Donald Bruce Taylor
December 2, 1948
June 23, 2022
“Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure, you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.”
Donny was called home to be with his Lord and Savior on Thursday evening, June 23, 2022.
He was born on December 2, 1948, to Blake Bruce and Edna Quinn Taylor in Kinston, NC and raised in the Wyse Fork community. He was a 1966 graduate of South Lenoir High School and attended Mount Olive College. His love of the land and strong family ties lead him to pursue a career in farming.
After many years of farming, he took his love for history and shifted his career to the North Carolina State historic sites with the Department of Cultural Resources. He started as a volunteer at CSS Ram Neuse in Kinston and worked his way up to interpreter at CB Aycock Birthplace, assistant manager at CSS Neuse, then manager at Bentonville Battleground until his retirement in December 2019.
He was a Lifetime member of Armenia Christian Church.
He served in the US National Guard from 1968 to 1979.
He was a volunteer fireman at Wyse Fork Fire Department for 25 years.
Donny’s personal achievements are numerous, he was awarded the NC State order of the Long Leaf Pine which is the highest civilian award given by the governor. He was named the nation’s top historical preservationist of civil war battle fields. He was recognized for his research, teaching and preservation of the American Civil War by the Civil War Round Table. The William T. Alderson lifetime achievement award for NC Museum Council, and a certificate of appreciation from the US Army Force Command from the department of chief of staff for his historical expertise and invaluable understanding of the battle of Bentonville.
Donny’s hobbies included Civil War reenacting and was a charter member of the 27th NC Regiment, Colonel of the 2nd NC Battalion. He enjoyed relic hunting for many years and later in life developed a love of wildlife photography. He has won many awards for his photography, published in the NC Wildlife magazine.
Donny wore many hats in his lifetime. He was a son, cousin, friend, husband, teacher, farmer, historian. Out of all the hats he wore, Daddy and Pop-pop were his favorites. Donny was a true southern gentleman. He was hard working and compassionate. He was a man of his word, and he expected no less. He loved his family and friends beyond measure. His cousins and friends were like brothers and sisters he never had. His quick wit and mischievous nature were one of a kind and will be missed by so many. To know him was to love him.
Donny’s final days and hours were spent surrounded by family that he loved and who dearly loved him. He gave us courage and reminded us of how precious life is. He touched us with his gentle smile and made us laugh with his wit.
He is survived by his loving wife and soulmate Mary Jane Taylor. His two daughters that loved and adored him, Tonya Taylor (Chuck Darden) and Donna Taylor. His grandson, Chase Strain who “Pop-Pop” affectionately nicknamed “Pete”. Two stepsons Kyle and Matthew Harris. Three step grandchildren Damien, Caleb and Julianna Harris.