Warren Fisher Taylor, Jr., 82, passed away in his sleep in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease Dec. 29, 2022, at the Williamsburg Village Healthcare Campus in DeSoto, Texas.
Warren, also known as Rip, Uncle Rip or Père to the many friends and family members he charmed over the decades, was born in Monroe, La. July 19, 1940 to Warren Fisher Taylor, Sr. and Margaret Louise deLaureal.
He is survived by his wife Virginia; his older sister Dr. Margaret Louise Wheat Carter of Natchitoches; his sons Mike, Jonathan and David and David’s wife Megumi; his grandchildren Atom Sasaki Taylor and Aqua Sasaki Taylor; his nephews R. David Wheat and his wife Terry; Dr. Patrick Wheat and his wife Shaun; Dr. Steven Wheat and his wife Lori, and niece Dr. Ashley Wheat Sipes and her husband Dr. Richard Sipes. In later life he also doted over Virginia’s extensive family network, including her eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
A devout Catholic and private, thoughtful man with a wide range of interests, Warren enjoyed travel, history, reading, computers, hiking and serving as a Boy Scouts leader, including jamborees and trips to Philmont.
As polite and unassuming as Warren was, “I don’t think I ever heard a swear word pass his lips,” recalls his nephew Pat, hardly a quick, occasionally mischievous smile hinted at hidden depths. Like the family tales of his rafting down the Ouachita River to the mighty Mississippi in his youth, or the time the Air Force tabbed him as the steady set of hands to rush to Guam to deactivate a malfunctioning nuclear munition in a B-52 bomber. (At least, that’s more or less how the family legend goes…)
That thread of adventure can be traced back to just a few months after his birth, when his father, a graduate of the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., was deployed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Fortunately Warren Sr. missed out on being bombed in the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941 thanks in part to his attendance at a party in town that night. A submarine specialist, he was subsequently assigned to Mare Island Sub Base in California until 1944, when he and Margaret, a high school French teacher from Broussard, La., returned to Monroe and he opened an insurance agency.
Warren Jr. attended St. Matthew’s Elementary and Neville High School, where he served as president of the student council. He would also become an Eagle Scout, a fine preparation for Air Force ROTC at Tulane University, where he was recognized as a distinguished military graduate as he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics.
Warren’s Air Force career included service as a nuclear weapons officer in the Strategic Air Command, and over his tenure he was assigned to Denver, Colo., Wurtsmith AFB in Michigan; Barksdale AFB back in Louisiana; Kirtland AFB and Sandia Lab in New Mexico as well as a stint in field command at the Defense Atomic Support Agency in Albuquerque.
His military service made good use of both his ferocious intellect and calm, cerebral temperament, as did the four-decade career with IBM that followed. His resilience was also grounded in painful loss. Warren married Donna Guyton in 1962 and they welcomed their son, Warren F. Taylor III (better known as Mike) into the world the following December. But Donna was killed in an automobile accident a few months later. If Warren harbored any bitterness about that tragedy, he kept it incredibly well hidden, preferring a positive outlook on life and a deep faith in a familiar God. His son David remembered being struck by his father’s response when he confessed his “hatred” of an unkind grade-school classmate making his life unpleasant at school.
“‘You must never hate anyone – you can hate what they do, but not the person,’” David recalls Warren telling him. “That really hit home.”
Warren remarried to Lillian Ryan, mother of his sons Jonathan and David, in 1968, and resigned from the Air Force to join IBM in New Orleans, specializing in computerized typesetting and enterprise architecture. That work took him to points as far afield as South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Venezuela, offering cultural and interpersonal experiences he profoundly cherished.
Yet even after myriad personal and professional travels and constant trips to see the children, grandchildren and step-grandchildren scattered across the continent in his retirement, Warren remained a proud Louisianan. He spent much of his adult life in Natchitoches, particularly after marrying Virginia in 2001, and was active in his local Rotary Club from 2002-15.
A visitation will be from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Jan.12 at Jaynes Memorial Chapel, 811 S. Cockrell Hill Road, Duncanville, Texas. A memorial takes place at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 1111 W. Danieldale Road, Duncanville, Texas, followed by a graveside service at 1 p.m. at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, Texas.
Memorials in lieu of flowers may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the DFW Veterans Cemetery or Wreaths Across America.