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Walter J. Walt Taylor
0106 Obit-Taylor
Walter J. ‘Walt’ Taylor, 81, died quietly on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009, shortly following surgery with his family by his side.
He was born in Knights Ferry to J.G. ‘Bert’ and Mildred Taylor. He completed eight elementary grades in the same two-room Knights Ferry schoolhouse where his father, mother, and three siblings attended. He graduated from Oakdale High School where he was active in FFA with the intention of making agriculture his life’s work. He entered the livestock business with his father and continued learning from him until Bert died in 1963.
Mr. Taylor was referred to by many as the cowman’s cowman, and had carried on his dad’s IT cattle brand registered in 1917. It was his lifelong passion to produce and market top Charolais cattle. Whenever friends or neighbors needed help with cattle, he was always there with his horse and dogs. With the help of his dogs, he could move a herd of cattle with little effort.
He had many good horses and dogs, but the one most well-known was a buckskin mare named ‘Cricket’ that gained notoriety for herself with passing motorists by keeping constant vigil in her pasture alongside the highway at Lovers Leap.
He was very active in community and civic organizations. He was a valued member of the Knights Ferry IOOF Lodge for more than 57 years, a charter member of the Knights Ferry Rebekah Lodge, served on the Knights Ferry Cemetery Board, member of the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, and honored and selected as the Stanislaus-San Joaquin County Cattleman of the Year. He had also previously served as the president of the organization.
He is survived by his loving companion, Virginia Gibson; children, Michael (Jillian) Taylor, Patrick Taylor, Barbara Ross, and David Taylor; brother, Robert ‘Bob’ (Marilyn) Taylor; 20 grandchildren; and 22 great-grandchildren; David (Debbie) Gibson, Ken (Evelyn) Gibson, Susie (David) Souza; and long-time friend and business partner, Sean (Hilda) Dunagan.
He was preceded in death by his son, William; sisters, Dorothy Young and Eleanor Brennan.
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8 at Oakdale Memorial Chapel. A service will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, also at the chapel. Following the service, a celebration of his life will be held at the Knights Ferry IOOF Hall on Main Street.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Knights Ferry History Museum, P.O. Box 861, Knights Ferry, CA 95361; and to the Oakdale Cowboy Museum, 355 East F St., Oakdale, CA 95361.
Oakdale-Riverbank Memorial Chapel in charge of arrangements.