James Franklin Taylor was born May 4, 1928 in Ida Grove, to Samuel and Clara (Hazen) Taylor. An only child, Jim was raised on a farm and attended school in Early.
Athletic, Jim played basketball and baseball in high school but never the sport which he truly loved, football. Prior to entering college, Jim proudly served his country in the United States Army. A graduate of Wayne State College, Jim began his legendary teaching and coaching career in Crofton, Neb. where he met the love of his life, Lois Robinson. Success continued with his marriage to Lois in 1956, the birth of his first three children, teaching and mentoring high school students, and numerous victories and championships in basketball, track, and, of course, football.
Jim continued these traditions, yes, ALL of them (including four more children), when he and his family moved to O'Neill, Neb. where he taught and coached from 1963-68. After achieving his Master's degree in education from the University of South Dakota, Jim was hired as principal in Schaller. He also taught algebra, nurtured his own children in academics and athletics, and added one last child. Jim took over the Schaller football program in 1972 and ended his coaching career with a total of 225 wins versus 108 losses. He was rewarded with induction into the Iowa Coaches Hall of Fame in 1997. After a total of forty-four years, Jim finished his career in education earning the 25-year Achievement Award as an Iowa high school administrator and retired in 1993.
An avid sports fan (especially the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs), avid cyclist (28 RAGBRAIs, a tour of Ireland, and numerous rides with the Bella Vista Bike Club), and avid supporter of his children who were all involved in sports, music, and academics, Jim logged thousands of miles and hours to watch, participate in, and cheer on the activities and people he loved the most.
Jim is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Lois, seven daughters, one son, twenty grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Teresa Smiley (Gary), Windsor, Colo.; Jennifer Kitzman (Steve), Gilman; Beth Stewart (David), Midlothian TX; Cindy Robertson (Bill), Ames; Ellie Holland (Tony), Johnston; Tim Taylor (Yvonne), Spirit Lake; Cami Herholz (Matt), Overland Park, Kan.; and Trish Engelhardt (Geoff), Ft. Collins, Colo.
By caring so completely, giving so quietly, teaching so gently, and loving so deeply, Jim Taylor touched the lives of many people who will continue to do what they learned from him.
Services were held Friday, Nov. 25, at St. Bernard's Catholic Church in Bella Vista, Ark. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Circle of Life Hospice www.hospicejourney.org/donate.jsp or the RAGBRAI Dream Team (www.dreamteamdsm.org).