William Taylor

To William “Bill” Taylor Sr., folks were just folks, no matter what they did or where they lived.

“He could approach anyone,” said son Calvin Taylor of Conestoga, Pennsylvania. “He had many friends and could talk to anybody.”

That trait served Taylor well as an advocate for veterans across Nebraska. He was the statewide commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1979 and 1980.

Taylor died Saturday at Arbor Manor in Fremont. He was 88. He had been in failing health for about six months.

In addition to his VFW position, Taylor helped vets as the Burt County veterans service officer for about 10 years. He was a lifetime member of both the American Legion and the VFW.

“His most important work was for veterans,” his son said.

A Blair, Nebraska, native, Taylor joined the Navy the day after his 17th birthday in 1943, before he graduated from his hometown high school. He served on a destroyer in the South Pacific.

When he returned home, he earned a high school diploma and eventually got a commercial pilot’s license. That came in handy during the blizzard of 1949, when he delivered groceries to snowed-in ranchers near Bassett, Nebraska.

With wife May, he bought a farm near Oakland, Nebraska, in 1961. He built an airstrip on his land and hired out as a crop-duster. He went to work for Burt County after he retired from farming.

He loved gardening, spoiling his grandchildren and taking fishing trips to South Dakota and Minnesota.

Survivors include his wife; two other sons, Ken of Mead, Nebraska, and Bill of Elkhorn; daughters Ruth Trout and Helen Murray, both of Lincoln; sister Peggy Anderson of Blair; 10 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Services were Wednesday at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oakland.

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