Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Henry Wright Taylor III, a loving father, brother, uncle, and friend to so many passed away at the age of 86 on Saturday, October 5th, 2019 in Roswell New Mexico. He was born on April 2nd, 1933 in Birmingham, Alabama and at the age of seven, in 1940, moved with his mother, father, brother and baby sister to the family farm outside of Lorenzo, Texas. He and his brother “Bubba” had to fight their way from being “city” boys, to real Texas boys wearing long pants and overalls. After that, Henry always felt responsible for taking care of his little brother Tommy, little sister Tootsie, and to an extent Bubba too, but he always had a very serious side that made you realize he felt responsible and would not let anyone hurt his family or friends.
He attended Lorenzo High School where he played basketball and was a part of FFA. He graduated at the age of 16 and went to Texas Tech where he was in ROTC, a Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity brother, and studied animal husbandry. Henry never ceased to amaze all of his friends how he could go to a movie or have fun the night before tests while they were all cramming, and still come out with the top grade in every class. When he graduated with honors from Tech, he then became a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force at age 20 and married his High School Sweetheart, Mary Lu Dickens. They were both too young to get married even though both in college and had to have their parents sign their marriage certificate. While stationed at Bergstrom Air Force Base, Henry quickly started rising through the ranks, soon had their first daughter, and then had to come back home to take over the responsibility of running the family farm from his father, Henry W. Taylor Jr. otherwise known as “Big Henry” while he was called “Little Henry”.
After moving back to Lorenzo, Henry was very active in Jaycees, and the Masonic Lodge where he held multiple positions through Master Mason and Grand Master of the Scottish Rite. He was also an active member of the United Methodist Church, taught Sunday School, and made sure his “little girls” made it to church on Sundays.
In 1969, Henry and his family moved to the family ranch outside of Durango, Colorado, where he trained and started a new career with the Department of Agriculture in the Farmers Home Administration. This took him away from Durango for long periods of time which resulted in a divorce. While working in Aztec, New Mexico, Henry met Elizabeth Lavender Bennett, lovingly known as “Becky” and her four wonderful children he soon called his own. They were married a few years later in 1974, after Henry had been transferred to other locations, and lived many places, with Palmer, Alaska being Henry’s favorite. He volunteered for the fire department, planted Brussel sprouts that grew over six feet high, and had a friendly Moose “Cow” who would bring her calves to feed every year on the stalks. They had a beautiful lake adjacent to their home that would be bright orange after the salmon spawned after a good fishing season.
After additional moves by the FHA, Henry and Becky continued to enjoy a growing family full of love, laughter, and grandchildren. He loved having his children (all seven of them) around, and even more so, his grandchildren. Sadly, he lost his love, Becky, prematurely to cancer in 1992. He would never find anyone to ever replace her, but ended up moving from Midland, Texas to Hayden, Colorado to live with family, and enjoy his woodworking, hunting, and fishing with his son-in-law Sergio, and fishing with his son Frank. Henry enjoyed teaching his grandsons the love of fishing in the mountain rivers, lakes, and streams and would sometimes even include his daughters and granddaughters too! For several years, during the cold Colorado winters, he would take his boat and RV down to the Gulf and stop to see friends and family along the way. It was always fun to hear which of his latest recipes won the potluck taste tests. And, everyone looked forward to when he baked his famous homemade bread or shared his home-canned jellies and jams, that sometimes were more like syrup.
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He had an infectious laugh with twinkling bright blue eyes, and could bluff better than anyone while playing cards, up to just a month before he passed. He survived lung cancer, heart surgeries and developed COPD and Emphysema. In the last few years of his life, he moved to the lower altitude in Roswell, New Mexico, to be closer to his sister Tootsie and brother Tommy. He was placed on oxygen 24/7 for the past few years and his heart just became too weak to continue.
Henry (Daddy/Granddaddy/Great-granddaddy), was a wonderful son, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and friend, and we all miss his way of knowing just what to say, and how to set us straight to do the “right” thing. And how, with so few words, he could impart his wisdom.
Henry was proceeded in death by his brother Edward (Bubba) Taylor, parents Henry Wright Taylor Jr. and Harriett Latham Taylor, his wife Elizabeth (Becky) Lavender Taylor, daughter Tara Bennett-Rocco, and most recently his sister Francis (Tootsie) Taylor.
He is survived by his children Diana Taylor-Burge (Dennis, and sons Luca Taylor (Tarryn), Lee Taylor-Jasper (Madeline), Matthew Burge (Kaitlin), and five great-grandchildren; Laurie Taylor (children Ryan and Morgan Bartley); Barbara Taylor-Binetti (Sergio, and daughter Margot); Frank Bennett (Paula, and sons Christopher(Erika), Nicholas, and Alexander); Cyd James (Frank, sons Michael, Matthew (Brandy), and Stephen (Katie) and 10 great-grandchildren; Sheila Cooke(Dean and daughter Krystal Cady(Andrew), Chance(Kristina) and four great-grandchildren. His younger brother Thomas Taylor and his children Tara Pearce (daughter Brooklyn); Alexa Sargent (Adam, children Avery and Axton); Shane Martin; and Darcy Martin (children Ian and Kallie), as well as lifelong friends, Owanda Davis (like a sister), and Mary Lu (Taylor) Joseph.
Henry was cremated and will have a celebration of life at a future date and place – according to his wishes, preferably by a great fishing lake with the bagpipes playing!
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.