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Melvin Clarence Taylor of Allegan, Michigan, passed away on August 24, 2023. Melvin was born November 16, 1937, to the late Clarence Taylor and Lorena (Crowner) Taylor.
The following obituary was lovingly crafted by Melvin, here are his own personal words:
“The first house my family able to have; my first car – a life affair that would last. My mom’s calmness and quiet ways; she didn’t need a heavy hand to discipline us brothers if we misbehaved. My father taking me to Holland for my first vehicle to drive, another lifelong relationship with Ford I would find. Growing up with two brothers, Raymond and Clarence – Sonny to me; and brief but so very loved our brother Roger, in 1946 passing away as baby. My father became guardian angel in 1963, a bit longer for mom he would need to wait patiently. Once mom’s purpose finished in 1992, now together with dad and her precious Roger too.
My first job at Western Auto Store at thirteen years of age, nine years before Rockwell until my retirement days. Between Western Auto and Rockwell, graduation achieved, in 1956 out ‘into the world’, my senior year complete. My greatest ‘jobs’ would come to be; fireman, husband, father, and Grandpa – each of these the best of me. In July of 1962 my roles as Engineer and Captain to become my destiny, my honor to serve for, and along side, six fire chiefs. Thirty-three years, major and small fires, rescuing and most of all helping neighbors in need; Allegan community my neighborhood, every person next door to me.
Before I met the one who would make my heart race, interim speed through car modifications I would try to gain. At top of mind, make the engine bigger and faster and dual exhaust to sound just right. Add a little healthy competitiveness with dear friends who never did see the “light”; but that’s okay, my Ford could beat their Chevys many a time. Chuck, Bill, and Ron, I thought of willing my Fords to each of you. Okay, maybe not, but each of you like brothers, I thank you.
Much laughter, fun racing, and so many stories. My life very rich from all of our shared years and great memories.
Playing hard to get, though she had already caught my eye, in 1957 with Barbara for a first date I would try. I didn’t tell her she had stolen my heart when in the convertible I drove by; ‘good place for her in Tennessee’ , the act of ‘tough guy’. Thankfully she came back, thankfully she said “yes”; the best 64 years life since. She even felt I was still a keeper when she said ‘again I do’, twenty plus years ago on a tour in The Little Brown Church in the Vale our vows renewed.
Life as I knew it no longer the same, when in 1960 a father I became. Four years later my life complete, a second daughter to spoil, guide, and teach. Debbie and Lisa to make our lives whole; far richer my life than any amount of gold. Honorary crew to the firemen after a late night, delivery of donuts and their smiles at the perfect time. Pit crew to many an engine in design, cheerleaders and supporters of the collections I would find. Family camping, parades, so many memories made. They knew they were loved – after all, I actually helped them get a Chevy Monte Carlo and a Dodge car. But what they may not know to the full extent what meant the world to me; how in turn they loved me unconditionally.
My life full, no need for more; and then it all changed. A first grandson Andrew – came. Just when you think life has provided all you need, you are given more gifts called ‘grandchildren’ – Andrew, Leslie, Ashley and Jason. Four more fans of what Grandpa could build and restore; four more lives that I would do anything for. Marines, journalism, computer savvy, welder, rodeo success, - in all that they do they always give their best. I am so proud of the adults they have grown to be; I love each of you so much, so special to me.
Each of you think there is nothing Grandpa couldn’t fix, but that isn’t true; I couldn’t stop time and have 100 more years with you. Jason and Andrew, trust all that you know; you do know a lot about cars and how to make them go. And I am so happy to think to you I’ve passed on a part of my legacy; thank you for all of the times you were my garage shadows letting me teach. And to all of you don’t ever forget, there is only one brand of corn flakes; never settle for any other trying to be a fake.
I am Great Grandpa, too - Taylor, Carolina, Shannon; Landan and Logan to complete this next generation brood. I may not get to share with them all of the adventures of collecting, restoring, and getting a dead engine to run anew. But I am certain I have left many a story to learn all that Great-Grandpa was able to do. Two hundred cars, building a tractor – aka ‘Putt Putt’ to my greatest fans and crew, and of course touring with Model T’s to name a few. Hunting, fishing, finding ways to go fast on a motorcycle or with a stock car too. Our yard and driveway far more special than any NASCAR track; the best driving courses established by grandkids also enjoying Grandpa’s zest for fast.
I am told I have a week designated for me, an honor for my time on the fire department I received. They say I have at least one famous relative in the family; I suppose, though she I never did meet. Hannah Crawford Webster, sister to Noah, who gave us meaning to words – we know as dictionary; from my dear grandma linked to Hannah as 5th great grandmother to me. With admiration others have called me ‘the guy with the old cars’; sure, I had a few – traveled the U.S., one three month trip quite far. An award or being the most helpful person on tours with our Model T’s; I was just doing what was neighborly when others in need. I didn’t serve as fireman for recognition or fame. I didn’t collect cars for any blue ribbons or first place. Appreciation to my brother-in-law who helped me stay young at heart after retiring; working for him at Southwest Gravel for many a year – sixteen. Roger, the in-law is just a formality; you have been a great brother since you shared your sister with me. Time with my family, enjoying life, growing old with my beautiful wife. Friendships new and old, community and neighbors in need. How I lived life was for these things.
A quote reads “it always amazes me to think that every house on every street is full of so many stories; so many triumphs and tragedies, and all we see are yards and driveways”. For me, what I noticed were the stories and if I could help someone on any given day. You will smile and remember me when you see an old car, you will think of me July 25 through July 31st, and you might even think of me when at a parade. What I hope you do most of all is watch out for your neighbors – see more than their yard and driveways. Helping each other through is the measure of a successful and full life made.”
Melvin is preceded in death by his parents Clarence and Lorena Taylor; brothers Roger and Raymond Taylor.
He is survived by his wife Barbara (Smith) Taylor; daughters Deborah (Bob) Fales, Lisa (Taylor) Barry; brother Sonny (Lynn) Taylor; grandchildren Andrew (Leigha) Perales, Leslie (Stevan) Loges, Ashley Brown, Jason (Mandy) Brown; and great-grandchildren Taylor, Carolina, Shannon Perales, Landan, and Logan Loges.
There will be a visitation on Tuesday, August 29th, 2023, at Christ Community Church of Allegan from 12:00pm until 1:00pm. Melvin's service will begin at 1:00pm officiated by Pastor Wally Coots. Graveside service will take place following the service at Lindsley Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made out to Wings Home of Allegan or the Allegan City Fire Department.