Robert Merrill Taylor
1920 - 2013
Robert Merrill Taylor, CWO-4 USN Retired, a member of the Greatest Generation passed away on August 21, 2013.
Bob was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on October 10, 1920 to Lucy Catherine (Taylor) Taylor and Edwin James Taylor both originally from England. He is preceded in death by his parents and eight siblings. He was a devout Roman Catholic and a member of Little Flower Catholic Church. Most recently, he was a parishioner at Saint Sylvester in Gulf Breeze. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Constance Pearl Shea. They were married on February 10, 1945 at Saint Francis Xavier Church, Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. In addition, he is survived by his eight children, Maureen (Al) Costlow, Robert Taylor, Mary (Mickey) Broxson, Constance (Charles) Joffrion, Timothy Taylor, John (Angie) Taylor, Ann (Roger) Pearson, and Michael Taylor. He also leaves behind 14 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. He is dearly missed by all.
After graduating from Worcester Boys Trade High School in 1939, Bob enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November and served as an Apprentice Seaman, Hospital Apprentice First Class, Chief Pharmacist's Mate, Chief Hospital Corpsman, and Warrant Officer 1,2,3,4. He received two Presidential Citations for good conduct, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and three Letters of Commendation. He served in initial operations at the Battle of Guadalcanal and later during combat in the Korean War aboard the USS Van Valkenburgh. During his service, he relished the opportunity to play baseball for two years as catcher with the Quonset Flyers and later served as an umpire. He retired in May 1970 after over 30 years of distinguished service.
Following his military career, Bob and his family settled in the Myrtle Grove area of Pensacola. His legacy of service continued. He was a past vice president of both the PTA and Parish Council of Little Flower Catholic Church. He was especially passionate about serving those with mental disabilities. He was a board member of Mental Health Assn. of Escambia County, Escambia County ARC, Vice President Florida ARC NW Region, United Cerebral Palsy of NW Florida, Epilepsy Society of NW Florida, Interim Executive, and Executive Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Pensacola Chapter. He served two terms in the Florida ARC, receiving the Presidents Award in 1985. He was honored as a member of the Okaloosa County Special Olympics Hall of Fame and received the national award, Hope Chest, Volunteer of the Year 1971.
Bob loved to be active in the community and served in many civic and military alumni associations. He was a life member of Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans Assn., USS Van Valkenburgh DD656, Korean War Era Reunion Assn., Patrol Squadron Eight Alumni Assn., Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, First Marine Division Assn., Military Officers Assn. of America. He contributed as a Plank Owner at the US Navy Memorial Washington DC, Founding Member American Air Museum in Britain, Charter Member World War II Museum New Orleans. In addition, he was a member of the Pensacola Lions Club, Greater Pensacola Kiwanis Club, Ensley Kiwanis Club, Optimist Club of Northeast Pensacola, Knights of Columbus Council 5658 4th Degree, Deluna Assembly K of C, Health and Welfare Committee, Action 76, Commissioner Amateur Softball Assn., Hawaiian Island 1954-55-56, President Hawaiian Armed Forces Sports Officials Association 1954-55-56, and Founder and President, Sports Officials Assn., Camp LeJeune NC.
To those close to him, he was known as Pops. He will always be remembered for his quick wit, wise counsel, and parting comment of "Keep Smiling!"
Our family is grateful to everyone who cared for Pops. He and we appreciate you, including the staff at The Blake, especially Tanja Waddell-Renneker, and Emerald Coast Hospice. He had so many wonderful caregivers and frequent visitors -- Cathy, Felicia, Hong, and too many more to name. Please know we are so grateful to all of you.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 12:30pm on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at Little Flower Catholic Church followed by a 2pm interment with full military honors at Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Florida. Pallbearers will be his grandsons: Paul Costlow, Christian Costlow, Jason Verschueren, Thomas Brennan, James Broxson, Justin Joffrion, and Jeremy Taylor (honorary).
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the ARC Gateway, 3932 N Tenth Avenue, Pensacola, FL 32503. Oak Lawn Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.