James Taylor of Caledonia died peacefully on November 29, 2019 after a short illness while surrounded by family. He was proud to have reached his ninth decade like his mother and grandmother before him. He was predeceased by his parents Austin and Lena, his brother George, and his loving wife of 48 years, Evelyn. Jim, as everyone knew him, is survived by his brother Don (Grace), children Nancy (Travis), Barbara (Rod), and Matthew (Meredith), and grandchildren Alec, Nick, Aidan, Cuyler, Kinzie, Brynna, Austin, Adelaide, Holland Kate, and Hayes. Jim had many nieces and nephews as well. He greatly enjoyed having nieces Annie Turner and Alice Barefoot at the house every school day for many years. He was grateful to be able to stay in his home until his last illness with help from Helen and Fred Dole, Lisa and Scott Barefoot, and Sue Carlock. Jim had many friends who made his days bright in his later years: Don and Ruthie Coyle, Robert and Pat Hassett, Bill Carr, Jimmy Husted, George Crawford, Dave Nusbickel, and Chris Wood. The family gives thanks to all the people who supported him as things got more challenging: Craig Howe, Cathy Davis, Sharleen Carnes, Sandy Bickford, Martha Keenan, Molly Coyle, and Laurie Trayhen. Finally, thanks to Charlie and Phyllis Hackett who introduced Jim and Evelyn many years ago.
Jim was born in 1929, shortly after the start of the Great Depression. He grew up learning the values of family, supporting each other in the community, and being thrifty with money. He lived these values throughout his life. Jim and Evelyn found each other later in life and it was clear to all they were soulmates. They worked hard to ensure their children were able to go to college and to help them when needed after that with advice, and a hand to fix or install something. Jim drove a long haul truck for many years, and at one point had the only phone in his neighborhood. Good neighbor that he was, he left his door unlocked so his neighbors could use the phone. Jim was a lifelong learner and people would remark to him that he should go on Jeopardy because he ALWAYS knew the final answer. He taught his children to think and that they could figure out just about anything if they tried and so they have. Jim gave up his trucking business to be more available for his family in the mid 1970’s and taught himself all the trades: plumbing, heating, electrical, air conditioning and even some general contracting. He could be counted on for good service, a fair price, and if you were so inclined, a visit before he left. Jim was a dedicated member of the community, making sure the churches in Caledonia all had heat on Sunday mornings for many years. At an age when many people are slowing down, he became an active Rotarian and spent many weekends working the roller skating parties in town. He was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow and for his lifetime achievement in Rotary. At the time of his death, he was a proud and active member of the Genesee Valley Rotary Camp Board of Directors, a camp for children with challenges. Jim’s message to the world was more about what he did than what he said and he leaves a fine legacy for us all of generosity, quiet dignity, and service to others.
Plans for a service will be shared at a future date. Donations may be made in Jim’s honor to the Genesee Valley Rotary Camp: GVRC c/o Ernie Wiard, 15 Halbar Road, Avon NY 14414.