Sunday, July 30, 2017

They don't make them like this any more.

Rowan Hurt Taylor died Tuesday, July 18, 2017.   The son of Lillie Belle Rowan and Oscar Bomar Taylor, Rowan was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on January 13, 1925.

Rowan was a graduate of the Jackson public schools. He attended Power School, Bailey Junior High (designed by the father of his friend Bob Overstreet), and Central High School. For an interval during the Great Depression, he was a student in Washington D.C., where his father was general counsel for the Home Owners' Loan Corporation. In D.C., he was lucky to see an FDR inaugural parade from a window in the Willard Hotel restaurant and to attend many a Washington Senators baseball game. Eventually, he studied as an undergraduate at Mississippi State University, where he had the experience of living in "Old Main."

As soon as he was old enough after the outbreak of World War II, Rowan volunteered for service in the U.S. Navy and trained as an officer at the midshipman's school in Chicago. He then served on a destroyer escort in the Pacific and, as a radar officer, helped his shipmates to survive kamikaze attacks.

After the war, Rowan returned home, married, and became the father of two children, Rowan Jr. and Julie. Having received a degree in physics from Mississippi College, Rowan later earned a J.D. from the Jackson School of Law.

He spent his professional life at Mississippi Valley Title, where he became Chairman and CEO after his father retired from those positions. From the start, Rowan was both a business and community leader. He was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of Trustmark Bank, Sanderson Farms, and St. Dominic Health Services. He served as chairman or president of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Association, the Jackson Junior Bar Association, the Jackson Metropolitan YMCA, the Country Club of Jackson, the United Way of Jackson, the Capital City Commission, and the Mississippi chapter of the Nature Conservancy. Rowan was a founding member of Covenant Presbyterian Church and chaired the Building Commission for the beautiful structure that became its home on Ridgewood Road.

Rowan was deeply grateful for his education in public schools and devoted his time and talents to education in his native city and native state. He served on the Education Committee of the Jackson Chamber of Commerce in 1968-69 and was chosen for the ten-person committee designated to develop a desegregation plan for the Jackson Public Schools. The resultant plan, presented to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, was approved and implemented. Rowan later became Chairman of the Board of the Jackson Public School system. Subsequently, he was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the State Board of Education and then to fill a full eight-year term on that board, which he would go on to chair. In addition to working for grades K-12, Rowan devoted time to institutions of higher learning, serving on the Board of Trustees of Millsaps College and on the Board of Directors for the Development Foundation of Mississippi State University.

Rowan's love of education made him an avid reader of eclectic texts and took him back to the classroom periodically, both throughout his career and after his retirement. He received an M.B.A. from Mississippi College in 1975 and an M.A. in History from Mississippi State University in 1998. He also participated in Leadership Seminars in the Humanities at Millsaps College and met his second wife (Suzanne Marrs) when he took one of those seminars from her.

Rowan was an avid fan of Mississippi State University baseball, bringing Suzanne into the fold, and they enjoyed following the Bulldogs at Dudy Noble Field, at SEC venues, in Hawaii, and on trips to the College World Series. In his fifties Rowan became a marathon runner and went on to complete twenty-six marathons, including five London Marathons, three New York Marathons, five New Orleans Marathons, and five Mississippi Marathons. Rowan's life was enriched by music, particularly popular music from the thirties and forties, and he loved the companionship of his two dogs, both Shelties.

He enjoyed travel and sought to introduce his children and grandchildren to that same pleasure, taking them on trips to New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Mexico, England, and Starkville. He took a float trip down the Snake River and made, along with close friends, fishing trips to the north woods of Minnesota and the Gulf waters of Florida and Louisiana. He took flying lessons and became an instrument-rated pilot. He participated in tours of old ballparks led by Smithsonian guides, and he joined Suzanne on travels to academic conferences in this country and abroad, introducing her to new places along the way. During the last months of his life, travel was no longer possible, but he lived contentedly at the Siena Center in St. Catherine's Village, the beneficiary of loving and devoted care.

Rowan's honors are numerous and include being named: Mississippi College Alumnus of the Year, Mississippi College School of Law Alumnus of the Year, National Multiple Sclerosis Humanitarian of the Year, one of the ten outstanding graduates of the Jackson Public School system selected in 1992, a Fellow of the Mississippi Bar Association, and Honorary Doctor of Public Service by Millsaps College.

The greatest joys of his life were undoubtedly the family and friends to whom he was devoted and who were devoted to him. He is survived by his wife Suzanne Marrs; by his son Rowan H. Taylor, Jr. (Connie) and his daughter Julie Spurlin (Paul); by his grandchildren Katie Taylor, Rowan H. Taylor III (Anna), Mandy Russell (Jonathan), and Suzy Myers (Chris); and by seven great-grandchildren.


Anonymous said...

The model of a life well lived.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of Tom Brokaw but I am glad that he gave my parents generation the title of 'The Greatest Generation'. They earned it. As they fade into history they will forever be known as The Greatest Generation.
Mr. Taylor was one of millions who made a real difference in the world.

Anonymous said...

Not being a Jackson native long-time resident, I am not familiar with Mr Rowan, but boy, what a life! What he accomplished! What a difference he made in so many ways! Thanks for printing this.

P.S. a good education helps spark inquisitiveness; a poor education leaves one in the dust.

Anonymous said...

He was a great friend of my parents for over 50 years. He will be missed. Sweet sweet man.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi needs more people like this.

Anonymous said...

He loved trans.....ams

Anonymous said...

Old Rosenblatt Stadium in the background.

Anonymous said...

He was definitely from and a prime example of our greatest generation. RIP hero.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

That's just a monument to the old Rosenblatt stadium. It's no longer there.

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss needs boosters like him!

Anonymous said...

I'd rather die in the European Theater any day rather than be born a millennial and live to be in my 90's. Oh well, it's the cards we're dealt.

Of Princes and Knights.. said...

Seems to have been admirably involved in a lot of charitable and worthy causes in his elder years. Also seems to have lived off his daddy's legacy for fifty or more years. Where he went to high school, who his daddy was and what positions his daddy held and the fact that he witnessed a parade and lived in Old Main (like every other male who attended Mississippi A&M) and that he joined the Navy are rather uneventful. Then he followed his daddy as a business CEO in the same building. Seems to have bordered on royalty. I'm sure he was a real nice man and a great family man who reached out and touched lives. Reading this I'm almost reminded of the Kennedys and young Jack. I did not have the honor of knowing him and would like to have, I guess, and thanks for giving us our 'silver spoon' lesson for the week.

Anonymous said...

7:04 am Mr. Taylor didn't need a silver spoon to succeed and many would question whether he'd qualify for the "silver spoon set".
He was a gentleman and a scholar who believed he should do his duty and try to make things better than he found them. He was smart enough to know that works better for all of us. He worked hard and took the tasks he was given seriously. He believed if you agreed to take on responsibility, you should do your best.
I feel privileged to have crossed his path in life.
The lesson of his life that honorable achievers who are not self centered have a fully successful life and don't just make money. They earn loyalty and respect rather than demand it.

J. Morton Matrick said...

Rowan was a great Boss, a wonderful friend and a person that everyone admired. I am fortunate to have known such a great person. He cared about people, especially those he worked with. I do not have sufficient words to tell you what he meant to me. To me, he was like a father, a brother or a closest friend. Someone you could rely on. He was honest, hard working and willing to give of himself for the greater good. He will be missed by all who knew him and for me, his passing leaves an empty spot that will never be filled. Since his retirement, I have missed his counsel, his friendship and his just being there.

Anonymous said...

In all my dealings with him, he was a kind man and one of the most brilliant real estate lawyers I have ever known.

Fine Print on The Hud 101 said...

In a real estate transaction, if you're not screwing somebody or getting screwed, of what value is a brilliant real-estate lawyer?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS