James Clagett Taylor, Jr. ’57

James Clagett Taylor, Jr. ’57 died July 10. He was born in Spartanburg, S.C., in 1935 to Annie Laurie and J. Clagett Taylor, Sr. He returned to Sebring, Fla., with his parents at age four. He received his B.A. from Davidson. He was a proud member of the Sebring High School and Davidson College bands. He also obtained a master’s degree in international relations at the American University in Washington, D.C. His thesis on the political development of the African nation of Tanganyika was later published by both Oxford and Princeton Press. In 1958 he married Patricia Kressly of Easton, Pa., and in the spring of 1961 they went with their six-month-old daughter to Rhodesia in Southern Africa as educational missionaries for the Methodist church. Both their sons were born during the five years they worked there. When they returned to Florida, Taylor attended the University of Florida in Gainesville in the newly developing African studies program. Meanwhile, he received a position as a Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Department of State. He was assigned to several different countries to work in their U.S. Embassies: Jamaica, West Indies, Zambia in central Africa, and Venezuela, South America, as well as a cultural exchange with a man from Mauritius back in Washington. Following a tour in Washington and the desk officer for South Africa, the family returned to Sebring in 1979 due to ill health of his dad to help in the family businesses. A few years later, he was taking courses at Polk Community College to study citrus growing, as well as joining with Joel Stevenson to purchase and run Webster Manufacturing, which Hank Webster, Joel’s father-in-law and Taylor’s father, had originally started. He supported the Sebring Blue Streaks and was proud to see two sons follow him as graduates of SHS. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patricia Taylor, 5959 Sun N. Lake Blvd., Apt. B303, Sebring, FL 33872-7645; a daughter, Debbie Valencia (Pablo); sons, J. “Jim” Clagett Taylor III (Sue) and John A. Taylor (Katherine Livingston); and eight grandchildren, Laura and David Valencia, James Clagett Taylor IV and Kristen Taylor, and Forrest, Johnny, Patricia, and Daniel Taylor.