A public visitation is 11 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. Thursday, November 19, 2020, at Lauber Funeral Home, Friend. A private family graveside service will be held on Friday, Nov 20, 2020 at 11:00 AM at Andrew Cemetery with military services conducted by Ford-Banka Post #183 and the US Army National Guard. A celebration of life ceremony for Jim will be held later in 2021 once the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided and it is safe to gather again. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Friend Historical Society or the Friend Fire Department. Memorials directly to the family will be split between these two organizations.
James Richard “Jim” Taylor was born Dec 28, 1941 to James R. Taylor Sr. and Freda (Weber) Taylor in Wichita, KS. He grew up in Wichita, KS, Crete, NE, and Friend, NE and was a gifted athlete, excelling in basketball and track, and graduated high school in 1960. He attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Electrical Engineering and then joined the Nebraska National Guard in Crete in 1964. He was united in marriage to Carolyn (Zumpfe) Taylor in 1968 and to this union were born two children, Jamie and Rachel. He died on Nov 17,2020 of a heart attack at the age of 78 years old. During his military service, he completed Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He then completed Advanced Individual Training (AIT) to learn to drive military transport vehicles in order to contribute to the mission of his National Guard unit whose focus was military transport. He was then transferred to an aviation maintenance company in Lincoln, NE and was then sent in 1967 to Fort Gordon in Georgia for specialized training in this area. In that unit, he achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant and Sergeant 1st class. He then achieved the rank of Warrant Officer CW2, CW3, and CW4. As part of his work in the Army National Guard company in Lincoln, he helped to get Army aircraft such as UH1H Huey helicopters ready for transport to Vietnam. After the war, his company worked to train members of the aircraft crew to operate the aircraft as an air ambulance. His company also trained units to prepare for deployment during Operation Desert Storm. At this point he attended Sr. Warrant Officer school at Fort Gordon in Georgia. He completed many training sessions at various military posts such as Fort Carson in Colorado, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, Fort Riley in Kansas and Fort Bliss in Texas. He then was trained at Army Aviation Safety School at Tucson, AZ and Standard Avionics Equipment Maintenance school at Sacramento, California Army depot. He retired from the military as a CW4 Warrant Officer in 1997 after 34 years of service. He was honored recently in July by the Friend Legion and Legion Riders with a Quilt of Valor and was extremely proud of the quilt he had been given. While serving in the military, Jim also served on the Friend Ambulance crew as well as being a member of the Friend Fire Department for many years. After retiring from military service in 1997, he was able to pursue many hobbies and interests. He was passionate about science and enjoyed reading physics books and then torturing his daughter with lengthy explanations of Einstein’s theory of relativity, black holes, etc.. He also had a tendency to adopt every stray cat he ever saw, including his beloved and very spoiled tabby named Howie. He petted any animal that wanted petting. He loved collecting strange memorabilia from eBay and then showing off these treasures to unsuspecting guests. He was a great lover of obscure trivia (example: he saw an interview stating that Gordon Macrae, star of the film Oklahoma, was discovered in New York City while singing at a urinal). He loved to travel the world and had many fond adventures all over the US as well as Europe. He particularly loved the cities of London, Paris, and Prague. He loved every museum every and tended to only leave a museum once the staff started shutting the lights off. He loved studying history from places near and far. He was a wealth of information on the history of Friend, NE but was equally interested in the Civil War, WWII, and other topics. He greatly enjoyed his time volunteering for the Friend Historical Society whose goal is to renovate the historic Friend Opera House. After a lifetime of repairing military aircraft, he loved talking about planes and helicopters. He had an unbelievably (unbearably) large collection of knock-knock jokes. He was a Trustee at the Friend Congregational Church and a long time member of the Cemetery Board. He enjoyed the arts and was fond of symphony performances and Broadway shows. His biggest passion was his never-ending library of books. He loved books on every topic. He once said “I have four different books on sedan chairs. I bet that is more than anyone else in Friend.” We are confident that was true. He also owned two copies of the Tibetan book of the dead, several books on embalming, and subscriptions to magazines ranging form Popular Mechanics to Cat Fancy. He also enjoyed the yearly tradition of giving out king-size candy bars on Halloween and was delighted to see more than 200 trick-or-treaters in an evening. He was beloved by his family and friends and will be missed very much.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn (Zumpfe) Taylor, children James R. Taylor VI and Rachel Taylor of Lincoln, cousins Dr. MaryAnn Losh, PhD (Lincoln), John (Debby) Barbur and Howard Byron Barbur of Abilene, KS, Janet Taylor, Carolyn Taylor, Beverly Taylor, Barbara Taylor, and Tom Taylor, and aunt Loetta Taylor, beloved friends Charlie and Judy Hansen of Friend, and Mary Garrison of Lincoln, and many other dear friends and classmates. He is preceded in death by his parents, James R. Taylor, IV and Freda L. Weber, aunts and uncles Vera (Weber) and Ray Losh, Sylvia (Weber) and Howard Barbur, Robert Taylor, Herbert Taylor, and cousin Jeff Taylor.
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