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Dwight Taylor

1920 - 2015
Dwight Taylor Obituary
Dwight Davidson Taylor, Jr.

For 94 years, Dwight Taylor found the best in himself, in his friends, and in life. He will be dearly missed and fondly remembered by all those whose lives he has touched for the better. He passed away peacefully at his home on the morning of Monday, May 18th, 2015.

Dwight was born November 25, 1920, Minneapolis, Minnesota to Dwight D. Taylor, Sr. and Ethelyn Maude Bigglestone Taylor. He grew up on Lake Minnetonka, near the town of Excelsior where he went to school. An only child, he left home at the age of 16 in the fall of 1937 and boarded a train headed for Harvard.

Dwight, a lifelong sports fan, played basketball at Harvard and lived at Lowell House. He received a B.A. in '41, Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a law degree at the Harvard Law School, nominally the class of '44 which was delayed to '49 due to the war. He earned an A.M.P. from the Harvard Business School, 1972.

He served on Harvard's 2012 Faculty of Arts and Sciences Task Force on Student Support.

He joined Pan Am's ground support services group, which contracted with the US Navy. Dwight worked as station manager at Noumea, New Caledonia during WWII. He also lived in Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand during the war.

Dwight entered private legal practice from 1949 to 1952. From 1952 to 1953 he was the Assistant to the President of the State University of New York in Albany. From 1954 to 1955 he worked for the Carnegie Corporation in New York, then joined American Airlines, where he worked as Vice President of governmental affairs from 1955 to 1964.

He worked for Eastern Airlines from 1965 to 1974 as a Senior Vice President. He moved to San Francisco in 1974 as Senior Vice President of Crown Zellerbach, where he retired in 1985.

He married Dorothy Virginia Bennett in Alexandria, Virginia on April 11, 1975. They lived in Pacific Heights, San Francisco.

When Dwight joined Crown Zellerbach, he was given the opportunity of joining one of San Francisco's clubs. He chose the Olympic Club. Dwight made many life-long friends at the Club, and his longevity is at least in part a testament to his dedication to exercising with friends there.

Dwight and Dottie became intrepid globe-trotters. They were in Mosul touring archaeological sites a few weeks before the First Gulf War. They were some of the last tourists to stay with the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq before Saddam Hussein drained the swamps. They traveled alone through Kurdistan and through Yemen with the aid of armed guards. Dwight published a lively book about his travels with his beloved Dottie, "A Kind of A Love Song."

Dwight possessed a deep, life-long love of learning, an incredible memory, and a passion for clarity and wit in language. His deep reverence for Shakespeare led him to make a New Year's resolution of re-reading all the plays this year. He finished 15 of them.

Dwight followed the opera, politics, and sports with equal gusto, and had an encyclopedic command of details: arias sung, runs batted in, votes in Congress. They were all of keen interest to Dwight.

Mr. Taylor is preceded by his wife, Dorothy Bennett Taylor. He is survived by his step children Nancy Northrup, Donald Prather and David Prather, and his grandchildren, J.D. Northrup and his wife Jamie of Berkeley, Kate Summers, Robert Northrup, Natalie Northrup, Serena Prather, Anton Prather, Benjamin, Michael, Mark Prather, Daniel Prather. And five great-grandchildren.

Donations can be made on Dwight Taylor's behalf to the college scholarship charity 10,000 Degrees. A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on June 18th, 2015 at the Olympic Club, 524 Post Street, San Francisco, California.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 14, 2015
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