Harry Allen Taylor
July 30, 1941 - June 2, 2024

 

Harry Taylor passed away peacefully on June 2, 2024, at the age of 82 following a long battle with dementia. He was the cherished husband of Georgene (nee LaMere) of Zephyrhills, FL, dearly loved father of Robert (Judy Sutton Taylor) of Chicago and Cindy Lillge (Ben) of Appleton, WI, and adored grandfather of Samuel Lillge, Taylor Lillge, Samara Taylor, and Gabriel Taylor.

Harry was born in L’Anse, Michigan on July 30, 1941. He was an Army veteran who was honorably discharged in 1966 before getting a bachelor’s degree in education at Northern Michigan University in 1968.

In 1966, he married Gene, who would be the love of his life for 58 years. Though they remained Yoopers at heart, the couple moved to Appleton, WI in 1969, where they raised Robert and Cindy in a home they built with their own hands and filled with love and laughter – and occasionally pasties from the U.P.

Harry taught business education and at-risk students at Appleton East High School from 1969-1996. He coached lots of teams, including boys’ golf and boys’ and girls’ soccer – he liked to repeatedly remind his family that he was named Soccer Coach of the Year in 1984. He also volunteered as a teacher-facilitator for many student-driven events and clubs. Harry was the popular teacher all the students knew and loved, whether they were in his classes or not. He cared deeply about their success and regularly went the extra mile to help them achieve it. After retiring, Harry proudly boasted that every single one of the students he had during his 27-year tenure had graduated.

“Retirement” was busy for Harry: He moved with Gene to Betmar Acres in Zephyrhills, FL, to care for his aging mother and in-laws and continued his volunteering legacy, serving as park president and helping with security, facilities management, and just about anything else that needed to be done around the property.

Harry was the kind of friend everyone wants – one you can count on anytime, anywhere. An older neighbor in Betmar asked the community newspaper to write a story about Harry because she was so fond of him. “If I get scared, day or night, all I have to do is call Harry. He comes right over,” she said. “He goes over my golf cart every year to make sure it’s safe, and when I’ve had car trouble, I just call and he comes right away. He’s right there to take care of anything I need. I don’t know what I’d do without him.”

Harry’s warmth and generosity were boundless. Known for his quick wit and ability to put people at ease, it wasn’t long before you found yourself laughing when you were in Harry’s presence. He loved his tuxedo t-shirt, and he’d never let on if he didn’t know the answer to a question – he’d make just make something up. He gladly rose to any occasion, taking on whatever role was needed. More than once when his son and daughter-in-law were weary with exhaustion after having twins, Harry and Georgene flew to Chicago to give them a much-needed respite – jumping in to care for two babies and five pets, with Harry giving them a smile and a wave while gently pushing them out the door.

Harry was generous with his time and his personality. He had a sharp wit and was a wicked cribbage player. Even 30 years after moving to Zephyrhills, whenever Harry and Gene visited Appleton, the Lillges knew they’d be stopped when they went out by someone who knew him: former students, teachers, athletes. Every. Single. Time.

It’s these fond memories of a generous, happy life that his family cherishes.

Harry was preceded in death by his parents, Nathan W. Taylor and Louise M. Taylor, and brothers Nathan Taylor and James Taylor.

His family would like to expressly thank the wonderful staff at Compass Rose of Zephyrhills Memory Care for their care and support. In lieu of flowers, Harry’s family suggests a donation to a memory care charity or facility of your choosing. Celebration of life events will be planned for later this year in both Appleton and Zephyrhills.


2 Comments

  • David Mayefski Posted June 7, 2024 4:03 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Harry was my study hall supervisor. He was an amazing man. Lots of his former students are paying their respects on Facebook and praying for the family.

  • Kathy Cowling Posted June 7, 2024 4:59 pm

    He was an awesome teacher. Always smiling and encouraging you. I had him for DECCA. I am so sorry for your loss class of 1976


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