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Keedysville's Taylor dies at 87

January 16, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

KEEDYSVILLE - Ralph Taylor's legacy will include the fact that longevity was his trademark in many of his endeavors.

Taylor, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 87, was married to his wife, Mildred Smith Taylor, for 62 years.

"That's a long time to be sure," she said Wednesday night from her Keedysville home. "We had a good life, traveled to a lot of places and had many friends."

In addition to six decades of marriage, Taylor was also mayor of Keedysville for 32 years - from 1957 to 1998.

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"That's a remarkable record of service," Hancock Mayor Daniel Murphy said.

Williamsport Mayor John Slayman said he recalls Taylor's reaction when the mayors of the smaller towns in Washington County started getting together 10 to 12 years ago to share ideas.

"I remember Ralph saying he didn't know what it was all about but he would give it a try," Slayman said. "Ralph ended up coming to all the meetings and said he got a big kick out of it."

Current Keedysville Mayor Lee Brandenburg said he was just a boy when he first met Taylor.

"He was the Little League coach in Keedysville and I played baseball when I was younger," he said.

Brandenburg said Taylor was a taskmaster when he was a coach, and likewise when he was mayor and Brandenburg served on the town council.

But to his only daughter, Judith Kerns, he was Dad and she said he was the best father anyone could have.

"He took me fishing from an early age and I'm still a very good fisherman," Kerns said Wednesday night. Her childhood memories of her father also included riding the milk truck with him on his route.

Taylor owned and operated R.B. Taylor Milk Transportation Inc. until he retired in 1984.

Taylor also was involved in trapshooting. He was involved in the Grand American Trapshoot every year in Ohio from 1957 to 1999, his family said.

"Dad tried to teach me how to shoot but the gun was always too heavy for me," Kerns said.

A schoolteacher for 34 years, Kerns said her strongest memory of her father always will be a piece of advice he gave her when she almost quit college.

"He told me that education is the one thing that no one can take away from you," Kerns said. "And he was so right."

Funeral services will be Friday at 10:30 a.m. at Bast Funeral Home in Boonsboro, with burial in Fairview Cemetery in Keedysville.

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