Condolence & Memory Journal

Taylor and I were both West Virginians who were graduated from Woodberry Forest School in the same class. We managed to spend time at various school reunions over the years and exchange a few letters, and I must say he was a wonderful and generous friend whom I and my wife Susana will miss greatly.

Posted by Charlie Bourland - Savannah, GA - Longh time friend   April 16, 2010

My deepest sympathies and condolencs to Taylor's family. I had the pleasure of knowing Taylor through SAH, sharing his love of vehicle documentation, and discussing many vehicle history-related topics and issues with him. I also had the honor of staying at his home in 2008 and conducting the inital needs assessment of his vast collection. During that time, Thomas Solley's book Prestige, Status & Works of Art-Selling The Luxury Car 1888-1942 was published, and I was the first to view it with him as we sat together at his dining room table enjoying the work and admiring the contributions he made to it.

Taylor and I also shared a mutual admiration for the Great State of West Virginia, as I was honored to had worked for the West Virginia Library Commission in Charleston. We often spoke of common locales and information on historical points of interest in the state.

Taylor will continue to guide from above with respect to vehicle history and its preservation.

Posted by Tom Adamich - New Philadelphia, OH - friend/fellow SAH member   January 11, 2010

My deepest condolences to Betty,mary and Edwin. I was priviledged to enjoy the association with the Society of Automotive Historians and to read the Automotive History Review and visit with him at our joint conferences with National Association of Automobile Museums
and SAH. He will be deeply missed. We celebrate his life with you.

Posted by Susan P. Sanborn - Torrance, CA   December 14, 2009

My deepest sympathy to Taylor's family. I was privileged to know Taylor as a colleague at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrtion for more than 25 years, and we kept in touch, albeit infrequently, since our retirements several years ago.

Taylor was a dedicated public servant who turned out a prolific amount of quality work at NHTSA. Unlike the other attorneys in the Chief Counsel's office, he kept his office door closed when he was in, and open when he was out of the office. Even though his door was closed when he was at work, he was always available to consult with his colleagues. While he was a reliable authority with whom to consult about agency business, Taylor was also a friend with whom to comiserate and share annecdotes.

Taylor was a cultured gentleman. I remember going to lunch wih him at the Smithsonian, and hearing his insights into various historical events. And, of course, he was a noted automotive historian who was always willing to share his extensive knowledge. While I couldn't begin to match him on automotive history, he did consult with me about swimming pool maintenance issues.

Before moving to his house in Alexandria, Taylor had a townhouse in southwest D.C., within walking distance of the DOT headquarters. When he lived in D.C., I remember he once had a dispute with the D.C. government about his water bill. Not to be intimidated by a threat to shut off his water service, Taylor sued the city. The case was settled when the then-Mayor, Marion Barry, who was seeking reelection, happened to meet Taylor at a local restaurant. After hearing about Taylor's problem with the city's water bill, Mayor Barry told Taylor to tell the city's attorney that the Mayor is directing the city attorney to settle the matter for whatever Taylor proposed. It was one of the annecdotes that I told at Taylor's retirement luncheon.

After we retired, whenever we spoke he always asked, by name, about my wife and children. Taylor was a classy guy, and he will be missed.

Posted by Allan Kam - Bethesda, MD   November 03, 2009

I was privileged to be Taylor's colleague and friend for the better part of 20 years at NHTSA. While he was always a thorough and prodigious worker, Taylor's courtly manner and often irreverent wit made it that much easier to get through each workday. Left without his keen insight, appreciation for history, and capacity for fun, we are all impoverished by his passing.

Posted by Coleman Sachs - Annandale, VA   November 02, 2009

Taylor not only gave us his friendship, he gave many of us a summer tradition. His hospitality and warmth will be missed by all of us.

Posted by Mark    November 02, 2009

I'm very sorry to learn of Taylor's passing. He was a kind and gentle soul with a wonderful sense of humor. I will miss our outings in his Bentley and his encyclopedic knowledge of so many subjects.

Posted by Steven Troxel - Alexandria, VA   November 01, 2009

I learned of Taylor's death via of friend from schooldays in Huntington. My memories go all the way back to Miller Elementary School. When I read that Taylor had been presented to Queen Elizabeth I thought I must share this. Taylor and I were in a play at Miller where he was Sir Walter Raliegh and I was Queen Elizabeth. He was made a knight in the royal court. His skill at kneeling had not yet been fully developed and we had a few laughs at his training (he probably had some sore knees). It was so interesting to read of his many accomplishments. I know all are saddened by his passing. Please accept my condolences.

Posted by Delora Taggart Hashinger - North Augusta, SC   October 31, 2009

I was Joyce Sargent's companion for 30 years. When Joyce died in March, Taylor wrote me the most beautiful and thoughtful letter. Joyce was only one month older than Taylor, and she had such great memories of their childhood escapades! Were Joyce alive, we would have been in Trinity Church this Saturday. Taylor was a wonderful friend and I'll miss him.

Posted by Robert B. Norris - Washington, DC   October 30, 2009

I am very sad to learn of Taylor's passing. He was an inspiration to all of us as evidenced through his many passions in life, including all things French, and especially automobiles. He has left a valuable legacy to the automobile world through his studies and literature collections. I extend my deepest sympathy to Taylor's family.

Posted by Daniel Tucciarone - Fairfax Station, VA   October 28, 2009

To Taylor's sisters and brother,
Very sorry that your big brother is no longer with us. Had just seen him at Hershey, when we chatted for a while. Last May 7 & 8, had a fine visit with him, when I stayed overnight in the front guest room upstairs. I live in Southern Maryland, not far from where Originall Brown landed in the 1630's. Taylor read to me highlights from an extensive family history that had been put together by a cousin, I think. He vowed to visit me as soon as he could.
From time to time, we exchanged cheeky e-mails. I miss him greatly. His sense of humor and his encyclopedic memory are irre-placeable.
With much sympathy, I wish your family well in this time of profound loss.

Posted by A. James Wohlmuther - Mechanicsville, MD   October 27, 2009

Kindest regards and sympathy to Edwin and family...

Posted by Jack Dennis - Clearwater, FL   October 27, 2009

Taylor was in his way a Renaissance Man with so many varied interests and pursuits, which he willingly shared with others. He also could be quite the charming host come summertime making so many feel welcome at his home. Sincere sympathies for his family and friends.

Posted by Manuel Knight - Washington, DC   October 27, 2009


Meeting and getting to know Taylor was only a recent privilege, but I can tell you I am deeply grateful for it. Taylor was a gifted, intelligent, and very kind man with a terrific sense of humor. I enjoyed the times we could talk about one of his life's passion -- building his automobile and related collection. He was a wonderful man; I will certainly miss him.

Terry Snyder, Hagley Museum and Library

Posted by Terry Snyder - Wilmington, DE   October 27, 2009

My deepest condolences to all of you. Taylor will be missed.

I knew him because he was a member of the Washington Airline Society. We knew about his love of cars because he used to hold an annual picnic every summer at his home and would talk about the car shows he had attended. But his knowledge on the history of air travel was also very extensive. We will really miss his wit and his stories. And his generosity, he was always a great host when there were gatherings at his home in Alexandria. Then there was his dog, or his former roommate's to be more correct: Zack was the only dog I ever met who would beg for lettuce.

With Sympathy,

Posted by Edward C King - Rockville, MD   October 27, 2009


We were very sorry to hear of the sad passing of our dear friend Taylor. I have known Taylor for 33 years and always found him to be very knowledgeable on many subjects and was always the perfect host and a gentleman. We met him in many countries and enjoyed his company, the Detroit Auto Show won't be the same without him as we always enjoyed our evenings round the car show looking at and discussing the latest vehicles.

Posted by Alex & Jenny Barton-Hibbs - Hastings, UK   October 27, 2009

We are so sad about Taylor leaving us. We LOVED him very much. He was a wonderful Person, we are so lucky to have known him. We did share a LOVE for funny Holiday cards. Our hearts and PRAYS are with everyone at this sad time. Love, Andrew, Betsy,(A.K.A. Cake), Philip, Shannon & Anthony. You are truly Missed.

Posted by Betsy McLain - Venice, FL   October 26, 2009

I have many fond memories growing up with the Vinson family. At that time you lived on 12th Avenue a block away from our home. Your father and mine were big in model railroad trains and we shared times together playing with same.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.


Posted by Lawrence E. (Larry) Hite - Belleair Beach, FL   October 26, 2009

mary blair, so sorry to hear about Vinson. He was always a treat to be with, and I will always have fond memories of times we spent together, with and without you, and wish that we had known him better. much love from willia

Posted by willia eckerberg    October 26, 2009



Posted by NANCY DIEHL - PROCTORVILLE, OH   October 26, 2009

I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Taylor's death. We were colleagues at NHTSA for more than 25 years. Taylor's extensive knowledge of automotive lore was paralleled by his sophistication about cultural events and world affairs. As office neighbors, we spoke almost daily about TV programs, the news from France, and politics, as well as agency issues and gossip. We continued to meet for lunch after we both retired (although infrequently, since I now live abroad). He was a most generous host, and a thoughtful friend. I knew that Taylor had not been well recently, but I believed he was recovering when he spoke last month about his plans to travel to Paris and Florida next winter. I am so sorry that his life has been cut short so soon. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Posted by Enid Rubenstein    October 26, 2009

Over the years I had the pleasure of working with Taylor on various traffic safety projects. Since I was in a field office, it was always by phone, fax, email, etc. I enjoyed working with him as he was always very professinoal in his approach to things and very concerned for getting the mission accomplished within the bounds of the law. A Dios.

Posted by Robert E. Weltzer, Ph.D. - Denver, CO   October 26, 2009

My friend Taylor had a great sense of humor and a deep, erudite passion for cars. I will miss greatly our conversations about car design, history, and life in general, and am thankful we enjoyed watching a documentary called "Victory By Design: Porsche" together at the hospital the night before he passed away. In many ways Taylor's life, too, was a "victory by design" and I respectfully offer my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Posted by Omar Abou-Zied - Fairfax, VA   October 25, 2009

i have such fond memories of Taylor, and he will be missed by all who knew him. my thoughts and prayers are with you all. no one had a sense of humor like Taylor. deepest sympathies and love, Emily

Posted by emily McLean - ft.myers, FL   October 25, 2009

I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Taylor. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this time, Bets, Blair and Vincent.

Posted by Dody Gwinn - Spring, TX   October 25, 2009

Please accept my heartfelt sympathy in the loss of Taylor. I have never met him personally, but he must have been a unique and interesting man. I know that he will be greatly missed by all of your family members and his many friends who loved him.

Posted by Catherine Beadles - Aiken, SC   October 25, 2009