Dr. Richard F. “Dick” Taylor, 81, of Fayette, MO passed Sunday, February 4, 2018, at his home.
Visitation will be Wednesday, February 7 from 4 pm to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Fayette, MO. Funeral service will be Thursday, February 8 at 11:00 am at First Baptist Church with Reverends James Briggs and Nate Kohl officiating. Interment will follow at Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Fayette. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to the First Baptist Church of Fayette, MO 4-H Foundation, or MU College of Veterinary Medicine in care of Friemonth-Freese Funeral Service, 174 Hwy. 5 & 240 N., Fayette, MO 65248.
Dick, otherwise known as “Doc Taylor” to most, loved a good story. He loved to listen to stories, tell them and write them, many times as poetry to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of others. But the story he loved most was that of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He believed what Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Dick strived to live the story of his own life in a Christ-like manner, always a Nurturer and Healer, for the glory of God. He loved community theatre, but those who knew the heart of Dick would say he, like Paul in Galatians 1:10, truly had an audience of One with his life’s goal to “be a servant of Christ.” He went where he was needed. His daily actions of truth to God’s Word were intended to demonstrate the singular important work of pleasing God in every aspect of life. God used “Doc Taylor” to help those he encountered recognize their own God-given gifts that each might grow to prosper in following God’s will in faith, family, work, and leisure.
What follows is the story of a man who by his own words would state these accomplishments on earth are insignificant but for any and all glory that can be brought to God by way of them.
Born to Willie Ben (Maupin) Taylor and Richard Taylor on May 5, 1936, Dick was raised on a farm outside of Shelbina, MO. Graduating from Shelbina High School in 1954, he entered Mizzou and pledged FarmHouse Fraternity. At the University of Missouri, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1962, earning membership in the honoraries of Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Zeta, and Gamma Sigma Delta.
He was united in marriage to Joyce Lee Thoeni on September 3, 1960, and blessed with 57 years of life together. As a member of Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, MO, he was ordained as a deacon in 1961. The couple moved to Fayette where he established a large and small animal practice in 1962. He partnered with Dr. Ken Vroman for over 40 years at the Howard County Veterinary Service, P.C. until his retirement on June 1, 2012.
Dick served his profession through: MO Veterinary Medical Association (Delegate to AVMA and State President); MO Veterinary Medical Academy (Charter Member and President); MU College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association (President and Committee on Admissions and Scholarship); MO Veterinary Medical Foundation Board (Charter Member); MO Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (Chairman); and Professional Veterinary Products, Ltd. (Charter Member). He was honored as MO Veterinarian of the Year, National Swine Practitioner of the Year, and MU College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year.
Dick’s civic leadership began early in life when he traveled to Switzerland with International Youth Exchange. Later, he served on the Fayette R-3 Board of Education (President) and in various 4-H roles where he was recognized as Friend of 4-H, MO 4-H Hall of Fame, and Bridge Builder. In addition, he was named Honorary Chapter Farmer with FFA.
His service spanned many organizations including Fayette Round Table, Lions Club, Howard Electric Cooperative, and Hometown Homecare. He enjoyed serving others at the Food Pantry and as an Ombudsman with Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging. At the First Baptist Church of Fayette, he served as a deacon, Sunday School Director, and Christian confidante and teacher to many. He was a member of Boonslick Gideon Camp. He also enjoyed acting in community theatre and writing poetry for special occasions and people.
Dick has been described as a quiet but incredibly powerful man who rarely was the first to speak, a man who listened to others intently, a man who demonstrated a compassion and understanding that changed people forever, a man who was serious about every conversation and act but who nonetheless left you with his smiling eyes, hearty laugh, and happy soothing voice.
Dick is survived by his wife and their three children and spouses: Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight (Doug) of Lenexa, KS, Richard F. “Rick” Taylor, Jr. (Stacy) of Columbia, MO, and Lisa Jan Taylor Crandall (Charles) of Ashland, MO.
He is survived by six grandchildren, each of whom he loved and prayed over: Luke and Alex Knight; Serena Williams, Shayla and Tré Taylor; and Taylor Crandall.
He is also survived by his sister, Elizabeth Wilt (Bill) of Kansas City, MO; brother-in-law, Dr. John Perry (Joan) of Brookfield, MO; four nieces and one nephew; and many great-nieces and nephews.
Dick is preceded in death by his parents; sister, Charlotte Perry; and niece, Sandra (Wilt) Bowser.