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Brian, Michael, Peter & Terry Taylor Brian, Michael, Peter & Terry Taylor

Taylor-made for Veterans Day

This month, I’m happy to share a story, Taylor-made for when we honor Veterans’ Day and celebrate Thanksgiving. 

Why “Taylor-made?”

Well, this story involves the Taylor family of Selle, who live across the road from me. My husband Bill and I have known them for several years through scouting, school, church and neighborhood activities. We’ve witnessed their dedicated, passionate involvement and their never-ending work ethic. I believe this entire family’s continued contributions to community, to this nation and to people, in general, give us many reasons to be thankful. 

Married 36 years and hard-working farmers, Jim and Mary Taylor have five children, including four boys and one girl. A daughter, Katie Jean, died at age 3. Jim and Mary, both natives of the Silver Valley, first met when Jim was home on leave from the Army and Mary was attending Eastern Washington University (then a state college).

 Jim is now retired from Trans Canada Gas Co., where he finished his career in the company’s Northern Area as a supervisor in charge of operation, maintenance and shipping gas to California. Mary has lived a lifetime of volunteering, and it seems as if she’s ubiquitous. One time I went to the annual forestry contest, and there were three Taylors, flipping hamburgers for the hundreds of participants. 

At the Taylor home, kids were expected to do their best in school. If not, there was plenty of shoveling time at home to think about it. They also learned that dinner time was sacred.

“We waited until their daddy came home, and then dinner was served,” Mary explains. “Then, we’d eat. There was no excuse (except maybe sports) not to be there. We had a family meal and spent the time talking about the day. When they got up from the table, they would say, ‘Excuse me,’ and they would thank their mom for the dinner.”

This past summer Jim and Mary spent a week on the John C. Stennis CVN74, one of the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered supercarriers. The couple sailed from Everett, Wash., to San Diego with their son, Chief Petty Officer Michael Taylor, currently stationed in Bremerton on the Stennis.

The “tiger cruise” came after Michael’s most recent six-month tour of duty at sea. Mary even steered the huge vessel, and the trio enjoyed a spectacular Fourth of July in San Diego Harbor, watching fireworks extravaganzas put on by several San Diego-area communities.

“We were able to stand on the flight deck in the “crow’s nest” where the captain watches operations as jets took off and landed,” Mary recalled, while recently telling me about her experiences as a Navy mom. “How many parents get to do that?”

Jim and Mary have also spent time in Guam, hiking and snorkeling. That was when they pinned Michael’s anchors on his collar after he’d reached his rank of chief.

On other occasions, they’ve visited Washington, D.C., when their oldest son, Navy Hospital Corpsman Second Class Peter Taylor, was stationed there. He serves as a SEAL team support medic out of Little Creek, Va.

Mary visited New England when their third son, Electronic Technician 2nd Class Brian Taylor, was stationed in Portsmouth, NH.

So far, they haven’t taken any trips associated with their son Terry’s Navy involvement. That is sure to come, however. Terry graduated last month with academic honors from Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago. He’s now stationed in Groton, Conn.

Besides traveling opportunities, Jim and Mary are justifiably proud that their four sons serve in the United States Navy. They’re equally proud that each young man earned his Eagle Scout while growing up in Sandpoint.

And, they’re delighted that their daughter Elizabeth will provide her own brand of service to others as an educator, specializing in American Sign Language interpreting for the deaf. She’s already put in four years of signing with the Blackfoot School District and is currently completing her four-year degree through the University of Idaho.

Now for a little rundown on the Taylor kids:

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Petty Officer Peter Taylor (33) has served in Iraq three times since enlisting ten years ago. He’s currently deployed. He and his wife Jen (served six years in the Navy) have three small boys, Ethan, Evan and Eli. As a member of Kiwanis Boy Scout Troop 111, Peter earned his Eagle badge by completing a bench and its concrete work in front of the Bonner County Courthouse. As a high school student, he served as an SHS Bulldog soccer manager.

Chief Petty Officer for Radar and Navigation Michael Taylor (32) was the first of the Taylor brothers to join the Navy in 1996. To earn his Eagle Scout badge in Troop 111, he built a handicap ramp at the Hunter Safety Building near Pine Street Park. He also converted the bathrooms for handicap accessibility. Michael served as soccer manager and played lineman for two years on the Bulldog football team.

Electronic Technician 2nd Class Brian Taylor (25) is also stationed at Bremerton, Wash., aboard the USS Seawolf SSN-21 submarine. He’s in charge of submarine navigation and upkeep. Brian met his wife Melanie in Portsmouth, NH, where she served in the air guard. The couple are parents to a 5-month-old son, Theodore. Construction of six benches at Northside School (where all Taylor children attended) earned Brian his Eagle as a member of St. Joseph’s Troop 308. As a high school student Brian participated in football and wrestling, taking fourth place at State as a heavyweight his senior year.

Seaman Terry Taylor (18), after graduating with academic honors in a class of 815 recruits, is currently attending basic submarine school in Groton, Conn. Upon completion, he’ll attend electronic technician “A” school to navigate submarines. Terry’s Eagle Scout project for St. Joseph’s Troop 308 involved erecting signs at the Water Life Discovery Center on Lakeshore Drive. He participated in golf and wrestling for four years at SHS and competed at State twice as a 215-pound and heavyweight grappler.

Terry also distinguished himself as a chess player, taking second place at last year’s first SHS All-School chess tournament and excelling in speed chess.

Elizabeth Taylor (27) will finish her U of I degree in the next year or so. As a high school student, she was active in band, playing the clarinet and bass clarinet.

I had a chance to visit briefly with and glean some information from Michael Taylor, who was home recently on leave. I have fond memories of Michael as an enthusiastic student in my graphic arts class at SHS.  He joined the Navy because of its advanced computer offerings, and its college fund. He has recently applied for its officer program.

Michael has lived the time-honored slogan “Join the Navy and See the World,” with opportunities to ski in Chile and go white-water rafting in Turkey. He’s visited Rome and Spain and has been deployed several times. One six-month tour took him to the Horn of Africa.

A typical day on the job for Michael involves supervision of 19 Electronics Technicians in preventive and corrective maintenance for all air and surface search radars, aircraft landing systems and navigation. Before retiring in 7 to 12 years, he hopes to complete his college degree, be selected for the officer program and have a family.

For now, he appreciates the support of his own family, his scouting background and a little friendly sibling rivalry.

“My parents helped a lot in teaching me to stand up for what I believe, and to do the right thing. I remember how proud their were when they came to Guam to pin on my chief anchors,” he says. “In Scouts, I learned how to follow and, later, how to lead people.

“My siblings continue to influence me by making sure that I continue to outrank them,” he adds. “I want to make sure they do not pass me in rank.”

At this point, Jim and Mary are content to leave the competition to the kids and to support them in whatever career decisions they make.

“We are proud parents,” Mary says.

As the neighbor who lives across the road from the Taylor’s, I believe Jim and Mary have every right to be proud. Families like the Taylors keep this nation on track through both military and public service. For that, we can all be grateful.

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Author info

Marianne Love Marianne Love is a freelance writer and former English teacher who enjoys telling the stories of her community. She has authored several books, the latest of which is "Lessons With Love."

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