The earthly life of a Nyack College legend ended recently when Dr. John F. Taylor passed away on July 18 in Fort Myers, FL at the age of 84. A memorial service was held on Monday, July 23, 2007 in The Village Church at Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers.
Dr. Taylor received a diploma at the Nyack Missionary College in 1943; a B.A. in 1945 from Wheaton College and an M.A. in 1947 from Wheaton Graduate School of Theology. His B.D. was earned at Southern Baptist Seminary and a Ph.D. was completed at New York University in 1966.
An active student during his college days, in 1944 John Taylor was voted a member of the North Carolina State All-Conference Basketball Team and with the Ambassador Quartet of the Missionary Training College, he traveled through 45 states, presenting programs in churches and at banquets, radio broadcasts, youth rallies, and Carnegie Hall.
Rev. Taylor was also the pastor of four different churches between 1952-1959. In addition to being a Nyack alumnus, he wore many hats as an employee at what would become Nyack College, including Dean of Men, 1947-49 and Director of Publicity, 1949-56.
He was also an instructor at Nyack College, who taught a variety of courses among them, Fundamentals of Speech, Bible Archaeology, European Civilizations, and Pastoral Epistles. When he was not teaching, he ran “travel camps” for children in the metropolitan area. Demonstrating his compassionate heart for young people, the “Taylor Tours” allowed youngsters to travel across the United States and even to Europe.
In 1982, he became Nyack’s Vice President of Public Affairs and was Executive Director of Nyack’s Alumni Association 1986-87. During his tenure at Nyack he wrote many articles for the Nyack College alumni publication.
From 1958-1970, Dr. Taylor was Director of the Rockland County YMCA. During a brief break in his employment with Nyack College, he was Director of Wheaton College Alumni Association from 1970-74. He returned to become Director of the Nyack College Alumni Association from 1974-78.
Dr. Taylor was widowed twice; first following the death of his wife, a Nyack alumna, Laverne Legary. He was remarried in 2000 to Nyack alumna, Pearl Swope (’54), who predeceased him in 2004 during their residence at the Shell Point Retirement Community in Fort Myers, FL.
He is the father of four children: three daughters: Janna Draper, Marna Lautererwasser and Linda Taylor, and a son, Robert, a Nyack alumnus with his wife, Yelitza Cuevas Taylor. He is also survived by a brother, Kenneth and a sister, Phyllis, a Nyack alumna. A proud grandfather, Dr. Taylor funded the education of his six grandchildren—two serve in ministry, two are studying in Ph.D. programs to teach on the college level, one is in nursing and another is an actor. Dr. Taylor established Nyack College scholarships: one named for his son, John Kenneth; one for his mother and sister, The Minnie and Phyllis Taylor Scholarship, and one for his first wife, Laverne. In addition, he established a fourth scholarship at Alliance Theological Seminary in honor of Kenneth and Rose Legary, his wife's parents.
Through his dedicated commitment to The Christian and Missionary Alliance and to Nyack College, the works and good deeds of Dr. John Floyd Taylor live on in the many lives that he touched.
Reflecting on the legacy of Dr. Taylor, President Michael Scales commented, "This feels like the end of an era. John Taylor was "Mr. Nyack" to many people. He was a tremendous promoter and fan. As proud as he was of Nyack, he was even more proud of his family. We will all miss him and his natural engaging enthusiasm."