A TRIBUTE TO OUR JIM, DAD, GRAMPS, FRIEND:
JAMES GILBERT TAYLOR, age 81, passed away on Monday, April 2, 2018 in Miami after a brief and sudden illness. Jim was born in the family home in Roanoke Virginia to Gilbert and Emily (Eubank) Taylor. He is survived by his wife, Sue (McGill), his sister, Judith (Taylor) Brammer of Virginia, and immediate family.
Jim had two beautiful sons, Brad and Matt (officially Brad Lee (47) and Matthew James (36) – Yes, eleven years between!) His boys were the light of his life and where his pride went, only compounded in 1993 by the arrival and gift, his grandson, Zachary (24). He loved his daughter-in-law like the daughter he always wanted, Janis (Overholser) and when Matt brought home his love, Amy, he added her to his heart immediately and we are greatly saddened knowing now he will not see them married next February, although I am sure he will be with us in all our hearts.
Jim was an adored son, a wonderful brother, the best husband and father, a devoted boss and blessed with too many friends to count.
Jim’s education was all in Roanoke Virginia from grade school through college surrounded by the same friends from elementary school through high school who remain dear friends today. He loved being a teen of the 1950s and we have the pictures to prove it. He studied Civil Engineering and Mathematics at Roanoke College but when he applied for a state job in engineering, they discovered he was colorblind and returned to his love of numbers. Jim was a proud veteran of the Army Reserves.
Jim was lured to Miami after his education when he and his best friend, Ken, drove there in 1960 to check it out. His mom would tell that she assumed he’d come back in a couple of years but he only did for visits. With guidance and opportunity, Jim worked for Bertram Yachts by beginning with helping in the accounting office until he was promoted to head accountant. He was employed with Bertram Yachts for nine years.
That is when I met Jim, during his tenure at Bertram, though reluctantly at first. Bertram’s had group health insurance with BCBS where I worked. We spoke often on the phone but I wasn’t impressed. He was abrupt and all business. When a co-worker, who knew Jim well, wanted to fix us up I was not interested. Persistence won in the end and a blind date was set. I had been a fool; it was love at first sight! Ten months later he proposed, six weeks later, we were married and we just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary this past June.
In 1970, Jim and several of his co-workers and friends began a company in Fort Lauderdale selling Striker Aluminum Yachts but the company was sold after five years of commuting from South Dade to Lauderdale. It was then that Jim applied for another position and met J. W. Barfield.
Barfield Instruments hired him to be head accountant in 1976 and that opportunity would change his life forever. Barfield is a recognized and admired name in the airline industry and Mr. Barfield’s many successes were always attributed to all the great people he had working with and for him. Jim was soon one of those men and rose to the position of First Vice President of Finance before his retirement in 2001.
Mr. Barfield developed a deep respect for Jim and, when he retired, he asked Jim to stay with him and work for him personally with regard to his personal finances, maintaining his home and staff that was brought in to care for his wife and later himself. His biggest concern, as he aged, was caring for his special son, Jimmy. Jim was by Mr. Barfield’s side to his last breath and Jim and I, have to this day, continued, as an honor, to keep Jimmy, his home, caregivers and his life as normal as his father before him. Jim, my darling, I will try my best to fill your shoes and make you proud.
When Jim retired, many years ago, we filled our lives with travel and family. Jim’s favorite thing to do was to have all his family surround him, sharing a cocktail, of course and laughing over most things. He fell in love again about six years ago, when Brad brought home a sick, little rescued puppy that melted his heart, Shelby. Shelby had Jim wound around her finger in no time and was who he called first each morning before rising. Jim’s favorite job was being a father to his sons and Gramps to our Zach. His pride in his sons and the respect he held for both of them turning to law enforcement. Brad spent his career with Miami Dade Police and Matt is still currently a detective with South Miami Police. Both boy’s careers gave him huge bragging rights and which lately infuriated him with the recent decline in respect for police officers today who risk their lives daily for the citizens. Zachary is about to complete his college education at UCF and brought his granddad much joy though he recently complained that Zach had grown so tall and towered over his Gramps. Though painful now, we all know how we were loved.
This cannot end without mentioning all Jim’s friends from childhood, with Barfields, his local friends so dear and all those feeling so far away right now in Tennessee. Jim loved you all, teased you all, kissed all the girls, and will be keeping you all close from above now.
To have known him was to love him and we all just have to find comfort that he remains with us eternally. Jim was not tall in structure but tall in every respect a man could ever strive for. Jim often spoke of all the unrest in our country, and the world today, and longed for everyone to care for one another and find peace. Let’s try to work on that and give that to him.
Out of his love for his Shelby and our family’s compassion for a misinformed public on pitbulls, in lieu of flowers, donations to the Pitbull Tailz Rescue, Inc. (pitbulltailzrescue.com).
Our hearts are broken sweetheart and we will miss you every moment until we meet again.