Raynor A. K. Taylor
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Raynor A. K. Taylor
Virginia Beach - Rear Admiral Raynor A. K. Taylor, age 77, passed away September 3, 2013 from cancer and congestive heart failure. He died at his home in Virginia Beach.
He was born to Raynor and Doris M. (Santos) Taylor in New Bedford, Massachusetts on December 22, 1935. He grew up with his loving sisters Jeanne and Lynne, and brother Jeffrey. He was a 1953 graduate of New Bedford High School where he excelled in math, physics and geography. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on an academic scholarship for two years before earning a competitive Congressional appointment to the United States Naval Academy. As a member of the USNA Class of 1960 he was editor of the yearbook, the Lucky Bag.
After graduation Ray married the love of his life Mary Jane Stevens of Newport News, Virginia. Together they enjoyed his thirty-three year Navy career which was always, both personally and professionally, rewarding and demanding.
Rear Admiral Taylor was a nuclear trained Surface Warfare Officer. He served in the engineering departments of USS ABBOT (DD-629) and USS HOEL (DDG-13). He was Main Propulsion Assistant USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) and Executive Officer USS HALSEY (CG-23)
Command tours included Commanding Officer USS SEMMES (DDG- 18), Commanding Officer USS MISSISSIPPI (CGN-40) and Commanding Officer Surface Warfare Officers School. As COMCRUDESGRUONE he commanded the NEW JERSEY Battle Group, the Navy's first modern era battleship battle group.
Overseas tours provided lasting memories and learning. He was an Olmsted Scholar at the University of Grenoble, France 1967 -1969, earning a Diplome d'Etat in Political Science followed by a Masters of Arts in Area Studies from American University, Washington, D.C. From 1987 to 1989 he was J-3 (Operations) Headquarters US European Command in Stuttgart, West Germany. During Desert Storm, Rear Admiral Taylor served as Commander Middle East Force. In April 1991, he was assigned as Commander Naval Forces Central Command and led a successful multi nation effort that cleared over twelve hundred mines from the Northern Persian Gulf.
Upon retirement from the Navy in 1993, Ray and Mary Jane settled in Virginia Beach. Ray enjoyed a second career at the Innovation Center, Newport News Shipbuilding. Retiring again, he was quickly attracted to civic challenges. He became President of the World Affairs Council of Greater Hampton Roads. He then joined Future of Hampton Roads (FHR), a volunteer research and think tank organization that effectively seeks solutions to future regional level issues. He was named the Hampton Roads Regionalist of the Year in 2010 and the region's Military Visionary Leader in 2011.
Ray was recognized by all who worked with him for his depth of knowledge, attention to detail, focus, hearty laugh and love of life. He was generous with his time and talents and mentored many along the way.
Ray was a loving and faithful husband, father and grandfather. He is survived by Mary Jane, his beloved wife of 53 years, his sisters Jeanne McCullaugh of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Lynne Krebs of Marlborough, Massachusetts and his aunt, Mildred Blossom, of Fairhaven Massachusetts. He is survived by two sons, Raynor Lawrence Taylor of Arlington, Virginia and Andrew Kent Taylor, his loving wife Lili, and their precious children Michael and Michelle of Austin, Texas.
The family would like to thank all those who so lovingly cared for Ray during his illness.
The family will receive friends at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 1457 Independence Boulevard on Friday evening, September 6 from 7 to 9 p.m. Ray's funeral service will be held at Old Donation Episcopal Church, 4449 North Witchduck Road, Virginia Beach on Saturday, September 7 at 11:30 a.m. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall. Burial will be in the United States Naval Academy Cemetery. Condolences may be offered to the family at www.hollomon-brown.com



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Published by The Virginian-Pilot on Sep. 4, 2013.
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38 Entries
Ray was my beloved and respected mentor and colleague
Bob Sherer
October 3, 2013
The best CAPT an Ensign could ever ask for! I was his Bull Ensign at SWOSCOLCOM and I think he enjoyed it even more than I did. I used to autograph his photos and sign out notes for him. I will never forget when I signed a picture for LT Palatas.......a sea story we laughed about!

God bless you ADM Taylor. You and Mary Jane made it look easy and made the Navy a home for all who knew you.
CAPT Millie Wears
September 14, 2013
I haven't seen my cousin Raynor (my father & his were brothers & were very close until Raynor Sr. died much too young) for so many years, but I feel honored to have been related to him. I do remember when he & Mary Jane married & how everyone said what a wonderful pair they made. My condolences to Mary Jane, all of my cousins & their families.
Marjory Taylor
September 8, 2013
I have the honor to say that the best years of my life where on USS Mississippi under his command. whenever I am asked to describe what a leader is in the different jobs I have had as a civilian, I always described him. My deepest sympathy to Mary Jane and family. He was a great man and will always be my inspiration. Fair winds, Skipper. God Bless
Eric Brye
September 8, 2013
Mary Jane, I only met Ray at our 50th class reunion but I was most impressed with him. My heart goes out to you at this time. We will have special prayers on Sunday for Ray, you and his family. God bless. Doug Hiza
September 6, 2013
Mary Jane,
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. My thoughts & prayers are with you and your family.
Love, Charlotte Milton Nettles
Charlotte Nettles
September 5, 2013
Mary Jane, Lynn and I extend our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to you and your family. Our Navy and "retired" friendship was so special. It is our hope that time will soon soften your grief to replace it with all the wonderful memories Ray and you shared through the years. He may be missed but never forgotten by so many, many people. Lynn and Bob
Bob & Lynn Crawshaw
September 5, 2013
My condolences to the family, I served under ADM Taylor on the U.S.S. Semmes. He was a great man and a great sailor. God bless.
September 5, 2013
Mrs. Taylor,
My wife, Kathy, and I met you and your husband at a social event in Rhode Island in April 1984, when Adm. Taylor was Commanding Officerof the Surface Warfare Officers School. We had just arrived at the command the week before and I must admit that I didn't know he was the 'CO' when we met, as we were all in civilian attire. It wasn't until my department head came over and addressed your husband as'sir' that I realized I was speaking with someone higher in the command than my boss! You and Adm. Taylor made us feel welcome in our new location, and I was honored to have him pin on my new anchors when I was promoted to senior chief the following year. Please acdcept our most sincerest condolences.
STGCS(SW) R.C.Labit, Jr. USN (Ret)
Roy Labit
September 5, 2013
My thoughts and prayers are with your family.
Deborah Blossom-Miles
September 5, 2013
Condolences to the Taylor family. Capt. Taylor was my first C.O. on the USS Mississippi and was well liked by the entire crew. Sorry to hear of his passing ...
Fair Winds and Following Seas Sir
USS Mississippi .. Departing
Tim Fox
September 5, 2013
John Christenson
September 5, 2013
To Mary Jane -- you have our deepest love and sympathy for your loss. Admiral Taylor was my first Commanding Officer aboard USS SEMMES, and you both influenced this young Ensign in ways you will never know. You were a mentor, a teacher, an inspiration, and a role model. Thanks for introducing me to the Olmsted Foundation and its priceless postgraduate studies program. Fair winds, and Godspeed, skipper!
Kurt W. Tidd, VADM, USN
Kurt Tidd
September 4, 2013
Ray's passing is a great loss for Hampton Roads. After an illustrious naval career, he became the region's top "transportation warrior". Indeed he will be missed.
David Sullivan
September 4, 2013
Deepest sympathy to Mary Jane and Family. Ray was a classmate at USNA. We worked on the Lucky Bag [yearbook] together. I was a fellow Olmsted Scholar concurrently with Ray. He helped and supported me with the 50th reunion yearbook,LINK, reestablishing the Class of '60 interface with CG 60, USS Normandy.But most of all, he was my friend, and will be sorely missed.
Captain Mark Golden, USN (Ret) '60
September 4, 2013
Rear Admiral Taylor was my C.O. aboard the U.S.S. Mississippi CGN 40. He was the epitome of a true leader and was beloved by all who had the honor and privilege of serving under him. Rest easy now sir.
Jim Tarrant
September 4, 2013
Admiral Taylor, as Commanding Officer of the USS Mississippi, influenced me more that any other person in my life. His attention and encouragement lasted a life time and made me the successful person that I am. He was an inspiration and he never forgot his crew no matter how much time had passed. I will always treasure the memories of his leadership and friendship.
Cyrus Murphy, CDR, USN, Retired
September 4, 2013
A fine naval officer, leader, and human being. He will be missed. Fair Winds & Following Seas...
Bob Kurzawa
September 4, 2013
Adm,

You were quite the leader. Thanks for being the consummate mentor. RIP.
Gene Kendall
September 4, 2013
I was very sorry to learn of Ray's passing. He was an inspiration. Hampton Roads is a much better place because of Ray's leadership in improving our quality of life. He will be missed,
Jack Hornbeck
September 4, 2013
RADM RAK Taylor was well known in the Surface Navy as a tough interrogator and a demanding boss. Fewer folks had an opportunity to appreciate the true character of the man whenever he got answers to questions that were unanticipated and represented out-of-the-box thinking.
When COMSEVENTHFLT assigned my frigate, USS Kirk (FF-1087) to RAK Taylor's Battleship Battle Group as an add-on player while USS Midway (CV-41) was in dry dock to add hull blisters, we were convinced we would be lowly
afterthought late arrivals to the party since the rest of the BBBG had worked up and deployed together.
A couple of days after joining up in the South China Sea, we invited the admiral aboard to lunch and presented him with a cutting edge briefing that proposed innovative tactics and maneuvering rules that might be employed in a total jamming comms environment, e.g. ad hoc unreps without orders from the flagship. To our great surprise and pleasure, admiral Taylor immediately implemented all of our suggestions and we thoroughly enjoyed a unique deployment and various international exercises as a fully integrated and welcomed member of the team.
The personal relationship established then and during subsequent deployments to the Middle East onboard USS Bunker Hill (Cg-52) ended up with RAK acting as my mentor and sponsor when I eventually left the Navy and applied for a job at Newport News Shipbuilding.
He was a tough questioner, a demanding superior and a supportive friend who will be greatly missed by all with whom he served.
CAPT Dick Diamond, USN(Ret.)
September 4, 2013
September 4, 2013
RADM Taylor made a huge impact not only in my immediate world as a young officer serving in USS LONG BEACH, but in his revolutionary leadership approach to all things Surface Warfare related.. true mentor and champion of Sailors serving in harm's way.. I wish his family peace.. he will not be forgotten.
Faris Farwell
September 4, 2013
Almighty God, we remember this day before thee thy faithful servant Raynor, and we pray thee that, having opened to him the gates of larger life, thou wilt receive him more and more into thy joyful service; that he may win, with thee and thy servants everywhere, the eternal victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Juan Carlos Villalobos
September 4, 2013
I remember when he came about USS VINCENNES (CG49)while on deployment in the BBBG. He also came to speak at NPGS while I was a student. Admiral Taylor was a brilliant speaker and exceptional leader. The Navy and the Nation were well served by RAK Taylor.
S.M. Harris
September 4, 2013
I will miss you, Ray, but I will never forget you. You were my first and most influential mentor. Thank you for being such an inspiration for so many. Psalms 107: 23-24.
Bruce Hamilton, CAPT, USN (Ret.)
September 4, 2013
What a great privilege it was for me to know, and speak with, Rear Admiral Taylor. Ray and I interacted through Future of Hampton Roads where his passion for this region was always in evidence. He was the consummate gentleman: eloquent, scholarly, persuasive, yet never rude or boisterous. Ray led by example and with passion and I was always eager to listen and follow. His passing leaves a tremendous void, but he also leaves a great legacy of service and sacrifice for others to follow.
Greg Edwards
September 4, 2013
Mary Jane and Family,
I was truly saddened to read about Ray's death in the Daily Press this morning. There are very few people that come along in one's career and personal life that have the qualities of character that Ray exemplified. A true and wise leader, mentor and someone I was blessed to call a friend. My years working with and for him in the Innovation Center was some of the best years of my career and I credit much of that to Ray's competent leadership and wonderful personality. I cherish having known him if even for a short time. He was by far the best boss I have ever had and I think of him often in that regard.
You are in my prayers and I will miss him,
Jerry Dearmon
September 4, 2013
I had the honor of working with RADM Taylor over the past several years on transportation issues in Hampton Roads. I cannot express how much I appreciated his wisdom and kindness to me during my time working for the Navy. Ray went out of his way to be supportive and instructive. Ray was a real mensch who will forever hold a place in my heart. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, particularly Mary Jane, who he spoke of so frequently and lovingly.
Wendy Vachet
September 4, 2013
I was a plank owner on the Mississippi he was a fine captain he will be missed
Barry Bordas
September 4, 2013
In a region where our business groups can often be aloof, Ray Taylor of the FHR was quite accessible. He had a number of private conversations with this grassroots activist. What he did for transportation in Hampton Roads was extraordinary, and there is no one waiting in the wings who can start to fill his shoes.
Henry Ryto
September 4, 2013
When you met Ray Taylor you immediately knew he was special. Whether in the Navy or after he retired, he treated every person he met as an individual to be valued. Ray, I valued your friendship deeply, rest in peace shipmate. Phil Olson RADM USN (Ret.)
Phil Olson
September 4, 2013
I pray that knowing so many of us remember Admiral Taylor as a friend and mentor will help to ease the sorrow of his family's bereavement.

Joe Betncourt, Rear Admiral, US Navy, Retired
Jose Betancourt
September 4, 2013
Admiral Taylor the Great! He taught so many so much. If you loved the Navy and worked hard, he was the best friend you could ever have. He loved Mary Jane so beautifully, her name always putting a wonderful smile on his face. I was his Flag Lieutenant '85-'86 in USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and not a day goes by when I don't think of something he taught me. One of his many great quotes was, "watch out for people who read, they will beat you everytime." It is fitting the library at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport RI is named after him--he revolutionized that school. USS Mississippi (CGN-40) under his command had a record of excellence, particularly in engineering, that may never be equalled.
God bless you Admiral Taylor and your Family. Thank you for everything.
Radm John Christenson, USN
September 4, 2013
We all love and Miss this special person. You only get the chance to meet great people once or twice in your life, and I have had that opportunity with Adm Taylor. May he rest in peace.
FCCS William Cook, USN Retired
September 4, 2013
RADM Ray Taylor was a truly exceptional naval officer who served this nation and his Navy with great pride, extraordinary dedication and quiet dignity.
He was a great leader of rare integrity and a superb mentor to several generations of naval officers.
He will be sorely missed.
With my deepest sympathy to RADM Taylor's family and friends, J. C. Harvey, Jr, ADM USN (Ret)
September 4, 2013
A great man, a great leader and a great Commanding Officer. I served on board the USS Mississippi while he was Captain. He wrote the book on how to take care of your people. Farewell my friend.
Joe Durso
September 4, 2013
Fair Winds and Following sea's!
Jay Martin
September 3, 2013
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