This week I am going to ask for a little creative license. I ask because last week my grandfather, Bill Taylor, retired from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper after 73 years of dedicated service. That’s no typo folks: 73 years.
As I have considered his retirement over the last couple of weeks, it has been virtually impossible for me to look at my own business today and not see his influence. Not only does our real estate team bear his name, but it also bears his character and his standards.
Here is a little bit of his story. Bill Taylor grew up in Bearden, Ark., until he and his mom, moved to Little Rock when Bill was 12. He has always been an ambitious person and was taught not to be scared of a hard day’s work. Bill started at the Arkansas-Democrat at age 13 as a newspaper carrier and was married to my angel of a grandmother, Juanita Johnson, at the ripe old age of 16 on Christmas Eve 1944. Eventually they had six children including my dad, David Taylor. Papa Bill, as I call him, moved his way up the ladder at the Arkansas Democrat, which eventually merged with its competitor the Gazette, until he became the State Circulation Manager for the paper. Eventually he retired from that position to become the Gazette’s Credit Union President and treasurer.
Yes, my grandfather has worn many hats and has always gravitated towards leadership. In his leadership, however, he is a man of few words. I have never heard him say the quote, but I bet that he believes that “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. You should listen twice as much as you speak.” I haven’t quite perfected that one, and I am working on it daily.
As my wife, Leah, and I continue to grow our company and our business, we continue to focus on the standards that we believe in, many of which I learned from watching Papa Bill.
Instead of listing these standards, I would like to share with you some quotes from my grandfather’s co-workers that were recently cited in a commemorative edition of Between Editions, the Gazette’s employee newsletter.
- “Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty, and self-respect are the qualities which make a real gentleman. You are all of the above and will be greatly missed.” Debbie Chaney
- “Bill is someone I have great respect for. Honesty, humility, kindness and someone that leads by example come to mind when I think of him.” Shawn Synco
- “Mr. Taylor is the most sincere, compassionate person I have ever known. No matter how bleak the day is, I can always count on him to make me smile.” Joni Strike
- “About 25 years ago, when I was a young Zone Manager, I approached Mr. Taylor about a $5000.00 loan to help me purchase a fixer-upper house that I planned to convert into a rental property. He kindly explained that the Credit Union did not do real estate loans but that he would be willing to loan me the money personally! I was stunned and asked him, ‘Why would you do that Mr. Taylor?’ He explained that he had some money saved up and wouldn’t mind helping a young fellow like me. I was totally surprised that he offered to do that for me. The world needs more Mr. Taylors.” Ron Forrest.
The world does need more men and women like my grandfather. He is one of a kind.
Leah likes to tease that I will put my name on anything and that I get a kick out of seeing our name out in the community. And she is probably right, like she is most times. But there is more to it. I grew up very proud of my Taylor name and due to the high integrity of Papa Bill and my dad, I don’t take the responsibility lightly. So, yes, I am proud to see the Taylor-Made name around our city. However, I am more proud of the legacy behind the name and please know that some day when I choose to leave this wonderful business of real estate, I only hope to have such kind words said of me by our friends and clients.
I value our partnership with PVPost.com and I am proud to continue my family’s legacy in the “news business.” You see my grandmother, Juanita, went on to become a writer and the Religion editor for the Democrat-Gazette, so I share her passion for writing and am proud to follow in her footsteps.
Please know that when the time comes to hire a real estate team to help you with a home purchase or sale, our team will do its best to provide you with a level of service that Bill Taylor would be proud of.
Congratulations Papa Bill! Words cannot describe my level of pride.