James Monroe Taylor
July 25, 1914 - December 20, 2017
James M. Taylor was born in New Jersey on July 25, 1914. He passed away in Hanford, CA on December 20 at the age of 103.
When Jim was about 6 years old, his father decided to move West, so Jim and his dad rode the train across country to Coalinga. An uncle helped his dad get a job with Standard Oil Co., which provided them with a very basic home on the oil lease. Jim's mother and sister then followed them out. A brother and another sister were then born in Coalinga, completing the family. Jim's summers in Coalinga were filled with many adventures, roaming the hills with his best friend Roger. Often they would be gone all day long.
After Jim finished high school, his mother drove him to Los Angeles, where he began trade school as a printer and found 'piece work' wherever he could. While living in a boarding house, he met Lela Carlbom, a cute registered nurse from Colorado who had moved to Los Angeles to care for an ailing sister. They were married in 1937, a marriage lasting more than 71 years.
At the outbreak WWII, Jim was directed to 'war work' making aircraft parts at Garrett Air Research near the Los Angeles Airport. By the time he retired in 1977, he had advanced from a drill press operator to Director of Manufacturing Services, supervising over 200 employees. During those years he and Lela were responsible for most of the upbringing of their grandson Dale.
Soon after his retirement, Jim and Lela moved to Hanford in order to be closer to their daughter Jan, son-in-law Bob Junell, and their two children. Jim loved his grandchildren, and they adored him. They spent many precious hours and days sharing each others' lives.
Jim was a Past Master in the Masonic Lodge in Los Angeles. After moving to Hanford he became active in the United Methodist Church, serving on most all leadership committees. For many years, he and his buddies of the 'over the hill gang' did most of the maintenance at the church. Jim also enjoyed serving on the Kings County Grand Jury for two terms.
Jim and Lela enjoyed traveling to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Hawaii, and they did a grand travel trailer trip across the United States with Lela's brother and wife. One of their most memorable trips was a trip early on to Alaska while Bob and Jan were living there. That trip included camping in Denali National Park.
Jim was an avid reader of history, biographies, and nature. He was very interested in geology and collected rocks wherever he went. He was analytical and excellent with mechanical things, and could fix just about anything that was fixable.
While living at the Remington Retirement Community Jim became involved with the Remington Ramblers writing group, and had many of his life's short stories published in the Hanford Sentinel. He had quite a local following. He was sharp witted and a good conversationalist, and had a great sense of humor right to the end. He was methodical, practical, polite, and always appreciative of any care or attention. He made caring for him a joy, and he was, in the opinion of many, an 'old school gentleman.'
Jim was preceded in death by his wife Lela; brother Ashworth Taylor; sister Harriett Buell; daughter Kathy Murphree; grandson Gregory Junell; and granddaughter Leanne Junell Nishida. He is survived by his sister Mary Emerich of Southern California; daughter Janis Taylor Junell and husband Bob of Hanford; grandson Dale Harmon and wife Jill of Ft. Smith, AK; grandson-in-law Phil Nishida of Fresno; and several generations of nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank Erin Alvidrez of Valley Christian Home and her most dedicated and caring staff for making Jim's last years as enjoyable as possible. He appreciated them so much. Also thanks to nurse Jennifer and Optimal Hospice Care, as well as to Dr. Jay Kerr for his many years of professional and personal care.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the First United Methodist Church on January 20, 2018, at 11:00 AM with a reception following in Founders Hall.
In lieu of flowers remembrances may be sent to: First United Methodist Church of Hanford, 505 N. Redington St., Valley Christian Home, 511 E. Malone St. or to a charity of the donor's choice.