Tolbert Taylor, Cloverdale’s oldest veteran, was laid to rest at City Centre Cemetery last Friday afternoon, following a celebration of life at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6.
Bugle major John More from the British Columbia Regiment Band played The Last Post in tribute at the service, which was presided over by Major Brian Venables of the Salvation Army, and included a colour party from Branch 6.
Taylor, who passed away last month at the age of 100, served in both the Canadian and U.S. militaries.
A long-time resident of Cloverdale, Taylor was a familiar face at Branch 6, where he is sadly missed. He’s fondly remembered as a bright spirit and enthusiastic “Rock Hound” who also enjoyed travel, and spending time with family and friends.
Tolbert Maurice “Red” Taylor was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 11, 1911, and passed away Aug. 16, in his 101st year.
In 1931, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at 19, serving with the 31st U.S. Infantry in China and the Philippines.
His 29-day trip across the Pacific in an army transport ship forged deep and lasting memories; he told stories about that voyage until near the end of his life.
He headed north to British Columbia in 1940. He enlisted in the Rocky Mountain Rangers regiment of the Canadian Army Special Forces, training in Vernon.
Taylor took part in a memorable training exercise involving a 500-km march from Kamloops to Vancouver, said Branch 6 vice president Earle Fraser.
The march took 14 days during 40-degree heat and was meant to simulate war conditions.
He was among the Canadian troops sent to Italy, where he was part of the invasion of Sicily.
He was eventually injured and spent four months in hospitals in North Africa and England before returning to Vancouver.
He worked as a buyer for a luggage company in Vancouver, and later went to work in the maintenance department at the University of British Columbia until his retirement.
On Sept. 9, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 held a celebration of life for Taylor, followed by a short service at Surrey Centre Cemetery, where his ashes have been interred in the veteran’s section.
He is predeceased by his first wife Josephine and his second wife Eleanor, and sister Mary Carter. He is survived by his stepdaughter Elva Whitford of Vancouver, step-grandaughter Amy Davidson of Surrey, niece Beverly Schallert of Albuquerque, NM (who attended the service along with her husband and son), nephew Elton Carter of Lee’s Summit, MO, and many great nieces and nephews.