Thaddeus Taft was born in Los Angeles, California on August 15, 1930. He was raised in the Catholic Church by his mother,
Sydonia Paul Taft and his father, Thaddeus Stevenson Taft, Jr.
Thad attended Poly High School in Los Angeles. He excelled in math and architectural drafting, which became the foundation of his professional career. He was also an outstanding athlete, receiving awards in Track and Field.
In 1949, Thad joined the United States Air Force and served in the Korean War. At the age of 21, he was a crew member of a combat plane that lost an engine and crashed. Thad suffered a permanent spinal cord injury. He was honorably discharged from the military in 1952.
After returning to civilian life, Thad continued his education at Compton College in Los Angeles. He received an Architectural Drafting Certificate and launched his own business, Taft Drafting Services. Thad later enrolled in UCLA for additional credentials to receive an Architectural License.
Thad's corporate career began at Lockheed as an engineer and continued for 20 years. He worked on a variety of aviation projects which required extensive travel throughout the United States and Europe. Thad received several awards for outstanding service. He retired in 1995.
There were two great loves in Thad's life: his family and aviation. Thad was a private pilot for more than 30 years and a member of the International Wheelchair Aviators in Southern California. He owned his own airplane and logged thousands of miles flying with his colleagues in the U. S. and Mexico.
However, Thad's favorite flying companion was his beloved wife of 32 years, Barbara Taft. Thad and Barbara moved to Thousand Oaks, California in 1985. Together the couple pursued dual careers and enjoyed a wonderful life together. They shared a devotion to their children and a love of travel, music, fine dining, and their pets. They had a storybook romance that was evident to all who knew them.
Thad leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife, Barbara Taft; One son: Christopher Taft; Two daughters: Lynda Taft and Carol Gayton; Five grandchildren: Isadora Taft, Thor Taft, Steven Taft, Meashia Gayton and Michael Gayton; Two great-grandchildren: Sazhon Gayton and Jazmine Gayton; One brother: Morris Taft. He was preceded in death by one son, Thaddeus S. Taft.
Thad Taft was a remarkable man who touched the lives of many by his warm and cheerful personality. He leaves a legacy of loving family and friends who will always remember his indomitable spirit, kind manner and mischievous smile.