A Tribute to My Father, Homer Taylor, 1916-1998

Lessons Learned from My Dad

by Gene Taylor

It is difficult to find a proper way to express all that my father has meant to me and to offer a fitting tribute to him which might be profitable to share with others. In the past two weeks I have had many thoughts and memories of him flood my mind but most of them are of a personal nature which, while I find them interesting and enjoyable to reflect upon, they may be of little profit to you.

How do you, in a couple of pages, summarize the life of one who has meant so much to you -- the one who taught you to walk; talk; hit a nail, a baseball and a running back; shave; drive a car; respect the law, girls and yourself; and love and obey the Lord? The best way I can think of is to share with you some of the most valuable things he taught me.

Homer Taylor was the youngest child of Bruce W. and Della Taylor. He was born in a small house in the foothills of the Appalachians in southeastern Ohio on September 7, 1916. Growing up on a farm, he developed a love for the country that never deserted him even though he spent most of his adult life living and working in a metropolitan area.

His father died when Homer was only ten years old. He went to live with his oldest sister and her husband in Barberton, Ohio. It was there, after graduating from high school and being hired at the local chemical plant, that he met a young woman who captured his heart -- my mother, Connie Crabtree. They were married on September 19, 1937. Three sons were born to them. I am the youngest.

Homer worked at that chemical plant for 38 years, retiring in 1975. He and mother enjoyed his retirement until the cancer that eventually ended his life began to cause his health to deteriorate.

He had a good full life. He lived what many would call a simple life. But along the way he impacted a lot of people. Let me tell you of his influence in my life and some of the lessons I learned from him.

The Importance of Work

The work ethic that I have, I learned from my Dad. On many occasions, when other people would gladly miss going to work, Dad would go. I have seen him clear our entire street of knee-deep snow so he could get the car out and go to work. I have seen him very sick, yet he would somehow pull himself out of bed and go to work. While in his forties he suffered back problems so severe that in order to get out of a chair he had to drop to his knees and pull himself up using a cane. Yet, though he had a very physically demanding job, he missed very little work. Nobody had to teach him to "work as unto the Lord" (Eph. 6:6-7), his integrity caused him to do it without prompting.

The Importance of Family

Having lost his own father at an early age, my Dad always stressed family. He always felt a keen responsibility to provide as best he could.

As youngsters, we were not rich but we never went hungry. We wore a lot of "hand-me-downs" but we always got new clothes before he and mother did. As a matter of fact, I am amazed at how much we had on Dad's pay. He was a great money manager. Though never more than a factory worker, we had nice homes and new cars and he never financed a car, always paying cash.

His concern for family was not just for us. It extended to all his family. He provided for both of my grandmothers when they were on fixed incomes. He took care of his brother on an almost full-time basis, never taking any money from him, for the last two years my uncle lived. The examples could go on.

Loyalty and Fidelity in Marriage

Mother and Dad were married nearly 61 years. In all that time, he remained faithful to her in all ways. Just a few weeks ago, Mother related a conversation they had had recently. After 60 years of marriage, he told her that from the moment he saw her he loved her and that he never gave thought to anyone else. There were differences in those 60 years, as there is in any marriage, but no thought was ever given to divorce or separation. He had given both his love and his word and he stood by them. The marriage law of God had great meaning to him.

A High Regard for Truth

Even before he became a Christian, Dad valued truth. I think that is one of the reasons he quickly obeyed the gospel when he learned it.

One of the most exemplary facts about Dad was that I, the rest of my family, and all those who knew him, never knew him to tell a lie or misrepresent anyone or anything. I wish I could say the same for myself but I can't. Probably very few could. You may not have liked what he had to say, but you knew it was the truth.

A Love for the Lord and His Church

After he had obeyed the gospel and been added to the church, he served the Lord in many ways. For example, when the Barberton congregation built its present building, he voluntarily worked hundreds, if not thousands of hours, doing the finishing work on it.

He set the example for us that whenever the church building doors were open, we were there. He and mother took us to the many gospel meetings which were held in the area. It did not matter whether we had homework or a social activity of some kind, we were going to the meeting because that is where he knew we should be.

He could not abide hypocrites. If some one were "two-faced," as he described them, it would not be long before he would take them to task.

He knew the Bible. He never taught it much publicly but he knew and understood its teachings. And I believe he did his best to try to live by it and get us to do the same.

I am glad I was blessed to have him as my Dad and a part of my life for 50 years. I look forward to the day I can see him -- standing by his Savior and welcoming me home once again.