TAYLOR, Claude I., O.C., FCMA, LL.D.
Chairman Emeritus, Air Canada
(1925 – 2015)
It is with great sadness that the family of Claude Taylor announces his quiet passing in Montreal on April 23, 2015, one month shy of his 90th birthday. A proud Canadian, whose roots go back to Salisbury, NB, Claude was the younger child of Martin Luther Taylor and Essie Troop Taylor. In 1947, he married Frances Watters, and she, his loving wife of 66 years, died in November of 2013. Claude is survived by his brother Fred (Marjorie) and family in Salisbury, and by his children Peter (Karen Quinn) and Karen, both of Beaconsfield, QC. Dad was the very proud Papa of Austin, Adam (Tania Costa), Riley, Kimberly (Neil McMahon), Scott, and Shaun, and Great-Papa of Isabella, Shayla, Hayden, and Hartlyn.
In 1949, in Moncton, NB, Claude joined the fledgling Trans-Canada Airlines as a reservations clerk in the Traffic Division, remaining with the company and rising to become President and CEO of Air Canada in 1976, then Chairman in 1984. He remained with Air Canada, in Executive and Board positions, through the late 1990s-a career spanning nearly 50 years in the airline and aviation industry.
In 1986, Claude was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for having turned Air Canada into a world leader in air transportation and for his leadership of professional organizations at home and abroad. He received honorary degrees from the University of New Brunswick, McMaster University, and Concordia University.
Claude's outstanding leadership and dedication to the foundation of the Canadian airline industry had a profound influence on its development. He was proud of the part he played in Parliament's approval of the 1977 Air Canada Act, which transformed Air Canada from a subsidiary of Canadian National Railways (CNR) to a Crown Corporation in its own right. He then led Air Canada's privatization, with its stock first being offered on the public market in 1988. In 1985, Claude Taylor was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame, in recognition of the impact of his efforts, which significantly changed the face of Canadian aviation. Internationally, he led the effort to restructure IATA in the 1980s, serving a term as its Chairman.
Claude Taylor also offered his considerable skills and business acumen to the community-at-large, chairing campaigns for Centraide and the Canadian Centre for Cultural Renewal and serving as Honorary Chair of the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference and as Chair of the Board of Governors of Concordia University. He received the McGill Management Achievement Award, the C.D. Howe Award, and the Canadian Operations Research Society Award. Claude is a Commander of the Order of St. John and was named the second Chairman of HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh's Canadian Commonwealth Study Conferences. Among his many other pursuits was involvement with the Boy Scouts: He proudly accepted the Silver Wolf Award and he attended many Canadian and World Jamborees. Always concerned about the welfare of others, he donated his time and resources to the Salvation Army, Concordia University, and the recently opened McGill University Health Centre (MUHC).
As a loving husband and father, devoted to his family and church, he would jet back from the other side of the world to attend school Christmas concerts and family events. A great baseball fan, he held season tickets to his beloved Expos and attended many games with his granddaughter, Kimmy. A proud Papa, he would walk the sidelines of his grandsons' Lakeshore football or baseball games, rain or shine. His Christian faith and his Christian community, Val Royal Baptist Church, were his rock and foundation. A founding member of the Church, he was both a life Deacon and occasional caretaker of Val Royal Baptist, attending weekly services up to and including the week before his death. He found great joy and comfort in the Gospel message and in his many friends in the congregation.
Claude Taylor lived and breathed Air Canada. He was immensely proud of the Air Canada family and the accomplishments of its people. Whether on an aircraft, or walking through an airport, maintenance base, or a department at HQ, he spoke with-and more important- listened to, all, asking personally for people's input and taking their advice to heart. Christmas Day would not start at home until after he called Air Canada staff working on Christmas morning at the airport and elsewhere, to wish them and their families a Merry Christmas.
The family would like to thank the third-floor staff at the Sunrise Residence (DDO) for their loving care of Dad over this past year since Mom's passing. Grateful thanks also to Reverend Elliott van Egmond and the congregation of Val Royal Baptist Church for their support.
A Funeral Service, for family members and close friends, will be held at Val Royal Baptist Church, 11800 O'Brien Blvd. Montreal, H4J 1Y8, on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 11 a.m. At Dad's request, there will be no advance visitation.
The family would like to invite all, especially his extended Air Canada family, to express their condolences and, especially, to celebrate his life and share their memories of him, at one of Dad's favourite places, the Forest & Stream Club, 1800 Lakeshore Drive, Dorval, (2.1 kms west of Dorval Avenue) on Monday, May 4, 2015 from 2 p.m.-7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Val Royal Baptist Memorial Fund in the name of Claude Taylor would be appreciated.
Voluntas Commemoration is in charge of arrangements (www.voluntas.ca