Taylor Reese, at the age of 92, passed away peacefully on March 27. Taylor was born and raised on a farm in Eastern North Carolina. After graduating from high school, he went to college in Norfolk, Va., where he worked for the Navy until Pearl Harbor.
Following an Honorable Discharge from the U. S. Army Air Corps, he also attended college in Florida and became a court reporter. He worked for the largest firm in Miami for several years before he went into business for himself. The firm was known as Taylor Reese & Associates.
In his professional career as a court reporter, he rose through the ranks of both the Florida and the National Court Reporter Associations, from board member to president of both, until he reached the highest achievement in his profession.
In 1989, he retired from reporting and began writing humor, poetry, and memoirs. In collaboration with his lifelong friend of more than 70 years, Jack Pyle, they were co-authors of two almanac books, as well as partners in real estate. Together, they participated in bookstore signings and events, and spoke at libraries and garden clubs throughout the Southeast.
Taylor was an active member of the Writers Guild of Western North Carolina, the Appalachian Authors Guild, and High Country Writers.
In the words of Mr. Pyle: “Taylor was the human being I trusted in all things more than anyone else in the world. He was a man of integrity and honesty. He loved his profession. Even at his advanced age, he said often, ‘If ever I had to go back to work again, I’d be a court reporter.'”
My relationship with Taylor goes back to 1961, when he and three other reporters left Jack Mallicoat’s office in Miami to open their own firms. After graduating in NYC from Interboro Institute of Business’s court reporting program, I was in one of Charlie Foster’s night school speed classes, when he received a call from NSRA speed champion Bill Cohen that Mallicoat was in town recruiting reporters. Charlie said, “Benowitz, you’re 19, with no real ties; go on down there for the job.” I interviewed with Jack the next evening and was hired. If it were not for Taylor’s creating an open position — fate, be it — I would not be writing this memorial on his behalf, much less having had the personal and professional opportunities that came to be as a court reporter in Miami and worldwide, with all the wonderful friends, clients, associates, and contemporaries in “the field.”
Sweet fate repeated itself when, eight years ago my wife and I purchased a vacation log home in Burnsville, N.C., where we spend five months a year, we learned Taylor and Jack Pyle were neighbors 10 minutes away, and we have been able to spend time as friends in his remaining years.
Taylor Reese desired to depart this phase of his life with no frills. He simply wanted to be cremated, have his ashes sent to his niece — the sister of the late Frank Tayloe — who lives in Suffolk, Va. He asked only to have those ashes scattered on his parents’ graves.
H. Allen Benowitz, RMR (Ret.)