Pastors' Memoirs

William Luther Taylor, 1917-1996

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William Luther Taylor was born in Buena Vista, Virginia, July 22, 1917, and died on April 21, 1996, in Staunton, Virginia. He is survived by three daughters: Gay Ranson of Richmond, Sue Shiflet and Ann Hewitt of Swoope; a son, John Taylor of Staunton; two sisters, Joyce Taylor and Dorothy Shields of Waynesboro; and five grandchildren.

Bill served his country in the United States Navy during World War II. After his discharge, he became a professional draftsman. When God called him to preach, he began a ministry that would last for more than 45 years. When he died at the age of 78, he was still serving Rankin Church in the Staunton District. During these more than 45 years, he served the following appointments: Bethany in Roanoke, Cloverdale Circuit, Chesterfield, Winterpock, Tidewater Trails, Lafayette, Mount Jackson, Stonewall-Westview, Good Shepherd in Staunton, Callaghan, East Culpeper, West Albemarle, South Amherst, North Amherst, and Rankin. He was also director of the Valley Rescue Mission in Staunton when he served Good Shepherd Church.

After entering the ministry, he attended Roanoke College, Asbury Theological Seminary and Duke Divinity School.

Outside my own family, Bill was the dearest friend I had. I knew him for more than 45 years. He was more than a friend. He was my counselor, pastor and confidant on many occasions. He was a man of many talents. He loved to do woodworking and taught that at Wilson Memorial High School. He also taught drafting at Blue Ridge Community College. He was an avid reader. His thirst for knowledge was continuous.

It was Bill’s kindness, patience and Christian love that were so winsome to others. He always took time to listen to all in need. He was one of the most generous persons I have ever known. He never accumulated much of material goods because he was always giving to others. Sometimes I thought his heart was too large. He would deny himself in order to help others. He was dearly loved by the churches he served.

His wife, Grace Frazier Taylor, preceded him in death on November 11, 1994. Bill loved his Gracie dearly and never got over her death. He grieved for her until the Lord took him home.

The church and all of Bill’s family and friends have lost a great soul and devoted servant of Christ. We who are left behind shall miss him but rejoice in the fact that our life was touched by his.

A memorial service was held Tuesday, April 23, at Christ United Methodist Church in Staunton by the Rev. Donald Long, the Rev. James G. Holloman, and the Rev. Howard C. Smith.

"Are they not safe with him; And when the veil

     Is rent for us, and sight supplanteth faith,

Then, reunited, love shall never fail;

     For he that said, ‘There shall be no more death.’ "

— Howard C. Smith



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