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Thomas Henderson Taylor, Sr.
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Obituary for Thomas Henderson Taylor, Sr.

Thomas Henderson Taylor, Sr. passed away Friday, April 27, 2018, at The Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. Having bravely fought metastatic prostate cancer for several years, a cerebral hemorrhage ended his life. Tom was born in Winter Haven, Florida on January 18, 1935, to the late Venada Henderson and the late Sherman Thomas Taylor. Tom attended Sewanee Military Academy, and graduated from Winter Haven High School, where he was active in football and swimming. Following graduation, Tom attended the University of Flordia, where he was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity. After transferring to Florida Southern College, Tom graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Citrus Science.
Tom’s early career was focused on citrus grove management, and led to his association with The Berry Companies, where he served as Executive Vice President. Tom also held a seat on The Cotton Exchange, New York City, where he was a trader of orange juice futures. Tom returned to Winter Haven, Florida and continued to be active in the citrus community, serving on the Florida Citrus Commission from 1983 to 1988, serving as President of National Juice Products Association 1988 – 1989. The Citrus Institute of Florida Southern College honored Tom by recognizing him with its Outstanding Achievement Award.
In addition to Tom’s achievements in business, he was also active in community affairs, serving as Commodore of Lake Region Yacht & Country Club, Winter Haven, Florida and serving on the The Committee of 100 in the State of Florida.
In 1990, Tom and his family moved to Venice, Florida to oversee the development of Taylor Ranch, Inc. a company involved in orange production, turf grasses, cattle and real estate. While in Venice, Tom served as President of the North Manasota Key Home Owners Association.
In the summer of 1998, Tom bought a home in Highlands, N.C., where, on a blind date, he was introduced to his present wife, Judy. While traveling in Italy, Tom was inspired by a beautiful vineyard outside Lucca. Returning home, he investigated the possibility of growing grapes on the Highland Plateau. After researching this with the Viticulture Department of N.C. State and The University of California Davis, he was told it was not possible. So, of course, he planted 2,500 vines on Kettle Rock and with the help of Harry Norris, grew grapes, had fall harvest, and made wine. And smiled.
Tom is survived by his devoted wife Judy. Other survivors include three sons, Thomas Henderson Taylor, Jr. (Tiffany) of Venice, FL.; Norman Berry Taylor (Kris) of Perrysburg, Ohio; James David Taylor (Elizabeth) of Venice, Fl.; and daughter-in-law, Gina Emry Taylor, Venice, Fl.
Grandchildren include: Norman Berry Taylor, Jr. (Erin), Taryn Taylor Anderson (Matt), Megan Marie Taylor, Joshua David Taylor, Justin Thomas Taylor & Jessica Ellen Taylor. Big Tom was also blessed with three great grandchildren: Griffin Thomas Anderson, Ivy Delaney Anderson & Brooks Louis Taylor.
In addition to his parents, Tom was predeceased by his sister, Clara Louise Alexander Tripp. In Tom’s memory, memorials may be made to your favorite charity.
Tom was a man of strength, compassion, and honesty, whose moral compass set a high standard for all who knew and loved him. A private service will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018, at the family residence in Venice, Florida.


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