Graham Taylor, founder of the Eastern High School Championships here in New England, the Massachusetts State Team Leader for decades, and Lincoln Sudbury High School XC Team Coach until the age of 90, as passed away. Graham was a true legend, and a wonderful man. I want to share to past NENSA articles on Graham, the first from 2000 and the second from 2017, as well as the family obituary ~
Graham R. Taylor, Jr., passed away peacefully at his home in Sudbury, MA on June 25th at the age of 96. Graham, a resident of Sudbury for 50 years, was born in New York City in 1925 to Florence Irene Taylor and Graham Romeyn Taylor, and raised in the socially progressive atmosphere of Greenwich Village, by a family with a long commitment to social justice. After graduating from Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH in 1943, he enlisted in the Army, where he was assigned to the 10th Armored Division, shipping out to Europe in September of 1944 and serving in the infantry during the liberation of France and Germany. Upon completion of his army service, he attended Harvard, graduating in 1949, after which he started working in the Admissions and Financial Aid office there. This began a long career in financial aid and college admissions, which included positions at Harvard, the Pullman Foundation in Chicago, the College Board in New York City, and concluded as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, running and enlarging the state scholarship program. Throughout his career he was dedicated to expanding financial aid and scholarship options for students based upon financial need, providing higher education opportunities to students for whom otherwise a college education may not have been possible.
Taylor was a life-long athlete and sports fan and his favorite sports included running, tennis, baseball, hockey, and skiing. A gift on his 10th birthday of skiing lessons at a New York City department store, where he learned to ski on a ramp covered in fake snow, turned into a life-long love of and dedication to the sport, as a competitor, coach and administrator. He was captain and then coach of the Harvard ski team, officiated at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, served on the boards of numerous regional and national ski associations and foundations, and was the head coach of the Lincoln Sudbury High School Ski Team from 1982-2017, bringing 14 state titles to the program during his tenure. His impact on and dedication to organized high school skiing in the northeast was such that in 2017, a new award was established by the New England Nordic Ski Association and named after him. This award goes to the overall winner at the annual Eastern High School Championships.
His other love was music, singing with the Concord Chorus for over 25 years, the First Parish Choir for over 35 years, appearing in numerous musical productions in local community theater (his favorites were Gilbert & Sullivan), and performing every summer at the Berkshire Choral Festival in Great Barrington, MA. An active and involved member of the Sudbury community, Graham was instrumental in the annual Sudbury July 4th Road Race for close to 50 years. His commitment to and involvement with the race will be one of his legacies to the town he loved. He was a force of nature who made an impact on all who knew him.
He is survived by his five children, Doug Smith, Ken Taylor (Sibyl Waters), Rebecca Taylor Callo (Jim Callo), Patrick Taylor (Jane Litwin) and Karen Taylor, his two step-children, Sarah Gaddis and Matthew Gaddis, nephews and niece Paul Kroeber, Arthur Kroeber and Katharine Kroeber Wiley, and five grandchildren. His sister, Jean Taylor Kroeber, pre-deceased him.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Graham’s name to Berkshire Choral International at www.berkshirechoral.org/donate or the Eastern Amateur Ski Educational Foundation at www.easef.org/donate .
A memorial service will be held in the fall in Sudbury.