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July 17, 1955 - June 23, 2023
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Thomas Edward Taylor
Thomas Taylor, computer software engineer, secular Franciscan, and paddling enthusiast, died on June 23, 2023, while canoeing on the Colorado River. He was three weeks away from turning 68.
The cause was accidental drowning, the Eagle County Coroner’s Office in Eagle, CO, said, despite efforts by friend Marc W. McCord and emergency medical personnel to save him.
A career public servant, Mr. Taylor joined the US Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service in 1993 as a computer specialist. He served the IRS in this capacity for nearly 30 years, troubleshooting and testing equipment from the Wang Word Processing System and the IBM-compatible Compaq Personal Computer of the mid-1980s to today’s sophisticated, cyber-hardened databases and networks. In recent years, he specialized in ensuring that people with disabilities could access IRS online resources. Before joining the IRS, Mr. Taylor had his own business, Computer Software Consultants, with clients including The MITRE Corp.
Brought up in the church, Mr. Taylor was a devout Catholic. For a time, he considered becoming a Franciscan monk but ultimately joined the Secular Franciscan Order, Saint Thomas More Fraternity, within the Saint Margaret of Cortona Region, on June 11, 1994. He served as treasurer of the fraternity in 1996. From that point forward, Mr. Taylor wore sandals for all but the most formal occasions or rugged work. He was a faithful member of St James Catholic Church in Falls Church, VA; St Gabriel Catholic Church in McKinney, TX; and St Mary’s Catholic Church in Montrose, CO.
Mr. Taylor lived his faith, convincing the IRS to allow him to work remotely to assist members of his family long before the COVID-19 pandemic made such an arrangement acceptable. He first moved from the Washington, DC area to McKinney beginning in 2000 to help his sister care for their mother in the final years of her life, and then to Montrose in 2016 to serve as guardian for his younger brother. Mr. Taylor also volunteered to go to New York to help rebuild the IRS Northeast Region computer system, email, and network hub after the September 11, 2001, destruction of the World Trade Center, including Building #7 where the system was housed.
In addition to his willingness to help anyone in need, Mr. Taylor had a deep regard and caring for animals, from a cat named “Squeaker” to a horse, a Missouri Fox Trotter, called “Alice.” He was a dedicated member of the board for the non-profit organizations End of the Trail Horse Rescue and Dream Catcher Therapy of Olathe, CO. He sponsored individual horses annually, providing the funds needed for food, vaccinations, ferrier, and veterinary care, and participated in the organizations’ fundraising efforts.
Mr. Taylor grew up camping with his family and loved the outdoors as an adult. In 1999, he followed the 1803-1804 trail of Merriweather Lewis and William Clark across the country, writing postcards to a friend as though he were Clark. Mr. Taylor especially enjoyed canoeing and rafting and the natural beauty of the rivers and landscape in Texas and Colorado. He embraced the west, adding Stetsons—working and formal—to his attire.
Thomas Edward Taylor was born on July 17, 1955, in Dayton, Ohio to Frank Harold Taylor and Ruth Elaine Anderson, the couple’s second child and son of four children. He grew up in Falls Church, VA, graduating from George Mason High School in 1973. He earned his associate degree from the Northern Virginia Community College in 1976 and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in fire administration from George Mason University in 1980. At points in his life, he was a certified firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.
Mr. Taylor was also knowledgeable about the American Civil War and World Wars I and II, frequently visiting battlefields in the United States and making a trip to Europe in 2004 to commemorate the 1914 Battle of the Ardennes.
He is survived by a daughter, Kate, from a marriage that ended in divorce in 1990. Also surviving are two brothers, retired US Army Lt Col Peter Taylor (Mary Jo) of Clarksburg, WV, and Anthony M. Taylor of Montrose, and a sister, Frances Evers (Patrick) of McKinney, TX, several nephews and nieces, and many friends and found family, including Bill, Kathy, and Ali Hamm of Olathe, and the Snyder family and particularly his “honorary kids,” as he called them, Richard and Sarah Snyder, of Falls Church.
Services for Mr. Taylor were held in Ouray, Colorado, at St Daniels Catholic Church on Friday, October 20, 2023. Inurnment followed at Grand View Cemetery in Montrose.