildren through his wife Rachael Gilpin, Jeffrey Dublin and Spencer Scobie-Gilpin but no biological grandchildren.

Dr. Saylor also had a son, Adam, who preceded him in death on Dec. 13, 1968. The 1972 Jackson Browne hit, "Song for Adam," was written for the younger Saylor. Every Christmas, Dr. Saylor would wear a shirt he had purchased for Adam's burial in India. It was a very personal way Dr. Saylor could honor his son's memory as the years went by.

Dr. Saylor also is survived by an adopted son, Prentice Hill.

Most of Dr. Saylor's life was spent as a resident of Long Beach, California, having first experienced the area as a student at Long Beach City College. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Saylor returned to Long Beach, where he devoted the majority of his 50-year medical career to his family practice on Village Road. Prior to that, though, he served as a doctor in Okinawa, Japan during World War II. Dr. Saylor was always very humble about his military service.

In 1960, he saved the life of his former stepson, Edward Delcoure, through full blood transfusions. Dr. Saylor was the medical director of Memorial Hospital when it moved from Chestnut Avenue to Atlantic Avenue in 1960. He also was one of the founders of Woodruff Community Hospital.

Dr. Saylor lived an incredible, inspirational life he appeared to effortlessly do enough to fill 100 lifetimes. A true renaissance man, Dr. Saylor sang and played musical instruments, including the guitar, trumpet, piano, harmonica and drums. He also sewed clothes, polished rocks, created stained glass windows, sailed, and took beautiful photos that he developed himself. His bulldog, Kippax Fearnought, known as "Jock," was the first bulldog to win "Top Dog" Best In Show in the Westminster Kennel Club. At the same time, Jock was the first dog to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated on July 4, 1955.

Dr. Saylor wrote a book on the advantages of legalizing drugs, as well as a script that was translated from a German novel. In addition, he studied multiple languages, including German, Spanish and French. For decades, Dr. Saylor wrote multiple letters to the editor that were published in both the Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Los Angeles Times. He also loved to ride his bike, a trait that both of his daughters have inherited. Dr. Saylor loved to create spectacular slideshows set to music. In 2003, he took it a step further when he began creating and editing what would result in thousands of DVDs, which he called "Tone Poems. " The Tone Poems put contemporary music to inspirational photos he found in the daily newspaper. Each poem proved to be a unique and educational mix of entertainment, culture, music, society and world events.

Dr. Saylor liked to build things too. With his family, he built a cabin in Oregon, a deck at his house in the Sunrise Boulevard Historic Landmark District, bookshelves along the walls of his home (which today still hold a veritable library with thousands of books in every fiction and nonfiction genre imaginable) and a motor home to travel and explore the country with his wife and children. Also an entrepreneur, Dr. Saylor purchased and transformed the Paragon Room in Lakewood, California. The restaurant was named after its sound system, which was the most expensive of the time, and was the first establishment to allow patrons to cook their own steaks.

Dr. Saylor will be missed not only for his ability as a doctor, but also for his kindness, his wit, his charm, his love for his family, and his appreciation for the little things the things that make life truly beautiful.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Press-Telegram on Jun. 21, 2020.
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11 entries
September 30, 2020
I did not know Dr. Saylor, but I do have an interesting story about him, for anyone who might be interested.

On Feb. 16, 2019 I adopted an abused dog from The Animal Foundation, a shelter in Las Vegas. He looked like a tall bulldog, so we figured he was a mix of some kind. 1.5 years later, I found his adoption paperwork in a file and found his microchip number. I wanted to make sure it was up to date, but noticed when I looked it up online that it was registered with 2 different companies. One was my registration when I adopted him, and the other was earlier (perhaps when he was born.) I never knew this existed, so I called the company. After supplying them with the adoption paperwork, I asked if they might know his real birthday. Turns out they knew his entire lineage, and had baby pictures of him as well as medical records. It turns out he is a “Victorian Bulldog” registered with the American Canine Hybrid Club and has a traceable lineage through them. His father was an English Bulldog and his mother was an Olde English Bulldogge. As I went down his ancestors on his father’s side on (and also received some awesome pictures and information on his ancestors from the breeders involved in his lineage,) I found some interesting things. First off, on his father’s side he is able to be traced all the way back to Ringer and Kate, two of the first few bulldogs ever registered in the early 1800s! Even more interesting is his grandfather 17x removed, who was one of only two bulldogs ever to win the Westminster Dog Show. In 1955, he was voted the best dog on the planet!

My boy Frankie is neutered, so there is no reason to trace his history except for fun, and to see awesome pictures of the dogs that created him. He had been abused and thrown away, but was always a champion to me. Now I know exactly what kind of dog he is, and also that he is AWESOME (not that I didn’t already know that!)

Not too shabby for a shelter dog, huh?

Only twice in history has a bulldog won the Westminster Dog Show. In 1913 it was won by Ch. Strathtay Prince Albert. In 1955 it was won by CH Kippax Fearnought.
CH Kippax Fearnought is Frankie’s Grandfather, 17x removed.

Frankie Bulldog:
Born of Boggs Creek Mackattack
Born Of Titan’s Mighty Mack
Born Of CH Lil’ Boy’s Tennessee Titan
Born Of CH Sochabull Nifty Fifty
Born Of Cherokee Lucky Lucille
Born Of CH Cherokee Diamond Bull Eve
Born Of CH Prestwick Gawain
Born Of CH Cherokee Lord Prestwick
Born Of CH Cherokee Harvest
Born Of CH Cherokee Ivanhoe
Born Of CH Lebo Peaches
Born Of CH Cherokee Angus Of Primavera
Born Of USA CH Vardona Snowman’s Double
Born Of Vardona Silver Star
Born Of USA CH Vardona Firebell
Born Of Vardona Lady Fearnougt
Born Of CH Kippax Fearnought
Kippax Fearnought Born 10/25/52
Won Westminster Dog Show 1955

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

So you might be thinking this is where the story ends, that I found out what I had already knew down deep (and what all dog owners know,) that my boy was special. This would probably be a fitting end to the story, and after we switched his paperwork over into our names we just have a great story to tell visitors who meet Frankie. Well that isn’t the end.

People have asked me why I care, and why I spent my time and effort finding out information on a shelter dog. There was no reason for it except curiosity, and the feeling of accomplishment of finally getting his paperwork into our names. It somehow made everything feel more right, like he was finally free of his past and belonged to our family the way it always should have been. Simply KNOWING his past was enough. However I had to ask myself why this became such an obsession, and why it felt so necessary to find out his story now. It seemed like there was something else driving what should have just been curiosity, and making it feel like something more. Well here is the “more.”

Kippax Fearnought was owned by a man named Dr. John A. Saylor from Long Beach, CA. Dr. Saylor was an amazing man who lived more during his life than most people ever will. Dr. Saylor saved lives, healed sick people, saved soldiers on the battlefield and wrote books. He was a man who lived a life that they make movies about, but nobody ever did. He was simply an amazing man who lived his life to the fullest, and who would eventually fade away into obscurity after he was gone. He was one of those people that will be missed by those close to him, but who will never be more famous than that time in 1955 when his prized possession and best friend “Jock” won the Westminster Dog Show. Great people shouldn’t fade away.

Dr. John A. Saylor died on Easter, 2020. He was 100 years old, and his brush with fame was just a distant memory from his past. My quest to find out more about my dog started in September, 2020. Maybe, just maybe, this was actually Kippax Fearnought making sure his owner got remembered one last time after he died. Dr. Saylor deserved that much, and maybe Jock made it so.

RIP Dr. Saylor.
Raymond Santopietro
June 24, 2020
Dr. Saylor was a pioneer and ahead of his time with his health-centered, individualized approach to his patients. I had the pleasure of working across the hall from him for over 30 years. Dr. Bob McBride
June 24, 2020
Dr.Saylor was our family Dr, for many years, he saved my brother's life when he was small, and came to our home to take care of us.He was a very caring Dr. I still think of him when I'm over by his office.May he Rest in Peace
Maureen Allison Manlove
June 23, 2020
Dr Saylor was our family doctor! 1963 I would have died from a ruptured Appendix if he wouldn't have left a family party and came to our house at night checked me had my parents rush me to Woodruff Community Hospital where he met us there and removed my appendix! I seriously would have died! He made a house call!!! He was the best doctor ever! So sorry to hear he died! May he rest in peace!
Frankie Duffy Wilkinson
June 23, 2020
John Saylor Was the voluntary photographer of my wedding in 1976. He created a lovely photo album of that day. He was dearly loved and admired by my step-mother, Jocelyn Peterson, who was his sister-in- law. I wish I could have known him better and never knew he wrote a book about legalizing drugs. He was an inspiration clear up through his nineties and I feel lucky to have known him.
Jamie Stephens
June 23, 2020
I remember him as my Doctor in 1958, when I was four years old....RIP.
Michael Sanders
June 23, 2020
I remember his kind and gentle voice and touch and his smile when I was a small child afraid to be at the doctors office. What a great life Dr. Saylor lived!
Traci Warner
June 21, 2020
Dr. Saylor journeyed with the MacRae family as our doctor, counselor and friend through all of our lives until he retired. We were blessed as this man did it all as a doctor and probably saved our lives more than once! Mom had he and his wife over for dinner and music and laughter and on those occasions we saw another side of John ... he'd play the guitar and mom would sing! He had so many interests! He and his bulldog had their photo in Life magazine after his dog won best in show! He was brilliant ... a true Renaissance man ...and the best doctor any one could have. An incredible man! God bless him!
Valerie MacRae
June 21, 2020
I was just talking about Dr. Saylor with my wife Heidi two days ago. I was a patient of Doctor Saylor it seems half of my life until moving to Riverside in 1986. Id last seen the good doctor at my dads funeral in 2001 and he came up to greet me with a big smile. I loved his sense of humor and remember Dr. Saylors photography on the walls of his practice. Im amazed at all of Doctor Saylors accomplishments but not surprised. My good friend and high school graduation walking partner, Nurse Jan Anderson worked for Doctor Saylor as well. So going to the doctors was like going to see family. Just a bit more prodding. I know my parents in heaven are enjoying quality time with Doctor Saylor now. They loved him. What a great man! Ill forever treasure his memory. God bless Doctor Saylor and his family. Amen.
Robbie MacRae
June 21, 2020
My sincere condolences to Dr. Sailor's family..
He will forever be in my thoughts and prayers.
He saved my life when I was just 18 months old, having tetanus and lockjaw.
I am now 72 years old.
God Bless and Rest in Peace
Don Allison
June 21, 2020
What a loss. He treated all of his son Adam's friends and their children as well. I remember his playing the drums while listening to the Paragon in his music room. Years after Adam's death, he still invited Adam's friends over for dinner every year. He was our friend. A remarkable man, indeed.
Howard Cooney
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