Monday, October 7, 2013

Requiescat in Pace: Michael W. Taylor, Ph.D.

The sympathy of the Integrity board and leadership is extended to our Executive Director, Vivian Taylor, and her family upon the death of her father, Michael W. Taylor, Ph.D, on September 29th at his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Dr. Taylor grew up in Nigeria, the child of Baptist missionaries. He did his undergraduate work at the Department of Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying for a year in Athens. Continuing a long family tradition of service which Vivian also shares, he was a military historian in Vietnam with the United States Navy, achieving the rank of Lieutenant. In an essay published by the Center for Hellenic Studies at Harvard, he described returning to Vietnam decades later and having tea with a Vietnamese contemporary who -- as they discovered through conversation -- had been on the opposite side of a specific battle.

Dr. Taylor continued to excel in learning after leaving active duty. He earned his Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from Harvard, and then went on to earn a law degree from U.N.C. He established a law practice focusing on public policy, civil rights, health care, and environmental issues. 

He also ran twice for a seat on the U.S. House of Representatives, found time to write four books, and visit archeological sites throughout his life. 

“Mike was a very astute man; he observed the world around him with great clarity.  I have no doubt that he had a crystal clear perception of all my flaws and shortcomings, and yet, he always focused on my strengths.  His Christ-like compassion called him to affirm me and my ministry often and for that I will forever be in his debt,” wrote Roger Thomas, executive director of Stanly Community Christian Ministry, and a family friend, in a memorial published in the Stanly, N.C., News & Press.

Dr. Taylor is survived by his wife, the Hon. Susan Chandler Taylor, his children William, Vivian, and John; and his mother, Evelyn Taylor; three sisters; and seven nieces and nephews.  Memorial services were held 2 p.m. Sat., Oct. 5, 2013, at the University Baptist Church, 100 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill, N.C.

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