Gary Jerome TaylorSeptember 28, 1965 ~ December 1, 2016 (age 51)
Gary Jerome Taylor was born on September 28, 1965 to Robbie Haynes Taylor and Preston Nelson in Portageville, Missouri. He weighed a hefty nine pounds at birth, and was the largest baby his four older siblings had ever seen! His parents, brothers, Ronald, Charlie, Jr., James Alvin and sister, Rose Francis Taylor preceded him in death.
As the baby of the family, Gary was the apple of their eyes and was well nutured, pampered and loved. He was very inquisitive and wise beyond his years, and often engaged in reporting the whereabouts and activities of his siblings. Gary stood at the hem of Robbie's apron, and took special interest in baking at a very young age. It was a special delight for him to share his pastries with family and friends, a tradition that remained unbroken throughout his years.
Gary's outgoing nature was ever radiant while he attended Portageville High School. While there, he served as Junior and Senior Class President and was voted Top 10 of his High School's Senior Class + Best All-Around Bandsman & All-Division Band. He was also an active member of the Marching and Stage Bands, Pep Club, Student Council, Yearbook Staff, Debate Club and National Honor Society. In 1983, he attended the University of Missouri (Mizzou) in Columbia, MO where he studied Education and Counseling Psychology. At Mizzou, Gary forged the most amazing friendships through affiliations with Kappa Kappa Psi ( Officer, Eta Upsilon Chapter), Cougar Brass Band, Marching Mizzou Band (Spirit Leader; Alumni Director; 2013 Alumni Hall of Fame inductee), Residence Hall Coordinator and Freshman Orientation Leader and Supervisor. In May, 2013 Gary received his Bachelors of Science in Counseling Psychology from Columbia College and upon his death, was also scheduled to complete his MBA there in May, 2017.
Gary loved the Lord and was a devout Christian throughout his life. Our brother loved his family and displayed his love at different levels via text messages, flowers, and candy for birthdays, and other celebrations. He also enjoyed cooking, traveling, singing, tail-gating, and debating pop culture and politics; he was our "Great Debater"! His musical talent was undeniable and extended beyond the clarinet, baritone and saxophone, thanks to a melodic singing voice. It was not uncommon for him to sing at the weddings of his peers, so much so that family revered him as "The Wedding Singer".
At the time of his death, Gary was employed at JobPoint, having recently celebrated 16 years of hard work and extreme dedication. His role as a Director of YouthBuild, Trades & Housing was met with a great sense of compassion, commitment and an affinity to "working in the field" to ensure that the lives he touched were changed for the better. Many of his clients boasted of their life-altering experiences, thanks to his relentless care and concern; many of his co-workers shared that exact same sentiment. They loved Gary and he certainly loved them! When he was not traveling for his job, Gary worked at MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc. as a supervisor for 14 years, as well. This role also spoke to his great work ethic, as the location was prime for reporting in at an ungodly 3:00 A.M., as per a neighbor's citing and subsequent exchange with him in passing. On top of those roles, "Chef Gary" could surely burn in the kitchen! No matter the occasion, his cooking utensils were always ready at the aim. He took extreme delight in cooking for family and friends, just because, Many hearts and tummies found contentment in his unbelievable culinary skills.
Oh, and was it mentioned that Gary was no stranger to extracurricular activities!! Who said there was only 24 hours in a day??!! The breadth of his numerous involvements spoke to the generosity of his heart. He was an achiever to say the least!!! Additional accomplishments included: YouthBuild USA Director's Fellowship, National Association of Workforce Dev, Professional, ParentLink, Advisory Board, AIDS Walk Steering Committee- RAIN, Basic Needs Coalition-Homeless Youth Committee Chair, University of Missouri Alumni Association, YouthBuild National Director's Council-VP, Marching Mizzou Alumni Band- Director, Foster Care/Adoption Trainer and Assessor, Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission, Chamber of Commerce Leadership Columbia.
Gary left an indelible mark on those who knew and loved him. Although we weren't able to extend a final goodbye to him, we take great comfort in knowing that his was a life well lived! The great Lord our God surely must be pleased!
Gary made his heavenly ascent on Thursday, December 1, 2016. He leaves to cherish his loving memories: sisters, Gloria Ullah, Edmond, OK, Carolyn (David) Johnson, St. Louis, MO, Callie Land (sister/aunt), Bloomfield, MI, and two brothers, Johnny (Rachel) Haynes, Sr., Portageville, MO and Reginald (Lisa) Taylor, Blue Springs, MO; five nieces, Cynthia Mitchell (Carrie J. Mendez), Dallas, TX, Aimee (Carlos) Jones, OK; Patricia Rickman, Blue Springs, MO, Ashely (Rodney) Jones, Portageville, MO and Dionna Johnson, St. Louis, MO; five nephews, Derrick Johnson, St. Louis, MO, Johnny Haynes, Jr., Andrew (Amanda) Haynes, Portageville, MO, Austin Haynes, Columbia, MO and Kenny Rickman, Blue Springs, MO; three aunts, three uncles, many cousins, great-nieces, great nephews, other relatives and dear friends. Your Legacy will Live on for many Generations to come!