Obituary: John Taylor
After years of beating the odds, John Taylor reluctantly cashed in his chips on Sept. 29, 2018. He was 60 years old. The eldest son and middle child of John C. and Anne L. Taylor, he led an idyllic childhood in Delran, New Jersey. The house was filled with love, laughter and sports. He attended St. Peter’s School, Riverside, New Jersey, followed by Holy Cross High School in Delran. John competed in whatever sport was in season, including baseball, basketball, football, and track and field. He loved competition, though those closest to him will tell you he loved it a lot more when he won. He swam competitively for Tenby Chase Swim Club in Delran, where he became the youngest swimmer to join the team after it was formed who fulfilled their eligibility. After high school he visited a friend in Oklahoma and, loving the wide open spaces and pace of life that were so contrary to his native New Jersey, he took a job running a nine-hole golf course and swimming pool for the Latimer County Country Club in Wilburton, Oklahoma - a town so small they had to borrow the neighboring town’s horse in order to be a one-horse town. He spent some time in Tulsa and settled in Ponca City, which he came to see as a second home. He took a sales position that turned into an on-air career with KIXR Radio and started carving out his niche. John spent 15 years hosting the “T. Time With T. Morgan” morning program, utilizing his quick wit and non-stop opinions on anything and everything to develop a strong following. He later created “American Pie,” an oldies program on station WBBZ. He referred to his time in radio as “a daily opportunity to chat for hours with my imaginary friends.” For all the fun, the achievement he was most proud of was organizing, spearheading, and generating donations for the annual Christmas toy drive which raised tens of thousands of dollars and donated toys for children in Ponca City and the surrounding area.
After leaving radio, John spent several years with Jim Crossland Lincoln Mercury as a sales associate. It was there that he had the good fortune to learn from Jim Crossland, a fine man he viewed as a mentor and friend. He also spent time as an agent with Oklahoma Farm Bureau, served on the board of directors of the Opportunity Center, and was involved in multiple community projects and organizations. He spent 20 years as a member of the PCFL, a local fantasy football league that he stuck with even after moving to Arizona. He could have played any of a thousand online leagues but never entered a single one, choosing instead to compete with a great group of guys who he knows will never forget America’s team, THEIR PRYOR CONVICTIONS!
Around the time of his 40th birthday he developed shortness of breath that went undiagnosed until local physician Paul Davis discovered he had the genetic disorder Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, saving his life in the process. The hereditary condition resulted in John’s need for a double lung transplant and he received that gift in January 2008 thanks to the selfless generosity of Joe Templeton, a young man from Colorado who died far too young. John considered his relationship with Joe’s family as among the most important and humbling of his life.
He turned that life-changing circumstance into a positive, using his communication skills to speak to groups around the country live, via radio and TV about this often misdiagnosed disorder. He worked as a Patient Advocate, helping newly diagnosed Alphas and those preparing for transplant to understand their disorder, manage their care and build the strength to face the challenges ahead. As John Walsh, founder and director of the Alpha-1 Association once said by way of introduction, “every Alpha can tell you a story that makes you cry. John will tell you one that makes you cry and two that make you laugh”.
But the greatest positive of his new lease on life was the opportunity to marry the love of his life, Kathy (née Kwak). Their union on New Year’s Eve 2008 ushered in his most joyous times. Despite the ravages of post-transplant treatment and medication and the accompanying decline in his health, these were John’s happiest days. They traveled, doted on their dogs Beans, Sami and Howie, and reveled in every minute of their life together. Kathy’s laugh was the most beautiful sound he ever heard, and he did all he could to hear it as often as he could. They made their home in the scenic mountains of Clarkdale, Arizona, a place John said was “made to retire to.” He filled his days by puttering around the house and patio garden he loved, viewing the wildlife and scenery, and playing guitar. John was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents; his eldest sister, Kathy, who he missed dearly; his beloved “Unk,” John Boak; his godparents, Michael Taylor and Helen “Nell” Marnien; along with family members and countless Alphas who fought the brave fight. Breathe easy now.
He is survived by his family, who he loved like life itself and who were the most important people to him: Maureen Copper (Ken) of Sandy Hook, Virginia; younger brothers, Dennis (Mary) of Delran and Dan (Christine) of Lutherville, Maryland; brother-in-law, Allan Sciscio, Windermere, Florida; nieces and nephews, Leigh Anne Moriarty (Frank), Blackwood, New Jersey; Amy Buiting (Ted), Souderton, Pennsylvania; Wayne Sciscio (Baniela), Fair Lawn, New Jersey; Brooke Finlayson (Travis), Winter Garden, Florida; Ian and Michele Taylor of Delran; Ryan Taylor, Lutherville, Maryland. He took tremendous joy in his great-nieces and nephews, Jack Sciscio, Madison and Gavin Buiting, and Eden, Isla and Bronwyn Finlayson. He was never more proud than when bragging about the members of his family and their many accomplishments. Few of us are fortunate enough to find true lifelong friendships as an adult. John had the good fortune to have two: “Farmer” Mark Liegerot, Ponca City, who tragically preceded him in death; and Aaron Mitchell, Pawnee, Oklahoma. They were John’s “other brothers.” There will be no funeral or memorial. John felt that life was for spontaneous joy, not structured mourning. He will be privately interred. In lieu of flowers he requested contributions to Donate Life (donatelife.net), the group that works tirelessly to increase awareness of the desperate need for organ and tissue donation, or FeedingAmerica.org. In this wonderfully prosperous nation, no person should go hungry. He asked that you remember his dear Kathy. Hold her as close to your heart as you do any memories of him. Finally, he would ask that you think about good times you shared and hopefully experience, once again, whatever happiness he may have brought into your life. Hopefully, you’ll hoist a glass and smile.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” - Calvin Coolidge.
Information provided by survivors.