Obituary of John Stuart Taylor
A resident of Rondeau, John passed away peacefully at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at the age of 71. Born in Chatham, son of the late Stuart and Jennie (Maxwell) Taylor. Husband of the late Mary Taylor (May 26, 1991). Devoted father to Emily Taylor (Jeremiah Smith). Dear brother to Richard Taylor (Arlene) and brother-in-law to Vera Jamnisek (late Ivan) and Mark Smrdell (Martha). Loving Uncle to Lisa Taylor-Figaro, Jennifer Taylor-Forbes (Ryan), Sonja Blas (Stan), Erica Semen (Thomas), Steven Jamnisek (Natalie), Andrea Jamnisek, and Jeff Smrdell (Sara). Fondly remembered by several great nieces and nephews. Sadly missed by close cousins Judy Jack (Dennis), Gary Bray (Sue), Dale Bray (Kathy) and MarySue Meredith.
A native of Ridgetown, John received a degree in Geography and Cartography from Waterloo Lutheran University and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Western Ontario. Over his 30-year teaching career, John touched the lives of many. Beginning at Wheatley Area Public School, John and life-long friend, Linda Henderson put on many theatrical productions and assemblies and made a close connection to the small town. While teaching at WAPS, John met and married his beloved wife, Mary. John continued his teaching career at Thamesville Area Central School and retired from Ridgetown Public School in 2003.
An enthusiast of architecture, both traditional and modern, John was a long-time member of both the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and the Chatham-Kent Municipal Heritage Committee. In this role, he actively pursued the designation and preservation of countless historic homes and landmarks within Chatham Kent.
A proud thespian and lover of the dramatic arts, John appeared alongside Daniel Day Lewis in the 1992 blockbuster film The Last of the Mohicans as an extra. He was responsible for the beautiful set designs and backdrops used in many of Ridge Players’ Productions. Actively involved in community history, John portrayed many local historical figures during the Kent Historical Society’s Spirit Walks.
John was a purveyor of living history. Travelling across Canada, the United States and even Belgium, he, along with fellow members of the Kent Military Re-enactment Society spent many a weekend setting up 1812 encampments and skirmishing on battlefields.
John was a selfless professional volunteer during his retirement, devoting countless hours of his time to local causes and committees. He was a founder of the Ridgetown Rejuvenation Committee and taught ways of the pioneers during Harvest Days at the Ridgetown Agricultural College. He dedicated time to the Friends of Rondeau and Friends of the Ridgetown Library. John was recognized with awards for his outstanding service by the Retired Teachers of Ontario and Lambton Kent Agriculture in the Classroom.
John somehow found time for many hobbies aside from his volunteer work. Channeling his inner Julia Child, John was a master of all things in the kitchen. He was an avid collector of historic artifacts and memorabilia pertaining to firefighting and the American West. An accomplished scuba diver, he and his dear friend Dean Lundstrom, explored the underwater world from local Great Lakes’ shipwrecks to California’s kelp forests, and as far away as the icy waters of Finland. Travelling the world via cruise ship, plane, train and automobile, John had the opportunity to visit over 40 countries with his best friends as travel companions. John owned a spectacular hat collection which he presented to local classrooms, clubs, and organizations across Ontario.
Most of all John enjoyed raising, educating, and cherishing time with his daughter, Emily, and their beloved West Highland Terrier, Ollie. John spent countless hours gardening, decorating, and entertaining in his dream home that he built with his wife, Mary, in the Bates Subdivision outside Rondeau Park.
John will be greatly missed by his family and friends from every corner of the world.
Cremation has taken place with a private family memorial service to be held at Trinity Anglican Church Cemetery at a later date.
Donations to the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Foundation or the Canadian Lung Association would be greatly appreciated.
Online condolences may be left at www.mckinlayfuneralhome.com