Lloyd Welch Taggart Eulogy

From: Lloyd McNiven Taggart
Date: 24 Aug 2002
Time: 16:12:24
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Lloyd Welch Taggart Eulogy

October 26, 1918 – May 17, 2002 By Lloyd M. Taggart

The death of a loved-one is always a peculiar time. It brings tender emotions very close to the surface, and at the same time it enhances one’s feelings of gratitude for the long life of the deceased as well as for his particular acts of service left behind that blessed the lives of so many. But more particularly, it’s a time to express gratitude to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for His life and for His atoning sacrifice that offers all of us the promise of a reunion with deceased loved ones when we all meet in the life to come.

I have a deep and abiding testimony, which our family shares with you, that God lives, that his son Jesus Christ suffered for all of our sins and freely gave his life on a Roman Cross, that He was resurrected three days later to ensure that each of us would be able to return to our Father in Heaven’s presence and live in a peaceful, happy, resurrected state with our friends and loved ones eternally.

As most of you know, Dad was ill for almost seven years. We often wondered why he lingered so long in such a debilitated state, especially after Mother passed away in 1998 and his beloved brother Mac soon thereafter. We all thought with these two special people in his life gone he would give up and, as he said “…head to the barn,” much more quickly than he did.

But Dad also had a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He enjoyed an assurance of a life after death and he knew of the promise of living with loved ones on the other side of the veil….if he lived properly here and had fully repented of those things that may not been in keeping with our Father in Heaven’s wishes for him.

In his own hand I think he may have given us some insight into why he delayed his passing so long…..I quote: “Mac and I spent a lot of time with our older cousins John Hinckley and Julian Frost; those older boys showed Mac and me a lot of awful things to do and I know Mother didn’t blame us for the trouble we got into. It was always ‘those other boys fault.’

“Back before anyone had sense enough to realize that crushed rock needed fines with it in order to compact and have any stability, Mac and I would get those nice clean rocks that were just perfect throwing rocks and keep them in buckets around the yard to throw at the Dalton boys and at their dad when he was far enough away the he couldn’t catch us. One time he was milking a young cow that had her bag cut up pretty bad going through a fence. He had to tie her legs together to keep her from kicking, and Mac and I lay up on top of the barn and threw rocks at the cow to keep her jumping while Frank Dalton tried to milk her.

“I’m ashamed to tell some of the stories that happened with the Daltons. Later, when I was older, every time I saw Mrs. Dalton I always looked at her with a sense of forgiveness. I mean I wanted her to forgive me, not me to forgive her for many of the things Mac and I did. (Do you notice how he always included Mac in the ‘bad’ stuff?) I can remember one time Mac and I got her blanket that was just washed and hanging out on the fence to dry. We took it to the corral and spread fresh manure on the inside of it and then hung it back up as though nothing had happened. I’m convinced if Mrs. Dalton would have killed us there wasn’t a jury in the world that would have found her guilty.

“One time when Uncle Ray Wilson and Aunt Harriet were living in the red rock home which most of us know as the Frost home, they had quite a stockpile of black powder in five gallon cans in their cellar. Mac, Guy and Chic Wilson and I began experimenting with that black powder and had a lot of fun stringing it out around the corral and sticking it under cans and watching it blow the cans up in the air. One time we thought “This is going to be the epitome of the atomic bomb (isn’t it that these young boys in Cowley evidently knew of the Atomic bomb before it was invented by scientists at Los Alamos many years later.) We spread that stuff around the yard, hundreds of feet of it and we ended up with the mass of it in the five-gallon can at the end of the run. We sat their gleefully watching the fire race along that powder trail, and just as the five-gallon can exploded with a thunderous boom, we looked around and there was Dad staring at us over the corral fence. He laid into all of us pretty heavy.

“One thing we learned to appreciate was the nice rich milk from one Jersey and one Guernsey cow we had. Later on we had a Brindle cow with a busted horn and I remember once Mac and I (notice Mac being included here again) caught her down next to the wash lying down and we couldn’t get her up. We thought she was just getting muley with us and began to hit her with a stick until she finally jumped up. It was only then that we discovered she’d been lying on her tail and couldn’t get up. When she jumped up she busted her tail off and she was short-tailed from then on, but her milk was still rich and the cream was great.

“Mac and I used to have contests in the bath to see who could hold their breath the longest and we had some real contests going. Once Mac stayed under the water for an awful long while and beat me so bad it was pitiful. Finally I realized that something was wrong and pulled him out. I found out he hadn’t won fair and square. He was having a convulsion from spinal meningitis and couldn’t have gotten his head out of the water if he’d wanted to.

“In Cowley our phone number was 26F2. Mr. Longfellow was the telephone manager at the time. Mac and I would get on the telephone and cuss those operators outlandishly. We were just 5 or 6 years old and were always amazed that they could figure out it was Mac and me that was doing it, after all, they were two blocks away….there’s no way they could’ve seen us.”

We just assume that with Mac’s very quick and unexpected passing, perhaps there was a few other things Dad wanted to be sure were properly taken care of on his and Mac’s behalf before he felt confident in meeting his Maker and Mac on the other side…

Dad was born in Cowley on October 26, 1928 the first of four sons of Lloyd and Louise Taggart and the oldest brother to five Taggart sisters.

He attended schools in Cowley until his family moved to Cody where at the age of 13 he joined the Sophomore class at Cody’s High School; he graduated from Cody High School having been awarded “The Boy Most Exemplifying the Spirit of Cody High School.”

He went on to attend and graduate from the University of Wyoming in Laramie with a Degree in Civil Engineering. While there he is was active in Student Government serving as his: • Freshman Class Vice-President • Sophomore Class President • Junior Class President, and • Senior Class President

Additionally he served as a member of the: • Student Senate • Iron Skull, and • Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity

But probably his most celebrated achievement while in Laramie was winning the heart of and marrying Adele Mae Shields, from Casper, an only child herself, she enthusiastically joined Dad’s family of nine children and was to become the mother of two daughters and four sons.

After graduating Dad was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation where he served for two years before leaving to take a position with Boeing Aircraft in its Engineering Stress and Field Services Department traveling to Africa, India, China and the Mariana Islands supporting Boeing’s B-17s and B-29 aircraft during World War II.

When the war ended in 1945 he returned to Cody and joined his father’s construction company. In 1956 he was appointed its President; he moved the business from Cody to Las Vegas in 1963 and became its Chairman in 1978. In 1980 he sold the business to ABC America Corporation.

Dad loved Cody and all of you wonderful people who lived here. While in Cody he served as President of the Chamber of Commerce, was a Member of the School District 6 Board of Education, the Rotary and Lions Club. He was a Member of the Buffalo Bill Museum’s Advisory Council, was a District Commissioner of the Boy Scouts of America and served as Chairman of the Board and a Director of Shoshone First National Bank. And of course he was a committed and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of his adult life.

He was also President of The Associated General Contractors of Wyoming and President of Wyoming’s National Right to Work Committee playing a major role in securing the right of all Wyomingites to work, whether they belonged to a union or not. He also served as the President of Wyoming’s Engineering Society and was the recipient of Sigma Tau’s Engineering Honorary Award in 1959. Additionally he was a Member of the Board of Directors of the University of Wyoming’s Alumni Association as well as a Member of the College of Commerce and Industry’s Advisory Council at the University. He also served as a Friend of the Art Museum and as a Friend of the American Heritage Center at Wyoming.

When he and Mother moved the family that still remained at home to Las Vegas he continued his community and Church involvement.

He was elected President of the Federated Employers of Nevada and President of the Southern Nevada Ready Mix and Rock Products Association. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Clark County Chapter of the American Red Cross and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Public Research Council in Washington, DC.

In 1981, the Greater Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, the Las Vegas Kiwanis Club and the Employers of Southern Nevada awarded him their coveted “Free Enterprise Award……

”In recognition of his contributions to the growth and progress of Southern Nevada, and in testimony of his adherence to the principles of capitalism in the conduct of his business as evidenced by his foresight, his initiative, his inventiveness and by his acceptance of the risks and rewards inherent in our competitive American Society….”

His activity in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his love for history and his rich pioneer ancestry saw him appointed to the Mormon Pioneer Trail Committee by President Reagan in 1982. He was also appointed to membership on The Board of Trustees of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center In Oklahoma City. He was also a devoted supporter of The American Indian Services at Brigham Young University and often traveled with his friend Dale Tingey to visit their beloved Indians living on reservations throughout the Southwest.

When he moved back to Cody from Las Vegas he founded Taggart Galleries and was the driving influence behind the resurgence of worldwide interest in the furniture style made popular by his dear friend, Cody’s Thomas C. Molesworth, through encouraging the formation of the first museum retrospective ever held of Molesworth’s work. The show opened to rave reviews at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and then traveled to The Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles--- the interest in Molesworth’s furniture took off and a whole new industry was born.

He and Mother owned Mr. Molesworth’s personal collection of furniture, fine art and Indian artifacts. They decided to save this very valuable collection for future generations to enjoy rather than selling it for huge profit, by permanently gifting it all to the “Louise Welch Taggart Room” at the John Taggart Hinckley Library at Northwest Community College in Powell in honor of Dad’s mother. It can be seen and enjoyed by anyone during the library’s normal working hours. Their love of Molesworth saw the formation of Sweet Water Ranch and now lives on in Marc’s furniture business, Marc Taggart Furniture.

Dad passed away peacefully at approximately 3:25 on Saturday afternoon May 17th after almost seven years of ill and debilitating health. We testify he’s now free of all of those human shackles and is at peace, reunited with his sweetheart, our Mother, his parents and of course his beloved brothers Mac and Charlie who preceded him in death. I also see him in emotionally charged reunions with all of his cousins as well as with his pioneer grandparents and great grandparents.

We thank so many of you, particularly his care-givers, who have been so selfless in your kind care and watchfulness over Dad during his years of illness as well as during this period immediately surrounding his death.

As a family, we’re particularly grateful to our brother Marc who’s shouldered the burden of the day-to-day effort of looking after Dad and caring for his every need. He and Gina have given this loving nurture for years at great personal sacrifice, but never a complaint. They’ve more than earned the right to enjoy life together once again.

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