Johnny Earl Taylor, Sr. was born on September 28, 1938, to Elmer and Mildred Taylor of Madison, VA. Johnny spent his childhood in Madison, in a small house in Criglersville with his parents and two brothers Khaki and Curtis. Johnny attended Madison County Public Schools and RPI. At 17, Johnny left Madison for the U.S. Navy. When departing town, he left with only a few dollars in his pocket and his favorite pillow under his arm. When he arrived at basic training, he was immediately informed he could not keep his pillow. He was to use the pillow the Navy provided. As with any and everything he loved in life, he was completely devoted to it. So, he took the few dollars he had in his pocket and mailed the pillow back home. Johnny would go on to serve in the U.S. Navy from 1955-1959, where he proudly served his country as a navigator bombardier. He was first assigned out of the Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Jacksonville, FL until later being assigned to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, FL in squadrons 15 and 35. When his four-year enlistment ended with the U.S. Navy, Johnny returned home to Virginia. This is when he met, “the best person he ever knew”, Betty. After a short courtship, the two wed and moved to Richmond, VA. Johnny drove for Trailways buses from 1961-1969. During his time of driving, he prided himself in tricking the children riders into telling their “real” age, so he could charge the parents the correct amount of fare for the bus ride. In 1969, he and Betty moved to Fredericksburg, VA where he managed AAA from 1969-1976. In 1971, he also opened and ran a driving school until 1976. From 1972-1977, together he and Betty opened and operated Mary Washington Florist, this is where Johnny was known to perform marriage ceremonies among the beautiful arrangements in the florist. Johnny became a member of the Masonic Lodge of Fredericksburg in 1974 and would later go on to receive his lifetime membership award. In 1977, he and Betty decided it was time to move back to Madison. While living in Madison, he owned and operated the Oak Hill Exxon, serviced as the Madison County building inspector for 4 years, opened and operated Madison Memorial Gardens Cemetery, held a contract with the United States Postal Service hauling mail, and co-operated Taylor Trucking, where his truck was known as “The Gambler”.
After many years of visiting Florida on family vacations, Johnny and Betty decided to pack their bags and head south. He was all for the no snow weather! While in Florida, Johnny continued as a contractor for the United States Postal Service until 2009. This was when he decided he was no longer going to set his alarm clock. However, for anyone who had the pleasure of knowing Johnny, he was an early riser with or without an alarm clock. Fox News was his go to television station and classic country music was his jam on the radio. He loved to dance, tell jokes, haggle for a good deal, buy and sell cars, and prided himself in cooking breakfast on Sunday mornings. He will be dearly missed by all of us, whether we called him Johnny, John, Dad, Big Daddy, or Granddaddy.
Johnny passed away on August 6, at the age of 84, surrounded by his family. Johnny is survived by his companion, Solange Taylor; sons, Johnny “Jay” Earl Taylor, Jr. and wife Johnna of Madison, VA, John Scott Taylor and wife Anna of Fayetteville, GA; daughter, Terri Beth Turner and husband Mark of Port Orange, FL; grandchildren Ryan Taylor, Abby Taylor and wife Morgan, Angel Rupard, Coleman Taylor and wife Joyce, Tiffany Taylor and Matthew Taylor; brother, Raymond “Khaki” Taylor and wife Ruth; and a host of nieces and nephews. Johnny was predeceased by his parents, Elmer and Mildred Taylor; wife, Lillian Elizabeth “Betty” Strickler Taylor; daughter, Lisa Dee Taylor; and brother, Curtis Taylor. Johnny was known to repeatedly say, “God will call me home when he needs a good man.” Our hearts are broken, but we know he is in a better place. We are sure his reunion with Betty went just like the Conway Twitty song, “Hello darlin’, Nice to see you, It’s been a long time, You’re just as lovely, As you used to be…. A memorial service will be held at 1:00pm Saturday, August 26, 2023 at Preddy Funeral Home in Madison, VA. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service from 12 noon1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge No.4; 803 Princess Anne St. Fredericksburg, VA 22401