August 7, 1949 - September 1, 2022
Visitation: 4 – 7 p.m. Thursday at Stith Funeral Home, Junction City
Funeral Service: 1 p.m., Friday at Stith Funeral Home, Junction City
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Robert Delton Taylor, 73, of Danville died at his residence Thursday, September 1, 2022. Robert was born in Danville on August 7, 1949, the son of the late Daisy Durbin and the late Haskeu Taylor. Robert graduated from Boyle County High School. On August 15th, 1967, just eight days after his 18th birthday, Robert enlisted in the United States Army and entered basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky, receiving high honors upon graduation. He completed his advanced training at Fort Dix, New Jersey and graduated with high honors. Landing in Viet Nam on January the 5th of 1968, his duty assignment was in Long Bien as military transport. Within 6 months of his arrival in Viet Nam he achieved the rank of E-5 with high honors while serving with the 1st Armored Division, nicknamed “Old Ironsides.” This duty assignment was that of convoy escorts for the Big Red One, the Green Beret, Special Forces, ammunitions transport, food and toxic waste all over South Viet Nam to the Cambodian border. All of this service was in 1968 during the TET offensive, where the United States forces experienced the greatest fighting. Robert was one of twenty to survive an attack on his convoy in Hobo Woods. One of his fellow soldiers was captured by the Vietnamese and the first Prisoner of War to be released after the Paris Peace Talks. Robert was the recipient of the President’s Citation Award, the National Defense Service Medal, the Viet Nam Campaign Medal, the Viet Nam Service Medal, the Army Combination Medal with 60 Device and Two Overseas Bars.
Robert was a life member and volunteer in the VFW and a member of the American Legion serving as Service Officer for both organizations for over 15 years. This was one of his life’s greatest joys as his job was to assist fellow veterans from providing transportation to treatment, assisting veterans in obtaining benefits to organizing fundraisers and helping them with daily living: grocery shopping, giving them haircuts and building handicapped ramps. Robert was a member of the Franklin Masonic Lodge in Danville and a member of the Oleika Shrine Temple in Lexington, Kentucky.
Robert began his work career under the guidance of his brother in law, Edward “Whitey” Young at a very young age doing drywall construction. Robert continued in this field of work and expanded to acoustical ceilings and metal studs. These endeavors led him to spend several years constructing many of the State of Kentucky office facilities in Frankfort, Kentucky. This career led him to work all over New England for several companies managing over 200 employees. While enjoying the New England area, he had what he related as one of the most interesting experiences in his lifetime. He met Rose Kennedy and enjoyed several conversations with her about life and her philosophies.
Robert met and married his first wife, Judy, while working in Frankfort. They had one daughter, Cynthia. Judy and Cindy both loved horses and Robert supported Cindy in all of her equine endeavors. She became an accomplished horsewoman at a young age showing 5-gaited Saddlebred horses. Cindy was the apple of her father’s eye.
Robert began hunting when he was seven years old with his father who was a lifelong coon hunter. His father had a Redbone that was a fantastic coonhound. Robert fell in love with coon hunting and he told his dad he wanted a pup. Robert’s dad bought him a red and white ticked pup that Robert named “Rowdy.” By the time Rowdy was 9 months old, he was beating all of the men with their older, good hounds. Robert was hunting with his friends one night and Rowdy and the raccoon he was chasing were killed by a passing train. Robert cried for days and said he would never hunt again after losing Rowdy. Robert’s father found a pup from this same cross awhile later and Robert hunted him for four years. When Robert was twelve, he sold this English dog to buy his school clothes and books. From then on Robert would get an English pup every spring, train the pup over the summer and sell the pup in the fall to buy his school clothes and books until he was 18 years old.
Upon his return from Viet Nam, Robert hunted as much as he could and heard of a dog named, Hard Time Speck. Robert thought he was the best dog he had ever hunted with. From the moment Robert hunted with Speck, Robert bought every Hard Time Speck dog he could get. He finally got a male pup that he named, Hard Time Cotton. In 1983, Robert was working in Beaumont, Texas where hunting was limited. Robert decided to take Cotton to the Texas State Championship in Fairfield, Texas. Cotton was the high scoring English dog of the hunt. After the Texas state hunt, Robert began competition hunting. In later years, Robert moved to the Woodstock bloodline of hounds because they carried the blood of Hard Time Speck. One of the finest dogs Robert ever owned was another Woodstock Grizzly sired dog named Rockin’ Rowdy. Rockin’ Rowdy went on to obtain the title of Grand Nite Champion title Rockin’ Rowdy and as GRNITECH Gross’ Rockin’ Rowdy sired a lot of top-notch English hounds. Through the years of competition hunting, Robert handled many good English dogs for himself and other people. Robert handled Woodstock Redbud 75 and won Autumn Oaks’ Nite Champion Hunt in 1997.
Around 2000, Robert found another English pup called Razor that was by Woodstock Grizzly. Robert met a new girl that wanted to go hunting, so he took her hunting with Razor and he treed a coon. Robert then sold Razor. This sale did not suit his new girlfriend very well. This new girlfriend went on to be Robert’s wife, Lesa. Lesa was not happy without a dog. Finally, when Robert suffered a heart attack in 2006, Lesa kept insisting he find a dog for exercise. After going through a couple of hounds, that really weren’t what Robert wanted, in 2008, Robert bought a Woodstock Grizzly puppy that Lesa immediately fell in love with. His name was Watson’s Boogie Man-because Lesa of course, claimed him. Unfortunately, Boogie Man was mistakenly neutered. Robert did not think Boogie Man would ever be any kind of a hound. Finally, Robert found another male pup by Woodstock Grizzly that would be named, Taylor’s Rasputin. Against all the odds, Watson’s Boogie Man went on to be the first neutered, UKC Nite Champion and Grand Show Champion in UKC history. Rasputin was a puny, sickly pup, but boy did he snap out of it. Rasputin went on to make history by becoming a UKC Grand Nite Champion in 8 hunts, drawing no minus by the age of 18 months and Taylor Made English Kennels was born. Lesa insisted that Rasputin was not only a good hunting dog, but a well-made hound, too. She snuck off and started showing Rasputin, winning all of his shows, making him a Grand Show Champion. Next on his bucket list, Rasputin became an ACHA Youth World Hunt Champion, Grand Nite Champion, Grand Show Champion, AKC Show Champion and earned his HTX title. Because of Boogie Man and Rasputin’s accomplishments, Robert and Lesa went on to establish a breeding program with Rasputin as the foundation sire believing that Rasputin could positively promote the English breed. Rasputin is the sire of many outstanding and accomplished hounds in all registries, from the woods, the show ring, field trials, water races to big game across the United States and in South Africa. Robert was honored to walk behind and along with some of the finest hounds in the English breed. Rasputin and Robert enjoyed Robert’s last days laying around watching Gunsmoke and the Andy Griffith Show.
It has been said many times that Robert never met a stranger. And, truer words have never been spoken. No matter where he went, he knew someone who knew someone with whom he was talking. His wife, Lesa, always said he should have gone into politics, because he could work a crowd like no other.
Robert was a talented musician who played the piano and guitar by ear. He was given his piano beginnings by his grandmother, Eula Taylor from the time she could get him to sit on a piano bench. Robert was an avid fisherman that always seemed to hog the hot spot in the boat with the trolling motor. He enjoyed his weekly golf scramble group that played at Old Bridge and then, would go to different golf courses throughout the state and just have fun.
Beyond Robert’s service to his country, his wonderful career and phenomenal achievements with his hounds, he was most proud of his grandchildren and their individual outstanding achievements.
He is preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, Joyce Mullins, Mary Jo Young, Gleah Willoughby and a brother, Harold Taylor, step-sisters, Jan and Jeanie Prewitt and a step-brother, Darrell Routin.
Robert is survived by his wife, Lesa Watson; a daughter, Cynthia Diaz, a grandson, Dylan Diaz and a granddaughter, Olivia Pearce, a brother, Glen Taylor, step-sister Jamie Prewitt and four step-brothers, Jerry Houck, George Routin, J. E. Routin and Kevin Routin. Along with, numerous nephews and nieces that he loved dearly.
Visitation will be 4 – 7 p.m. Thursday at Stith Funeral Home, Junction City with Masonic Rites at 6 p.m. by Franklin Lodge #28 F&AM.. The funeral service will be 1 p.m., Friday at the funeral home. Burial will follow in the Junction City Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Dylan Diaz, Thomas “Pete” Young, Brian Young, Rick Laird, Brent Willoughby, Eric Coffman, Richard “Trey” Biller. Honorary pallbearers: Teresa Routin, Jerry Pass, Ralph Coulter, Carl Gwinn, Gary Wayne Phillips, Robert Mitchell and Dwayne Taylor.