RICHARD HAROLD TAYLOR
April 7, 1923 – May 21, 2019
After a long life well lived, Richard Taylor died peacefully on May 21, at the age of 96. He will be forever remembered and lovingly missed by his wife Joyce of 72 years, his daughters Jill Taylor-Brown (Allen Brown), Jackie McGowan (Ross), his son Jay Taylor; his granddaughters Heather McGowan (Brett Geoffrey), Sara McGowan (Richard Bolton); his grandsons Ian McGowan (Petra), Michael Brown (Max Jiang Brown), Joshua Brown; his great granddaughter Emerson; his great grandsons Dawson, Landon, Jack; and his sister Gill Davey and family in Australia. He was predeceased by his eldest daughter Janet Taylor (John Lyons) in 2014. He is also survived by his cousin Georgie Hodgson and family in Alberta, and other cousins in England.
Born in Reading, England, Richard always excelled at school, both academically and in sports. He was 16 when WWII broke out, and he went to Cambridge and gained a B.A. in Modern Languages in 1 ¼ years. Then at 17 ½ years of age, he joined the Royal Air Force and was commissioned to be an Officer. He spent two of his four years in the RAF training pilots in Canada.
On his return to Reading after the war, he got a job with an expert in heating and ventilating and serviced old country mansions and eventually went to London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) and earned a diploma in heating engineering.
At a Saturday night dance at Reading Town Hall in 1945, Richard caught sight of a petite young girl named Joyce Spooner, and that was the beginning of a loving relationship and a lifetime of adventures together. They were married on October 4, 1947. It was almost impossible to find housing and work in England at that time, and the ever adventurous Richard, with Joyce by his side, and their 13 month old daughter Janet, boarded the ship, The Aquatania, and sailed to their new home in Canada.
With Richard’s perseverance, and strong work ethic, it didn’t take too long to find employment in Winnipeg. He started as a junior draftsman at Fleming Pedlar and by 1964, had become President and General Manager of Controlled Environments Limited; in 1970, he coined the name Conviron as the company’s trade name, and under his outstanding leadership, the company thrived. His work took him all over the globe, to every continent except Antartica! At the time of The Cold War, he travelled to many countries “behind The Iron Curtain”, and to China in 1972. He made many friends and colleagues around the world, and was described as calm, disciplined, combined with just the right amount of toughness to get the job done. He believed in ethical business practices, fairness, honesty, and teamwork. His organizational skills and attention to detail stayed with him throughout his life (which makes things easier for all of us now).
After raising their family of four children in Riverview, Richard and Joyce took on a new adventure. They bought an old farm house and acreage in Hadashville, Manitoba and set about renovating it, and growing their own produce, eventually moving there full time for five years. Richard thrived on change and challenges. After Hadashville, they moved to Metchosin, to another acreage just outside Victoria, BC where they made many new friends, connected with old friends, and got involved in everything from hiking, gardening, tai chi, and tennis, to pattern dancing. They spent 31 wonderful years in the Victoria area, eventually moving to Sidney by the Sea, where they again made more friends and took up lawn bowling, drama, and more. At the Beachwood Village Assisted Living, Richard played the piano for the hugely popular weekly sing-a-longs. They moved back to Winnipeg last year to be closer to family.
Richard was multi talented. All his children and grandchildren wanted him to paint them a picture and some of them got their wish. He was an accomplished pianist. He took up learning to play the clarinet when he was 90. He learned to bake bread in the bread machine; he made his own granola and made and bottled his own wine, so that he and Joyce could enjoy their one glass of red wine daily at 5.00 PM.
He was a carpenter in his “spare” time. He could build anything, from a rec room and bedrooms, that included captain’s beds for his daughters (one of which is used by his great granddaughter today), to doll houses, musical instruments, and all kinds of toys for his grandkids. In 1967, as a Centennial project, he built a wooden sailboat – a Mirror Dinghy from a kit, that the family cherishes and continues to sail to this day.
He always wanted to learn new things, and became computer literate in his seventies, and at aged 84, he switched from using Windows to Apple!
In 1973, when his family scattered across the world on their own adventures, Richard started writing a weekly family newsletter and continued to do so for over 40 years, starting with a typewriter and carbon copies, and ending with e-copies. These treasured letters have been kept and carefully catalogued in true Richard style.
He had a wry sense of humour, was full of integrity, and despite all his talents, was also full of humility. He has been an inspiration for how to live a long and happy life and stay involved in living. He knew everything – if his offspring ever needed help with a task or a problem, he either knew what to do, or knew how to find out.
He was a loving husband, and a true partner in marriage. He was a remarkable man, and he will be so missed.
We would like to thank the Home Care workers, and the nurses and doctors from the Palliative Care program who helped us keep Dad at home for as long as possible. We would also like to thank the staff at the Riverview Palliative Care Unit who cared for him in his final days.
There will be a private family celebration of his life.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation, or a charity of your choice.
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