Cover photo for Robert Leonard Taylor's Obituary
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1931 Robert 2021

Robert Leonard Taylor

September 9, 1931 — February 17, 2021

Robert L. Taylor, of Nantucket, died peacefully, with his wife, Debbie, by his side, on Wednesday, February 17, 2021, in New Hampshire, after a serious fall. He was 89. Bob was born September 9, 1931, on Nantucket, to G. Elmore Taylor and Margaret “Peg” Ferguson Taylor. As a teenager, Bob worked at Roger’s soda fountain at what is now known as the Hub, on Main Street. After graduating from Nantucket High School, in the class of 1949, he joined the Coast Guard, where he served on the USCGC Casco. Following his three years of service in the Coast Guard, Bob returned to Nantucket and began working in construction for his father’s carpentry business, Elmore Taylor, Inc., eventually taking over and managing the business until his retirement. In 1956, Bob married Mildred Nyberg, a summer wash-ashore who had come to Nantucket as a college student and worked at the Downeyflake. Bob and Milly had three children together. Although the marriage ended in divorce, they remained friends, and later, when they had both remarried, the two couples could sometimes be spotted having lunch together at Jean’s/EJ Harvey’s or the Downeyflake – a sighting that may or may not have resulted in some local chatter. Bob again found love with Deborah Minstrell, who helped him through his struggle with alcoholism. Bob and Debbie were married in 1982, and they recently celebrated their 39thwedding anniversary. Although he was a life-long island resident, Bob had an affinity for the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, its small towns and the people, and he could never stay away for too long. Contrary to convention, rather than heading south when the weather turned cold, he and Debbie headed north to spend many winters, including this one, in their home in the Wolfeboro area. Along with his father, Bob was a confidante of Millie Jewett -- Madaket Millie. One day in the early 1960s, while Bob was visiting with Millie out by her house on Hither Creek, Millie told him she wanted her property to stay in local hands and was interested in making some sort of arrangement. Bob told her he did not have the money to purchase the property. Millie responded, “Who said anything about money?” When Bob arrived back in town and told his father about the conversation, Elmore told him to get back out there and make a deal. He did. Madaket Millie would continue to reside in her home at the edge of the creek, in a new cottage constructed by the Taylors, and Bob and his father would build three cottages further up the property and go on to rent them to a loyal summer clientele for many years. Bob was a tinkerer in antique cars, spending many hours under the hood of his Ford Model A, Chevrolet Corvair, Willys Jeepster, or Dodge Power Wagon. Bob was a Mason and a member of the Angler’s Club, the Maddequet Admiralty Association (Commodore, 1961), and the Wharf Rat Club, where he spent many a summer morning on the deck, claiming his favorite spot, in the chair by the door. He is survived by his loving wife, Deborah; his children, Scott Taylor and his wife Cammy, Alison Taylor MacFarlane and her husband Charlie, Chris Taylor and his wife Caitlin; stepdaughters Laurie MacVicar-Fiske, Marsali Carver and her husband Randy; and six grandchildren, Lindsey and Haley Kelley, Randy Carver, Jr., Julia Fiske, and Grace and Benjamin Taylor. The family will celebrate his life later in the year when they can all safely gather together. Condolences may be shared online at www.baker-gagnefuneralhomes.com. In memory of Bob, donations may be made to Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum (eganmaritime.org), Nantucket Historical Association (nha.org), or a charity of your choice.
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