A Life Lived: Lew Taylor enjoyed his family, golf, and teaching

Published 8:28 am Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Lew Taylor’s oldest granddaughter when she was a baby refused to call him “Pappy.” Instead she called him “Happy.”

His son, Tripp, said the name stuck and, aptly so, as Lew was a very happy person, who laughed a lot, and enjoyed life.

Lew grew up in Elizabethton, the son of the late George and Clara Reeves Taylor. He was a Hall of Fame athlete at Elizabethton High School and Milligan College, where he played baseball. However, his first love was golf — a game his mother and dad played and his sister, as well. “They practically lived on the Elizabethton Golf Course,” said Lew’s wife, Ruthann, who described herself as a “golf widow” much of the time.

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“He was a good golfer in his earlier days,” said Ruthann, who noted their grandson, Jace Devault, who lives in Knoxville, is a pro golfer.

Lew after high school attended college and received his law degree. For a brief time he served as juvenile judge in Carter County, but spent most of his career, 40 years, working in the insurance industry in the legal department.

Lew’s son described his father as a “quiet person and a very devout Christian.” At the time of his death Lew was a member of Central Christian Church in Bristol. He had served the church as an elder and Sunday School teacher. “He enjoyed teaching. Everywhere we lived, he taught Sunday School,” said Ruthann, who noted that some of his favorite scriptures were in the Book of John.

The Taylors had lived in several different states because of his work, but retired to Bristol 18 years ago.

Lew after retirement was a substitute teacher in the Bristol School System for about 14 years. In addition to his love of teaching, he enjoyed the interaction with the kids.

Lew and Ruthann had been married 60 years when he died Nov. 17. Together, they had four children: Debbie, Beck, Amy, and Tripp. Additionally, there are seven grandchildren. “Lew enjoyed being with his family. He always enjoyed having the kids and grandkids around. It was great watching him interact with them,” said Ruthann.

She noted that one of the last things he was able to do was to attend the wedding Oct. 25 of his grandson. “He had to do it in a wheelchair, but I’m very thankful he was able to do it,” Ruthann shared.

“Lew was a very quiet person. He worked hard, provided for his family. He was a good father and grandfather, and friend to so many. He loved the Lord and his church. He was a happy man,” said Ruthann in summing up her husband’s life.

Lew was 80 years old when he died.

Sometimes, it’s not the titles or the accomplishments one acquires in life, but it’s the little things that matter. As Winnie the Pooh says, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.”

That was so of George Lewis “Lew” Taylor.