CNHI News Service
Saturday, October 5, 2013 —
May 29, 1947-Sept. 29, 2013
Michael William Taylor passed away on September 29, 2013.
He was born on May 29, 1947, in Little Rock, Ark., to the late Orville Walters Taylor and Evelyn Adele Bonham Taylor, who survives.
At the age of 8, Michael moved to Iwo, Nigeria, with his parents, who were Southern Baptist Missionaries. He attended Newton Memorial School in Oshogbo, Nigeria.
After his parents returned to the United States, Michael graduated from Lee Edwards High School, Asheville, N.C.
Michael attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1964 to 1969, where he majored in Classics. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Naval ROTC and received the Eben Alexander Prize in Greek. He spent his Junior year in Paris studying at the Sorbonne.
Upon graduation, Michael entered the Navy and served as a Naval Historian in Vietnam. Later in the war, he became a translator for Naval operations in Cambodia, embedded with local Cambodian forces, and earned, among other decorations, the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor Device and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He reached the rank of Lieutenant.
Michael entered Harvard University in 1971 and earned a Master’s Degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Classics, setting the record for the fastest ever completion of this degree. He was an archaeologist and dug in Greece and Cyprus. His PhD thesis was about the slaying of tyrants oppressing the Greek people in 5th Century B.C. Athens and about how civil religion was created and maintained.
Michael entered UNC Law School in 1975, where he met his wife, Susan Chandler. They married August 14, 1977.
After graduation from law school in 1978, Michael worked as a clerk for Judge Frank Parker of the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In 1981, Michael and Susan moved to Susan’s hometown of Albemarle, N.C., where Michael practiced law until 2013. He was also of counsel to the law firm Parker, Poe, Adams and Bernstein, LLP.
Michael had a deep faith in Jesus Christ, and worked to serve God throughout his whole life. He served as a deacon at Yates Baptist Church, Durham, N.C.; North Albemarle Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church, Albemarle and taught Sunday School for more than 20 years.
From 1986 to 1990 he served as a parliamentarian at the annual session of the N.C. Baptist State Convention. He served eight years on the General Board of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.
A favorite passage of his was Amos chapter five, verse 24: “Let justice run down like waters and righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream.” He believed deeply in justice.
He was a great reader whose hunger for books and knowledge was never ending. Michael published numerous articles and four books: The Tyrant Slayers; The Cry Is War, War, War; To Drive the Enemy From Southern Soil; and Tar Heels: How North Carolinians Got Their Nickname. He was a well-known historian who explored justice and right use of power and government.
Michael was active in Democratic Party politics, serving as the Chairman of the Stanly County, N.C. Democratic Party from 1993 to 1994 and as the Democratic nominee for Congress in North Carolina’s Eighth District in 1998 and 2000. He received the Chairman’s Award from the North Carolina Democratic Party in 1995.
Michael was blessed with many friends and family. There was never any challenge to his love for his family. He stood by his family and worked for them even unto the last day of his life. He was a loving person, a person who was fascinated by the world and was greatly beloved by his wife and three children, who survive him.
He is survived by his wife, Susan; three children, William, Vivian Samuel and John; his mother, Evelyn; three sisters, Priscilla Shisler, Melissa Schmidt and Penelope Pullen; two brothers-in-law, Mark Shisler and Gerald Pullen; sister-in-law, Jane Davis; four nephews and three nieces.
A Memorial Service will be on Saturday, October 5, 2013, at 2 p.m. at University Baptist Church, 100 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill, N.C.
Memorials may be made to Michael and Susan Taylor Classics Fund, University of North Carolina Department of Classics, CB# 3145, Murphey Hall, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3145; Stanly Community Christian Ministry, PO Box 58, Albemarle, NC 28002; Walking in Love Ministries, PO Box 2249, Forney, Texas 75126; and Nigeria Faithful Works, 2513 Buckingham Drive, Heath, Texas 75032.