GREENWOOD — Associates of Dr. Bob Taylor remembered the long-time educator fondly after learning of his death.
Taylor died Wednesday at his home, but left a legacy with many that won’t soon be forgotten.
Lander University President Dr. Dan Ball said Taylor, who served as a professor of education at the institution, “always made you smile and often made you laugh.”
Ball said Taylor’s positive demeanor inside and outside the classroom would always be remembered.
“We, at Lander, are saddened by his departure,” Ball said, “but all of us know he loved Lander and his service to the university and its students will not be forgotten.”
Dr. Danny McKenzie worked with Taylor in the Department of Teacher Education at Lander. “He was probably one of the most creative people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with,” McKenzie said. “If Bob could see something or see a photograph of it, he could recreate it.”
McKenzie said Taylor “seemed to be very popular with the students and interacted with them outside the classroom.”
He said it was surprising sometimes at the different projects Taylor was involved in – often with his wife Donna at his side.
“I envied him in that he had that talent,” McKenzie said. “I know he’ll be missed, particularly in the arts community in Greenwood.”
Taylor also taught in Greenwood School District 50 and in McCormick during his career.
Dr. Randy Vaughn, District 50 assistant superintendent for human resources, said Taylor was quite accomplished during his career in the district, where he taught for 16 years.
Taylor joined the district in 1978 as an English/Drama teacher at Southside Junior High School. He taught gifted and talented students in grades five through nine at Central Instructional Center and at Brewer Intermediate School as a science and challenged reading teacher.
Vaughn said Taylor served with various organizations and associations, including the South Carolina Education Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Council for Exceptional Children, the Piedmont Reading Council, the International Reading Association, the Piedmont Consortium, the South Carolina Fine Arts Commission, and the Greenwood Community Theater. He was one of the first selectees in the Walt Disney Teacher of the Year Awards and represented the State of South Carolina.
“He inspired his students through expression and drama to make learning in his classroom fun and exciting,” Vaughn said.
In addition, Taylor served as a Right-to-Read consultant for the State Department of Education from 1978-80. He taped the ITV program, "One Foot Forward," for the State Department of Education in 1979. He was Outstanding Teacher at Piedmont Technical College for 1979-80. Taylor presented Classroom Management at the State Conference on Gifted in 1981 and was a presenter at the State Conference for the Council for Exceptional Children 1980 and 1981. He was recognized for presenting the Greatest Show on Earth session at the Council for Exceptional Children conference in 1981.
In 1983, Taylor was a member of the Board of Directors for Torrance Center for gifted students. He also served as a consultant to the Georgia Department of Education on Educating the Gifted in 1983. He was also invited to present at the National Creativity Colloquium Conference in 1985.
Taylor served as a consultant throughout South Carolina and Georgia concerning the development of learning materials and instructional techniques in reading instruction, according to Vaughn.
Marcus Scurry, founder and executive director of Reelizin’ Our Dreams Inc., said his memories of Taylor were a bit more personal.
“Dr. Taylor was a friend. I met him years ago and was amazed at his larger than life persona,” Scurry said. “He had that ‘it’ factor that made people pay attention to him.”
Scurry said he reconnected with him while looking for a studio apartment, after a friend suggested that he inquire at the Grace Place Bed and Breakfast.
“During my initial appointment, Bob greeted me like an old friend and within minutes asked, ‘Are you ready to move in?’” Scurry remembered. “I knew that I had found my Utopia.”
He said the Grace Place Bed and Breakfast is a “gem” in Greenwood and “you can witness Dr. Bob's creativity and artistic genius from the paintings, pottery and decor.”
“I am grateful to have had the privilege to know Bob Taylor,” Scurry said. “He was a mentor and a friend. His life was a perfect example of walking to your own beat.
“He didn't just exist, he lived.”
Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Taylor earned a bachelor’s degree from Campbellsville College, a master’s degree from Clemson University and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.