John P. "Jack" Taylor, a Santa Rosa stockbroker for half a century and a life of the party who relished sharing his critiques of hospital cafeteria food, died Wednesday.
Taylor served many terms on the city's Recreation and Parks Commission and counted among his favorite pursuits international and U.S. travel, golf, tennis, leisure time with his large family, oral history interviews of fellow old-time Santa Rosans and the collegiality of the private Wild Oak Saddle Club. He was 89.
The World War II veteran was one of Santa Rosa's best known and most experienced investment advisers when he retired in 1997 from A.G. Edwards. A Press Democrat story recounting his long and productive career noted that he'd watched the Dow Jones Industrial Average climb from about 200 points to nearly 7,000.
The day he died at his Santa Rosa home, it closed at 16,518.
Taylor was a successful man who enjoyed helping others to succeed. He also was pre-Google storehouse of information on stocks, bonds, intriguing domestic and foreign destinations, random knowledge and the best and worst hospital grub.
"He had a phenomenal memory," said longtime friend Henry Trione. "I called him Mr. Encyclopedia."
Jim Codding met Taylor shortly after he came to Santa Rosa in 1949 to go into the stocks-and-bonds business with his father, John J. Taylor.
"He gave more to everyone than he ever asked for in return," Codding said.
"He was a wonderful friend and a great storyteller. I think he made up a lot of stories as he went along, but they were always entertaining."
Codding is grateful also to Taylor for teaching him to play dominoes, though "it was an expensive education."
John Purser Taylor was born in San Francisco in 1924. His mother, Helen Mary Purser Taylor, was a Healdsburg native and a niece of Sarah Henrietta Purser, the acclaimed Irish artist.
Jack Taylor graduated from San Francisco's Lowell High School in 1942 and enrolled at Santa Clara University. After a year he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to the Pacific with the 1475th Engineering Maintenance Company.
At war's end he returned to San Francisco and soon married Aubrey Adair Diplock. They had three children.
Taylor found work digging ditches and laying pipe. He told an interviewer in 1997 that while toiling for a buck and a quarter an hour, "I decided that maybe I hadn't learned all there was to know, so I went back to school."
He studied for three years at the University of San Francisco. His father helped him to earn a few bucks by hooking him up with a job as a runner at the San Francisco brokerage house of Conrad Bruce & Co.
That was his introduction to the securities trade. In 1949, upon graduating from USF, Taylor moved to Santa Rosa and went with his father to the Santa Rosa office of the brokerage firm First California Co.
Taylor became a Santa Rosa stockbroker in the company of Al Maggini and the late Leonard Talbot. He would recall selling his first shares of stock to a woman who lived on Hoen Avenue, then thinking about her for decades every time he drove past her house.
In 1957, the Santa Rosa City Council appointed Taylor to the Recreation and Parks Commission. He served for 17 years.