“As True as he is Tall.” So read the caption that lay underneath the senior high school picture of Joseph Albert Taylor back in 1956. It would come to epitomize the life of a man who would go on to endear himself to so many people throughout his lifetime. Joseph A. Taylor, 77, entered into the glorious presence of the Lord on Tuesday, January 14, 2013 at 7:35a.m.
Born to the union of Dollie Lee and Isaac Taylor in Macon, Georgia on September 21, 1936, Joseph (Joe) relocated with his parents and siblings to South Bend, Indiana, where he resided until his death. Tall and handsome, with a quick smile and an easygoing personality, Joe quickly adjusted to his new home and the South Bend Community School system. He graduated from Adams High School, South Bend, Indiana, in the summer of 1956, being lauded as one of the most popular students in his senior class.
Joe went on to enlist in the United States Air Force in that same year, where he served in the reserve unit for seven years before being honorably discharged on September 30, 1962. While stationed in Bossier City, Louisiana, he met Marie G. Garner. The two were married in July 1959. He would later be united in holy matrimony with Betty Hopson-Taylor in November 1991, who preceded him in death.
Joe was employed with the South Bend Community School Corporation for over 34 years. He was a highly respected and well-liked employee who rose up through the ranks within the organization to become a revered member of the facilities management team. He would retire in 1998. Joe later found part-time employment with the Near Northwest Neighborhood Association. While working with this organization, he became a proud and vigilant advocate and a reliable spokesperson for the neighborhood that he both lived in and served.
Joe accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour at an early age. He was a member in good standing with the Pilgrim Baptist Church, South Bend, Indiana for most of his adult life, and an esteemed member of the usher board for more than 50 years.
Affectionately known as “Joe Cool” to many, Joe was so full of life and love. Kind and hospitable, he would always go out of his way to make everyone feel comfortable in his presence. Easy to make a friend, it was hard not to like Joe. A member of the Redding Family, he loved spending time with his family, especially his beloved brothers, also dubbed the “Taylor Boys” where they would be found working on special jobs or tackling a difficult project that no one else wanted to undertake.
Joe leaves to cherish his memory and legacy four daughters: Wanda Rena (Lynn), New Britain, CT, Joyce Marie (Richard) Brown, Las Vegas, Nevada, Veronica Taylor and Janella Hutchinson, both of South Bend; a stepson through adoption: Peter G. (Barbara) Allen III; stepchildren through marriage: Kevin Preston, Willie Preston, Anthony Preston, and Angela Preston; grandchildren: LaTonya Allen, Kenyell and Jaquese Grayson, Javonna Smalls and Yulanda Brown, Jasmine and Hope Allen, Sanaiya Wells and Amari Tuner, three great grandchildren, Takara Holmes, Khole Waller and Jada Rena Brown.
Six brothers: Reuben (Roberta) Taylor of Detroit, Michigan, Benjamin (Marlene) Taylor, Carl (Marilyn) Taylor and David (Vera Taylor) all of South Bend; James (Lavonne) Taylor and Sanford (Sharon) Taylor, both of Akron, Ohio; three sisters: Alice (Bud) Milon, Mary Ann (Buford) Hilliard both of South Bend, Indiana and Louise (Charles) Green of Dallas, Texas. He also leaves behind a host of cousins, nieces and nephews who will always remember their beloved “Cool” Uncle Joe.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Isaac and Dollie Taylor, one brother: Benner Taylor; three sisters: Lena Mae Henry and Grace Taylor-Williams and Ruth Johnson.
Services will be held on Saturday, January 18, 2014 in Pilgrim Baptist Church, 116 N. Birdsell Street, South Bend. Visitation will begin at 9:00 a.m. and funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery, South Bend.