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In Memory of . . . John A. "Jack" Taylor (1931-2011)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Tuesday, August 09, 2011
The Rev. John A. "Jack” Taylor died on July 29, 2011. He was 79 years old.

Rev. Taylor was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on August, 20, 1931, to H. Albert and Sara Ellen (Townsend) Taylor. Rev. Taylor received his BA from Oklahoma City University in 1953 and his Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology in 1956. He was ordained by the Methodist Church in Stockton, California, on June 18, 1958.

While in seminary, Rev. Taylor served as assistant to the Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University, Dr. Howard Thurman, who would have a profound influence on his ministerial career. Rev. Taylor served at Methodist churches on the west coast immediately following ordination before transferring to the Unitarian ministry in 1960 and being called as interim minister to the First Unitarian Society in Sacramento, CA. He went on to serve as assistant minister at the First Unitarian Society in Madison, WI before being called to serve as minister at the Amherst Unitarian Church in Amherst, MA and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana, IL. In 1968 answered the call to take on the role of minister at the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, a liberal, interracial church founded by Dr. Howard Thurman. Returning to Unitarian ministry in 1971, Rev. Taylor began what would be a 25 year long ministry at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, NY. Following retirement he was named minister emeritus by the Ithaca congregation and chaplain emeritus by Cornell University. From 1972 until his retirement in 1996, Rev. Taylor was heard each Sunday morning on "A Word for Sunday” broadcast over radio station WHCU in Ithaca. He is the author of Notes on an Unhurried Journey, published in 1991.

Among his many community activities, Rev. Taylor was a member of the Board of Cornell United Religious Work, a member of the Board of Tompkins County (NY) Planned Parenthood, president of the Tompkins County NY Religious Workers Association, chair of the Vietnamese Welcoming Committee (resettlement of refugees), chair of the City of Ithaca Commons Advisory Board and a member of the Task Force on Downtown Ithaca. At Foxdale Village, he was a member of the Corporate Board of Directors, clerk of the Residents Marketing Advisory Committee, Vice President of the Foxdale Residents Association and a member of a variety of committees and interest groups. He was also the originator of Foxdale’s Film Festival.

Rev. Taylor is survived by his wife of 55 years, Barbara R. Taylor; his daughter, Lyn S. Kalnitz and her husband, Robert of Rochester, NY; and his son, Scot R. Taylor and his wife, Jana of Ithaca, NY along with their children, Alexander and Kaitlyn.

A memorial service for Rev. Taylor will be held at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, 208 East Buffalo St., Ithaca, NY on August 28, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Memorial donations may be sent to a community service organization of your choice.

Notes of condolence may be sent to his wife, Barbara Taylor, 500 East Marilyn Ave. Apt. H129, State College, PA 16801.

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