John Richard Taylor Jr.

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, November 5, 2015

John Richard Taylor Jr., 88, passed away after a brief illness, surrounded by family, on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. He was the son of the late John R. Taylor Sr. and Mary Mariah Benton. He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Connie Taylor.



John was a 1945 graduate of Suffolk High School and left immediately for duty with the U.S. Navy. After he was discharged, he attended Elon College, majoring in art and design. He then attended Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Fla. Upon returning to Suffolk, he was employed at Birdsong Peanut Company for more than 35 years. He taught art to hundreds of students for more than 40 years and continued to teach until his death. He loved to share his passion for art with everyone he knew. He spent much of his retirement years planning and leading trips with friends and students to many different European destinations.

John received the prestigious ALLI Award in 2004 for his outstanding contribution to the cultural life of greater Hampton Roads. He was an active member and served on the board of the Suffolk Art League. He was a member of the Suffolk Historical Society and he was a charter member of the Foundation Board of Directors of the Suffolk Cultural Center.

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He was a lifelong member of the Suffolk Christian Church, where he served as a deacon and on numerous committees over the years. He was recently awarded the status of deacon emeritus with the church, an award of which he was extremely proud. He loved singing in the choir and men’s chorus and was so honored to be a special part of the church community.

Survivors include his wife, Connie Newman Taylor; his son, John Richard Taylor III and wife, Carrie, of Charlottesville; daughter, Mary Elizabeth Taylor Asbell and husband, Randy, of Williamsburg; and four grandchildren, Paul, Mariah, Christopher and Lainie. He was predeceased by his four siblings, Dorothy, baby Martha, Henry and Calvin, and is survived by his sister, Ann Taylor Pierce.

A celebration of life will be conducted at 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, at Suffolk Christian Church by the Revs. Michael Halley and T. Floyd Irby. A visitation time will be held on Sunday, Nov. 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. at R.W. Baker & Co. Funeral Home and Crematory, 509 W. Washington St., Suffolk. Memorial donations may be made to the Suffolk Art League and noted in the memo line: John Taylor Scholarship Fund, 118 Bosley Ave., Suffolk, VA 23434. Condolences may be registered at