Bruce Wayne Taylor, Sr. was born to Arthur and Ruth Taylor on September 2, 1947 in Glen Ridge, NJ. After the death of his parents, he was raised by his Aunt Ethel Jones. Bruce was pre-deceased by siblings Richard, Rosemarie, Charles, and his nephew Edward and niece Lynne. He grew up in Montclair and had a lifelong love affair with our town. Everyone knew Bruce and he always had a smile and words of encouragement or advice to share.
Bruce attended Glenfield School and then went on to Montclair High School where he quickly distinguished himself as a superb athlete. He was on the very first Montclair lacrosse team in 1965 and played for three years. He was also on the wrestling team. His skills and sportsmanship led to him being selected as captain of both teams in his senior year.
As left guard on Montclair High School’s football team, Bruce was named an “Outstanding All County Lineman.” He was on the “1964 Undefeated State Championship” Montclair High School football team that was ranked third in the country. Bruce was recruited by Alabama State University in Montgomery where he attended on a full football scholarship. He started all four years during his football career at Alabama State and was designated as “game captain,” a great honor, in his freshman year. The SIAC Conference gave him “Honorable Mention” and he played both sides of the ball as a senior. He had an offer to try out for the Atlanta Falcons upon his graduation, which he declined.
Bruce's time in college wasn't just about football. He discovered a deep sense of justice and community activism within himself that he would pursue during the rest of his life. He marched to the capitol building in Montgomery, Alabama, for equality with his college classmates and participated in other civil rights demonstrations when Governor Wallace was in office. He brought that same commitment back home with him after graduating with a Business Management degree in 1970.
Upon graduation, Bruce's first job was at F.W. Woolworth Company in New York City as an Import Manager. While working he attended the Import/Export Academy. From there, Ford Motor Co. employed him as an Export Manager. He later moved to Prudential Insurance Company as a Special Agent. He became licensed in Life, Property, and Casualty and Series 7 Insurance. After a time, he joined Blue Cross/ Blue Shield as a Corporate Salesman in the health insurance benefits department. Bruce worked with various other insurance companies during his career where his easy way with people earned him numerous “Outstanding Salesman” awards. Bruce also worked for over six years at the Family Center at Montclair. He served on the Montclair Township Budget Committee for several years and served as one of the Co-Chairs of the Montclair African American Heritage Foundation Golf Classic for eight years. Additionally, he served on the Grass Roots Board at Glenfield Park House.
He met his wife and soulmate, Carmen, at the tennis courts in Nishuane Park. From this happy union was born their son, Brandon, a St. Francis University graduate, and current Montclair Police Officer. He had two other children: Lauren Tate, a Howard University graduate who currently teaches in Washington, D.C., and Bruce Taylor II, a Penn State University graduate who works as an Architectural Engineer in New York City. He was extremely proud of all of his children.
During his leisure time, Bruce enjoyed playing football, tennis, and golf, which included a “Hole-in-One” at Weequahic (his favorite golf course). For many years, he was an Assistant Coach for the Montclair Travel Baseball team. He also enjoyed slapping the bid whist cards down on the table at the Glenfield Parkhouse and being the head chef for the monthly men’s breakfast. There wasn’t a household project or design that Bruce couldn’t master and he had a love for working with his hands. Bruce enjoyed having his backyard filled with family and friends for cookouts. He had a lifelong love for Montclair and his family meant everything to him. He loved life and life loved him back! He was our Bruce.
Bruce departed this life on May 20, 2020. He is survived by his loving wife Carmen; daughter Lauren Tate, (grandchildren) Kiamsha and Kasein; sons Bruce W. Taylor II and Brandon Taylor; sisters Arlene Taylor, Shirley Pope, and Doris Taylor; nieces Carol-Lynne Myrick and Kimberly Spearman, and nephews Charles Taylor, Jr. and Glenn McGainey. He also leaves a host of cousins, friends, and community members who will miss him dearly.
Funeral services will be private, with plans for a public memorial celebration to follow in the Fall of 2020.