Christopher J. Taylor, born on 22 July, 1958 in Newmarket, passed away on 16 May, 2021, in Tarpon Springs, Florida. His remarkable life’s journey encompassed diverse professional roles: a dedicated constable in the London Metropolitan Police force; an accomplished local news reporter in Jackson, New Jersey and Watertown, New York; an empathetic elementary (primary) school teacher specializing in emotionally troubled and ESL students; and a compassionate cross-country medical transport driver for the elderly and terminally ill.
Chris, a naturalized US citizen since 2001, held a BA in Journalism, an MSc in Elementary Education, and an MEd in Educational Leadership. His love for life extended to his hobbies. He was an avid car enthusiast and a skilled renovator of antique cars and boats. He loved all animals, but his heart belonged to wire-haired fox terriers, of which he owned several.
In addition to his professional accomplishments, Chris was a devoted father, leaving an enduring legacy of love, guidance, and unwavering support for his daughters. Known for his infectious laugh and a great sense of humour, Chris had a remarkable ability to lighten any room he entered, leaving those around him with fond memories of shared laughter. His impact will forever be cherished by those he nurtured and inspired.
Chris was preceded in death by his sister Magdalen and parents Joan and Norman. He is survived by his wife Patricia, daughters Katherine and Helen, brother Nicholas, many nephews, niece Laura, and beloved dog Chip.
Words by Pat Taylor
Memories of Chris – by Jeremy Wilcock, North B 1972-74
My first memory of Chris was during our early time at The Leys in 1972. We were both in the ‘dunce’ streams or classes for most subjects, along with Simon Rata, Simon Tubbs and Steve Wilson, some of us having resat the Common Entrance exam in autumn 1971.
Whilst academia was not our forte, we all liked sports and our time at The Leys gave us plenty of opportunities for that. Chris was very happy doing the cross-country course, as long as he and Simon Tubbs could stop halfway round for a ‘ciggy’.
We were the only group who were so bad at French that we took CSE rather than GCE ‘O’ Level. However, this did not stop Chris and me having a great holiday in St Gervais, in the French Alps, when one summer, his parents, Norman and Joan, did a house swap with a French family. Chris and I had a self-contained basement area in the chalet and used to get drunk on cheap wine, usually after a family meal upstairs.
I left The Leys before entering the 6th Form, when my family moved overseas to Greece. I kept in touch with Chris and when I returned to the UK we continued to explore the numerous drinking establishments in and around Cambridge. Soon after this Chris also left The Leys and eventually joined the Army.
During this period Chris and I went on a number of youth hostelling walking holidays in Shropshire, one with our friend David Biggs. We had great fun, although I recall being shut out of the youth hostel in Clun, as we had stayed in the village pub after ‘lights out’ at 10pm!
On one of our several return visits to The Leys for Speech Day, our old friend Steve Wilson decided that he would do a streak (which was very popular at that time). He ran across the cricket pitch during a match and was chased into the tennis courts. We were waiting outside the gates with clothes and a getaway car, but he could not get out of the fenced area and was caught. We were all told that this was not the sort of thing Old Leysians did and that we had dishonoured the School. It was many years before we went back again.
Things moved on and both Chris and I got married, Chris to Pat and a year later me to Sue. Chris was my Best Man and was a wonderful support on the day.
Having left the Army and joined the Metropolitan Police, Chris kindly took my sister out for a drink, when she was considering a career in the Police, which she says helped her decide to join up. Chris was always happier trying to avoid crime happening, but was often told he needed to arrest more villains if he was to get on in his career; he was told that he was ‘too nice’ for the police force, as he had been previously in the Army!
Chris and Pat’s family moved to the USA in the late 1980s/early 1990s, although we always kept in touch and would get together whenever they visited the UK. We were always able to turn the clock back as if the intervening years had not happened.
My bitterest regret will be not making the journey across the Atlantic, particularly after Chris became ill with terminal cancer. We did however all have a short time together when his brother Nick rented a house at Ashwell, Hertfordshire, in autumn 2019. Despite being ill, Chris was on great form.
Chris passed away peacefully at home at the age of only 62; my 95 year old mother passed away the following day. It was not a good weekend.
Covid and other complications in the USA also prevented Chris’s last wish that following his cremation his ashes be interred with his mother’s at Little Wilbraham, where he had such happy memories growing up. He was finally interred last autumn at St John the Evangelist and he is remembered by a simple plaque close to the wall of the church:
Sleep well dear friend