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Melvin Eugene "Papa Gene" Taylor

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MELVIN EUGENE TAYLOR "PAPA GENE" Our dear father passed away early Friday morning July 31, 2015 at the age of 89 as he wished at home surrounded by his family. He was known by many names, Gene, Uncle Gene, Mel, Melvin, Mr. Taylor, Grandpa Taylor, Grandpa Gene, Pops, Dad, Father, and Papa Gene. Born in Piedmont, Alabama, April 14, 1926, son of Verna and Will Taylor. Raised with 3 sisters in Anniston Alabama near the Utica Knitting Mill where his mother worked as a seamstress. At the age of 17, he met our mother Jewell Miller age 15. With written permission from his mother he enlisted in the US Navy at the age of 17. He spent his 18th birthday in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea as Seaman First Class. During his tour of duty he worked below deck then promoted to the Eye Division spotting & identifying aircraft to officer of the day aboard the USS Philadelphia. He was aboard the decoy cruiser ship that escorted President Truman to the Potsdam Conference. While the ship was in dry dock on the Isle of Malta, in a desperate move, the Germans had proclaimed that the USS Philadelphia had been shot down and sunk. The cruiser was then dubbed the "Galloping ghost of the Sicilian Coast" The cruiser earned five battle stars during World War II. Honorably discharged he returned to Anniston, married Jewell Miller, living in Augusta and Columbus Georgia and had 4 children. He worked as a pattern cutter, welder, and shoe salesman. 1956, they moved to California. After the death of their son Johnny, 3 more children were born. He worked at Rohr and had other jobs as he attended California Baptist College graduating with a BA in Bible and English. In 1963, opened Mel's Silver Bell Restaurant on Magnolia Ave in Arlington. Retired from the County of Riverside at Riverside General Hospital as Food Service Manager at age of 59. The Taylor family attended Tyler Avenue, Arlanza, Grace and Magnolia Baptist Churches where they were very active. He was active with the Boy Scouts of America through Grace Baptist Church. All 3 sons were involved with the scouts. Papa Gene enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, and mostly his yearly trips to South Dakota to assist on his daughter's family farm with cattle drives across the county. "A true City Slicker" Survived, by his 3 daughters, Jeanne Wyatt and Jerry, Oral South Dakota, Joan Mckinley and Bill of Riverside, Trina Wiener and Dr. Gregory of La Jolla; his 2 sons, Steven Taylor of Riverside, Shawn Taylor and Laura of La Habra. He was proudest of his 13 grandchildren: Tina, Sherra, Julie, Jolene, Carmen, Corrie, Natalie, Jeremy, Karina, Nikolas, Harrison, Opal, & Charlton and 11 great grandchildren: Chad, Brandon, Brent, Krystal, Bogie, Eden, Jenna, Boston, Wyatt, Caiya, Luke, & Grace. He was preceded in death by his sons Johnny and Joey Taylor and his wife "Mama" Jewell. His memorial service will be held at the Riverside National Cemetery on Van Buren Blvd. Thursday, August 13, at 2:15pm sharp. A celebration of life at Magnolia Baptist Church in Riverside will be held after the service.
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Published in Press-Enterprise on Aug. 11, 2015
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