Don Taylor

Shriner motorcycle corps, patroller at Ski Cooper

R. Don Taylor, a 38-year resident of Buena Vista, passed away peacefully May 27, from complications of Parkinson’s disease.

He is survived by Bonnie, his wife of 65 years, sons Ross (Laura) and Paul (Margie) and grandchildren Noah, Lena, Joshua and Jacob (Deanna).

He is preceded in death by his father Ralph, mother Evelyn, sister Jacqueline, brother Charles and nephew Charles.

Don was born in Iowa to a railroad family. In Don’s words, “Until I was 14, I thought the world was 300 miles long and 2 miles wide, with the Chicago & Northwestern tracks right down the middle.”

He was a graduate of Boone (Iowa) Junior College and the University of Iowa, and was a Hawkeye fan all his life.

He lived a number of years in Rockford, Ill., before coming to Chaffee County. While in Illinois, he became a Mason. He soon joined the Shrine through Tebala Temple, where he was active in the motorcycle corps. In Colorado, he became a member of Al Kaly Temple, serving as Potentate in 2006.

He was an airplane and helicopter pilot, and a 24-year veteran of the Iowa Army National Guard.

His most memorable mission was the time he spent in Alaska in 1966 flying the Apollo astronauts for their NASA geology training. He maintained friendships with his fellow pilots long after retirement.

Don was a jack of all trades businessman whose career followed numerous pursuits, including general accounting, shopping center and hotel management, business development, construction and teaching.

He was an avid skier who joined the National Ski Patrol after settling in Buena Vista. He worked as a patroller at Ski Cooper in Leadville, spending time in his beloved mountains. He often volunteered for Sunday morning, opening the mountain for the day in the quiet of the early morning.

There will be a private memorial. In lieu of flowers, gifts in memory of Don may be directed to the Shriners’ Hospitals for Children and the Chaffee County Boys & Girls Club.