George Taylor

George Taylor

Born
20 January 1936
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died
01 April 2024
London, United Kingdom
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Words by
Mark Taylor Son

On behalf of myself, my wife Leanne, my sons Ben and Aaron, Mum, and Tony and Jamie, I would like to thank you all for coming today.

Dad had an amazing life and myself and Andi were so fortunate to have the childhoods that we did, knowing we were loved and safe, yet given the space to flourish.

When Mum and Dad arrived from South Africa in the 1960s, they had nothing but the clothes on their backs. Yet together, they achieved so much.

They bought a first house, then another, had two kids, while Dad ran a very successful dental practice. In fact, such was his gift with kids, that mums would bring their kids from all over London for their dental care, because kids just loved him.

Yet, despite all of this, he somehow found the time and energy to volunteer for Samaritans and often the phone would go in the middle of the night, no matter how many times he had already been woken.

his greatest gift was coaching

This giving of his time was to become a recurrent theme in his life. As many of you will know, especially those of you who have played golf or bowls with Dad, he loved to be involved. Yes, he could sometimes be a bit intolerant when he felt something was being done wrong, but he just knew he was right.

He loved his sport. As a young man, he was a fine swimmer and also played baseball for South African universities. In his more mature years, when he wasn’t watching sport on TV, he loved his golf and his bowls. I know he was particularly proud to represent Great Britain at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, as well as captaining his golf club. But he was always on a committee, or advising a committee or arguing with a committee. He loved that.

But for all of his sporting prowess, his greatest gift was coaching. Whether it was golf, or bowls or teaching barmitzvahs, he would always give up his time to help coach beginners, or improvers. He was a surprisingly patient coach, but a gifted one, even helping Parkinson’s sufferers to play bowls when so much of their lives had been taken from them by the condition.

I know he found great satisfaction in helping others share his love of these sports and I am sure there are a few here today who would have benefited from his coaching, including me.

the pride on his face during my barmitzvah

On a personal note, my three most precious memories of Dad were seeing the pride on his face during my barmitzvah, and being able to pray with him at the Wailing Wall just before Covid struck.

Further, when Andi and I were small, every now and then Dad would bring us each a milky bar home as a special treat, which for a dentist’s children was a big thing.

As kids, once a year, we managed to prise Dad off of the golf course and away from work to have our annual caravan holiday somewhere in Europe. These always brought great adventures and tall stories remain to be told. One year, we foolishly decided not to go around or through the Alps, but take the caravan over them instead. At the top of the mountain pass, the cloud was so thick that Dad ran the Italian/ French border and managed to get himself arrested at gun point.

Great holidays.

wrinkles were always interesting to sculpt

In latter years, Dad sought his more creative side and began to sculpt. He specialised in mature people. He claimed the wrinkles were always interesting to sculpt and his works, which really became exceptionally good, adorn mantelpieces from London to New Zealand.

I have a few thank yous to say.

Firstly, thank you to Rabbi Lanning for your support today and also to the chevra kadisha who do amazing work that we rarely see.

I would also like to thank my travel agent.

To the staff at the Royal Free Hospital. Dad was so grateful for the outstanding care he received there.

To the South African mafia, our family for the last sixty odd years.

To my amazing wife, Leanne and our sons Ben and Aaron, who could not be here today, but I know are thinking of us.

To Tony. We tried to warn you about the Taylors all those years ago, but are so grateful that you never heeded that advice. You have been a rock for us all and I know Dad loved you like a son.

To Jamie. Like all of us, Dad was so proud of you. He just wanted you to be you.

To Mum, an amazing woman. I can never thank you enough, but thanks for being you, even if you did run out of road twice on one journey in Bordeaux. Dad was most displeased.

huge amount of friends

I have always been in awe of the huge amount of friends my parents have had over the years and thank you all for that gift.

Dad was proud, but humble.

Intolerant yet patient.

Strong, but fragile.

Devoted, but bloody stubborn till the end.

I feel solace to know that Dad and Andi will be together again.

Thank you.