Jack Taylor & Kentucky Red

"John F. Taylor...This is a man with a big life, spanning almost 92 years. He was born in Canton, IL Christmas Eve, 1919 to Emma & Dean Taylor. Dad was the eldest of two sons. He led the way for his brother Ed. The family survived two rowdy boys, the depression, WWII and came out smiling. Dad graduated high school two years early, then starting his college career. He ended up in the Army Air Corps, to pursue his passion…flying. He spent 30 years in the Air Force flying everything from props through jets. He was happiest breaking the sound barrier. He started flight school in Louisville, Kentucky, where he met and fell in love with Mom. Thus, began a 61 year love story. Dottie and Jack were married before he shipped out for New Guinea. After Pearl Harbor happened Dad’s brother joined the Marines. Both boys came home heroes. Dad received many ribbons and honors. Among them were the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Force Commendation Medal. His plane “Kentucky Red” (named after mom and her red hair), flew 51 missions and was an important part of the “Battle of the Bismark Sea”. Mom saved the hundreds of letters that kept them close during the war. When dad returned they were more in love than ever. Rick, my brother, was born in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas and the family adventure of traveling began. Much later I was born in Texas and our journey continued. Places we lived and loved included France, New York (where Dad finished his college at the University of Eureka), Puerto Rico and Colorado. Dad retired as a Colonel at Hamilton Air Force Base in Northern California. Dad and Mom taught us to love learning about different people, places and cultures. Sports included everything from horseback riding, white water rafting, scuba, ice skating, etc. Because Dad’s motto was “it will be fun", it was. Thanks Dad! We had a wonderful life and the struggles and hard times would melt away with his sense of humor. He passed this gift on to me then, his granddaughter, Jessi. After Jeff and I were married we traveled a bit then settled down in Southern California. Jessica Taylor Osterlund was born January, 1994. My dad and brother had a new best friend in this little girl and the bond between them grew. What great men to have in her life as well as her father. All are heroes in their own ways. Grandma and Grandpa with their usual passion for life taught Jessi so many things about the world, happiness and love. After we lost Mom, God opened Dad’s heart to another and we received Helen as a special blessing and addition to our family. Helen and Dad were married almost 9 years. They filled those years with love, laughter, friends and travel. Dad even taught Helen to snorkel. She was one of the last gifts my Dad gave our family and she truly is our mom, grandma, and one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Helen and I were there together with Dad as he sighed his last breath. Helen holding his hand and me next to Dad. He left peacefully knowing we would take care of each other. Thank you Dad for always being our hero. We will be seeing you.

 Birth: Dec 24, 1919, Canton, Illinois

Death: Dec 9, 2011, Westminster, Colorado

Jana Taylor Osterlund

Kentucky Red    40-162