|Birth: ||Dec. 21, 1946|
|Death: ||Aug. 1, 2006|
Rod Taylor, "It is what it is" was Rod Taylor's saying and it has touched many. Rod Taylor lived life to the fullest and faced whatever came along with integrity, grace, and the same competitive spirit that made him a star athlete and successful attorney for many years. Rod was born on December 21, 1946 in Colby, Kansas to Clara and Bernie Taylor. His family moved around during his childhood and settled in Lawrence, Kansas at the beginning of his high school years in 1961. He excelled in academics and athletics, playing High School All-American football, American Legion baseball, basketball, and track and field. He went on to the University of Kansas from 1965-66 and then onto the University of Miami from 1966 to 1970.
He was awarded football scholarships and excelled on the field and in the classroom, graduating magna cum laude in 1970. He then attended law school at the University of Miami as a recipient of the Reid Academic Scholarship and graduated in 1973. Rod moved to Orlando in 1973 with his wife, Donna, and their two young children, Scott and Shelley, and began his distinguished 33-year career as an attorney. He was known as a great mediator, mentor to many, and was lauded as being very approachable and generous with his time and skills, allowing many people to benefit from his expertise. He was dubbed "Yoda" by colleagues who claimed they could go to him for anything and he would know what to do. Rod's hallmark competitive spirit in sports did not end with college football. He enjoyed an array of intramural sports throughout the 1970's and 1980's but golf was the game he loved the most. Known for being hard on himself and a few unruly golf clubs, Rod won many golf tournaments throughout the years and was a regular on his home golf course at Windermere Country Club.
In 1990, Rod married Karen Sykes and their marriage has remained much like a tender courtship for the past 16 years. They enjoyed traveling and spending time with their family and friends. With the arrival of his granddaughter, Macy, in 2004, Rod became "Papa" to the little girl who has his big blue eyes and charm. Rod was diagnosed with lung cancer in May of 2005. He had faithfully worn his yellow Live Strong bracelet for months and was honored by his family and friends with his own "Rod Taylor Competitive Spirit" bracelet in green, a tribute to his college colors. What started as a few bracelets for family and friends soon grew into a request for hundreds, which have been worn around the world for the past 15 months. Rod remained inspirational to all during his fight. He accepted his condition saying "it is what it is" whenever anyone expressed their sorrow to him. As an old friend said "It seems as if you've been a champion for the quiet and strong way of life. You've let us know how to live large, live richly, live with dignity, and to love all the way." Ever the competitor, he fought to the very end.
He died on Tuesday, August 1. Rod is survived by his wife, Karen; his children, Shelley and Scott; his daughter-in-law, Rae; his granddaughter, Macy, his parents, Clara and Bernie; his brother, Robert and his wife, Niki; mother-in-law, Sybil Tillman and her husband Herb; father-in-law, John Sykes and his wife Susan; brothers-in-law, Jim Stroker and Chuck Sykes; sisters-in- law, Kathy Stroker and Becky Sykes; two nieces and three nephews. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, August 5, 2006 at 10AM at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4851 South Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819. Interment will follow at Woodlawn Memorial Park and Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rod Taylor's memory to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-Orlando, In memory of Rod Taylor, Attn: Michael Mangan, 1400 South Orange Avenue MP 700, Orlando, FL 32806.
Bernard Asa Taylor (1921 - 2009)
Woodlawn Memorial Park
Maintained by: Ray Vick
Originally Created by: Randy Shepherd
Record added: Aug 04, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 15150606