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By Tim Hunt

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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Barry Taylor: a big heart and a big loss

Uploaded: Nov 20, 2013
The sudden death last weekend of Taylor Family Foundation founder and President Barry Taylor sadly serves as a reminder of just how precious every day is.

Barry, a very successful businessman with a soft heart for people, died of a massive heart attack at the age of 74. He founded and built Taylor Made Business Systems as well as several other companies and set up the foundation with his wife, Elaine, more than 20 years ago.

Elaine was the public face of the foundation and the driving force in establishing Camp Arroyo south of Livermore to give kids with health challenges a quality camping experience. Barry worked alongside and both poured time, talent and treasure into the organization. At a time when they had all of the financial resources they could ever need and could have relaxed into a travelling and country-club lifestyle, they choose to make a difference to kids and their families who really needed help.

Thanks to advances in research, the original focus of the foundation—giving kids with the AIDS virus a camping experience—has been broadened because kids with the virus now are surviving instead of dying young. The camp now is open to kids with health challenges as well as at-risk youth.

The hugely successful Day in the Park fundraiser that has raised more than $1 million for camp operations over the past few years started in the backyard of the Taylor's former home in Lafayette (they have since moved to the San Ramon Valley to be closer to Camp Arroyo).

However, the hospitality that would be common in a backyard party remains at Camp Arroyo despite more than 1,000 guests. Elaine and Barry personally greet guests.

I remember a few years ago on a really hot late August afternoon that Barry was schlepping around umbrellas to be sure that his guests were comfortable in the shade. He was hustling to take care of guests instead of settling into a chair with a glass of wine.
That same do-whatever-it-takes attitude was demonstrated by Elaine. When Broadway Plaza offered the foundation the opportunity to provide gift wrapping services, she was there staffing the booth. Both she and Barry rolled up their sleeves and served alongside their staff.

My condolences to Elaine and her family—Barry was a wonderful partner to her and a leader with a heart well worth emulating.

Comments

Posted by Elaine Taylor, a resident of Danville,
on Nov 20, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Dear Tim,

Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute to Barry. Your kind words are helping to heal my heart!
elaine


Posted by Dolores Perata-McMinn, a resident of another community,
on Nov 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

Having followed TTFF since Angie started there years ago, I was both shocked and saddened to read of the passing of this kind, gentle giant. There are few like him in existence today. I pray for continued success for TTFF and peace for the family and friends of this amazing man. He was truly one of the great gifts from God.


Posted by Dolores Perata-McMinn, a resident of another community,
on Nov 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

Having followed TTFF since Angie started there years ago, I was both shocked and saddened to read of the passing of this kind, gentle giant. There are few like him in existence today. I pray for continued success for TTFF and peace for the family and friends of this amazing man. He was truly one of the great gifts from God.


Posted by Dolores Perata-McMinn, a resident of another community,
on Nov 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

Having followed TTFF since Angie started there years ago, I was both shocked and saddened to read of the passing of this kind, gentle giant. There are few like him in existence today. I pray for continued success for TTFF and peace for the family and friends of this amazing man. He was truly one of the great gifts from God.


Posted by Dolores Perata-McMinn, a resident of another community,
on Nov 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

Having followed TTFF since Angie started there years ago, I was both shocked and saddened to read of the passing of this kind, gentle giant. There are few like him in existence today. I pray for continued success for TTFF and peace for the family and friends of this amazing man. He was truly one of the great gifts from God.


Posted by TimJoyce, a resident of Alamo,
on Nov 21, 2013 at 11:25 am

I met Barry and Elaine a few times; when we attended the Days in the Park at their home in Lafayette (mid 90\'s) and when we had dinner at their home with a group that had purchased a special dinner with Bob Weir (that was a unique experience!). I will never forget that dinner, nor have I forgotten the grace and genuine kindness that both Barry and Elaine shared with our group that night. I had the chance to speak with Barry a bit that night, and I was struck by what a genuinely nice guy he was, and how he really cared about the work that the Foundation was doing.

He was one of the good guys that you meet in your life. He will be missed.


Posted by DawnMarie Kotsonis, a resident of another community,
on Nov 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Tim, what a wonderful tribute to a truly great man!


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