“Here today, gone to Maui!”
LEELANAU COUNTY — John Warren Taylor passed away at home on June 2.
He is survived by his three children, Jeffrey Taylor, Amy Taylor Johnson and Susannah Taylor; his five grandchildren; and his brother, Donald Taylor.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Sandra Robertson Taylor - his partner of 63 years - in February.
Jack was a graduate of Grosse Pointe High School, the University of Michigan (Bachelor of Science in Engineering) and Michigan State University (Master of Business Administration).
He enjoyed a varied career in the tire industry, including engineering, research and design (he held several patents), management and, in his latter years, as a noted forensic tire expert. His most visible engineering feat was the conversion of a ferris wheel from the 1964 World’s Fair into a giant Uniroyal tire. The tire has become a symbol of Detroit, and you can still see it while driving on I-94.
Jack enjoyed many hobbies. He played bridge until the end, via his iPad (technology was another passion). He was an avid tennis player and played in various leagues in Grosse Pointe, Rochester Hills, Traverse City, Glen Arbor and Wilbraham, Mass. Always athletic, he liked to cross country ski and jog on golf courses during off hours and collected golf balls as he went. He was once able to trade golf balls for services rendered to his dermatologist, which tickled him no end as another hobby was saving money. He had a lovely singing voice and sang all of his life, from being paid to sing at Christ Church in Grosse Pointe as a child (which he always said was his best job) to joining the chorus for the annual Traverse City performance of Handel’s Messiah.
Jack’s love for Leelanau County grew after he designed and hand-built his dream house, a series of 12-sided ‘pods’ overlooking parkland, Lake Michigan and Whaleback. He was incredibly proud that Sleeping Bear Dunes was voted The Most Beautiful Place in America and was an unabashed advocate for the area. His second geographic love, Hawaii, was a welcome home away from home during the winter months where he could play tennis and snorkel while Sandie indulged her love of reading (beachside, of course).
Always community minded, Jack spent many years after retiring from Uniroyal helping to run a major fundraiser for Crittenton Hospital in Rochester. He was also on the Leelanau County Planning Commission for several terms. And wherever he lived he ran various tennis groups - indoors and out.
Most importantly, Jack was a wonderful man. He was a loving husband and a warm and wise father upon whom his children could always depend for sound advice about any of life’s challenges, from career choices to fixing that dratted sump pump. He had an unshakeable compass that unfailingly led him to “do the right thing” and a mantra of “never give up”, as well as a great sense of humor. The world was a wonder to him and a wonderful place with him in it.
Jack requested that he be cremated with no formal funeral, but a joint celebration of his and Sandie’s lives will take place this summer. In his words Jack was, “Here today, gone to Maui.”
Donations can be made in Jack’s honor to maintain the public tennis courts in Glen Arbor. Please make checks payable to Glen Arbor Township and note that the donation is in memory of Jack Taylor/Park Terrace Courts. Donations can be sent to Glen Arbor Township, PO Box 276, Glen Arbor, MI 49636.
Arrangements are being made by Wolfe-O’Neill Funeral Home.