Richard Taylor Phd Memorial Fund
Richard Taylor, my brother, died on Saturday. He woke feeling normal, or at least as normal as a stage-three esophageal cancer patient feels. Within a few minutes of waking up he passed away, possibly of an embolism with Linda, Shannon, and Jason at his side.
As his brother I got the job of writing a story about Richard. The story of my brother is a varied and messy one. Early memories include me being thrown into a wall during one of our practice wrestling meets, and then frantically trying to hide the lump on my forehead from our parents. Or a time when he got thrown out of Northern Illinois University for hanging a communist flag on the library in protest of something. (Beware National Alzheimer’s Association… you’re next. Brother’s memories are different than others.)
So they hand me a laptop and say write something. And I can’t find a word processor, just pictures, thousands of them. In those pictures, I found my brother.
First there are a zillion pictures of the family: Grandchildren, Hayden, Kelsi, Isaiah and Christina being cute, being sad, being happy, on a boat, on a goat; then pictures of Linda, Jason, and Shannon. They are everywhere. Pictures of the kids growing up; the kids going thru school; a kid going off to war; the kids getting married. Hundreds of pictures. Pictures of Richard and Linda’s world travels speaking out for those afflicted with Alzheimer’s. They were in Spain, Germany, New Zealand, and even Dallas. Richard’s crusade was worldwide. And finally another thousand pictures or so of a lot of folks I never met. People he met when he made his speeches, people he met when he stayed at dementia units, people who had read his book; people who just wanted to say thank you.
So Richard, according to his pictures, was a man devoted to his cause and to his family. The lives he touched with his intellect, his honesty, and his sense of humor no doubt surpass the number of pictures I have scrolled thru. His open, direct discussions of topics that few had dealt with are a remarkable legacy.
Richard was not that crazy about flowers unless he grew them himself; he was crazy about his grandchildren. His love of family was most important to him. The goal of these donations is to benefit his grandchildren in the way he wished, which was for them to know that Grandpa was always there for them.
One of the last things my brother wrote was, “Smell the flowers while ye may.”
Thanks for the advice, brother.
Robert, you may not remember me. I was Rich's debate partner and he was my first real love back at NIU in 1962-3. I remember being at your home and your grandparents' home. You and Rich called each other "farmer." You also did a rather hilarious skit about whether certs was a breath mint or a candy mint (?). After about 45 years of being out of touch we reconnected by email just about the time that he was first suffering symptoms. He told me about how much his wife and children meant to him and that the two of you were still close. After exchanging a few emails, I read his book and since then have followed him on Facebook. My heart goes out to you and his family. He was an exceptional person. If you want, I'd like to communicate with you privately at some time in the future to share a little more.
We will all miss Richard very much! You are so right, Robert, in stating that his family meant so much to him! That was so apparent by his visits, and the focus of all of our conversations! My family will miss him...I will miss him.
I was extremely fortunate to be a part of Richard's Thursday/ Friday discussion group. I live in Australia. We shared many good times listening to richard give advice through his knowledge, wisdom and wit. He often spoke about his family, especially his grandchildren. He was so excited to come home from Germany and have his grandchildren speak to him in english rather than German. Richard quickly became not only my friend but, more than that he guided me, encouraged me, advised me and most of all inspired me. Here I was sitting in front of a man who was known and loved world wide. Fear not his legacy willbe carried on. He taught me to swim upstream when everybody was swimmiing down stream. WE in his weekly discussion group were saddened and shocked when he said that sad day. " Well I have some bad news, I have cancer and I have been given six months to live". Shock and horror came over all of our faces followed by tears from all of us. He was obviously in a lot of pain but still wanted to come along every week whilst he could. I expected to see Richard for a short time yet. When I learnt on Sunday ( Australia ) , shock followed by tears for I have lost a friend, brother and mentor. I feel so lucky and priveledged to have had Richard in my life. He will always be in my thoughts as i continue on his legacy with the help of Kate Swaffer who he has mentored for some years. Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband, father and grandfather. RIP Richard. Suffer no more Mick Carmody
I was only introduced to Richard through video and by one of his big admirers who cared for patients in an assisted living facility in Minnesota. But his example of how to live courageously and his advice to others was outstanding and similar to what I received from my Lord Jesus Christ-Stand up and Step out. Blessings and Peace to his family knowing that he helped many live the best life possible.
Dearest Robert; there is something that I want to say about Richard and Linda that many people maybe don´t ´t know. They opened there house, heart and love to a group of foreing exchange students. They treated them from the first moment like if they were there own daughters. I´m one of the them. After 23 years that love did not change just a bit and I fell that I lost a father. I love you so much Richard, God bless you and your good work. I will never forget you your loving daughter, Andrea from Santiago Chile