The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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October 3, 2013

Mike Taylor, a man of many talents, dies at 66

Thursday, October 3, 2013 — Someone could write a book about the life and numerous interests of Mike Taylor.

Veteran. Attorney. Author. Archaelogist. Historian. Candidate. Father. Husband.

These are just a few of the titles attained by Taylor, who died Saturday at his home at the age of 66.

Taylor, who moved to his wife Susan’s hometown of Albemarle in 1981, practiced law throughout the county until early this year. He had served as attorney for many civic and elected bodies, including the county commission and the town of Stanfield.

A Democrat, Taylor made two attempts for the U.S. House seat occupied by Republican Robin Hayes of Concord, losing by less than 3,500 votes in his first opportunity in 1998. During the second try in 2000 he lost 44 percent to 55 percent.

“Mike was a wonderful individual. He gave his all no matter what he did,” said fellow Democrat Sherrill Smith.

Attorney Charles Brown said Taylor had “a brilliant legal mind” and “superb analytical skills.”

“Michael Taylor was certainly a credit to our profession,” Brown said.

“Michael Taylor was truly a respected attorney, professional in every manner. Michael was dependable. He did a mighty fine job of looking after his clients.

“Michael had an excellent grasp on administrative law.”

Administrative law deals with issues pertaining to city and county cases, one recent example being the lawsuit with Alcoa.

Taylor served on the law team for the county for a period of time.

“Every time I ever dealt with him he was seeking the very best for the people of Stanly County,” County Commissioner Lindsay Dunevant said.

“He certainly has been missed and will be missed from Stanly County.”

Outside of law, one of his favorite interests was of historical nature.

He wrote four books, including a compilation of Civil War letters from the region.

“He was a brilliant man, and very well versed in Civil War history, not just in battles, but what was going on on the homefront,” said Jonathan Underwood, director of the Stanly County Museum.

“He laid an excellent groundwork for future research.

“A wealth of knowledge, he was so good at piecing so many aspects of history together.”

Roger Thomas, executive director of Stanly Community Christian Ministry, became introduced to Taylor when Thomas became senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Albemarle 10 years ago.

“Mike and his wife Susan were the best kind of church members, always supportive, always encouraging, always affirming,” Thomas wrote in a piece published on thesnaponline.com.

“Mike was a very astute man; he observed the world around him with great clarity.  I have no doubt that he had a crystal clear perception of all my flaws and shortcomings, and yet, he always focused on my strengths.  His Christ-like compassion called him to affirm me and my ministry often and for that I will forever be in his debt.”

Thomas further talked of how he and Taylor became friends and would often dine together.

“Those who knew Mike knew of his great intellect. Whenever I was leaving the church office to walk to Mike’s law practice across North Street, I would always say to the secretary, ‘It is time for the Town Genius and the Village Idiot to have lunch.’ She knew that Mike was for the former and I was the latter,” Thomas said.

I was often confused why someone so brilliant would want to dine with me, but for whatever reason, he did. I cherish my memories of those lunches, and more than that I cherish the thought that Mike wanted to dine with someone vastly intellectually inferior. His friendship was a precious gift.”

A memorial service for Taylor will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at University Baptist Church, 100 S. Columbia St., Chapel Hill.

To submit story ideas, contact B.J. Drye at (704) 982-2121 ext. 25 or bj@stanlynewspress.com.           

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