(SMYRNA, TN) Rutherford County lost a community leader last Tuesday (7/11/2023) when Rear Admiral Jimmy W. Taylor, U.S. Navy (retired) passed away. Funeral services were held at 1:00 o'clock Monday afternoon (7/17/2023) at Woodfin Chapel in Smyrna with the burial that followed at Roselawn Memorial Gardens.
During the burial services on Tuesday, the US Navy conducted an honorary flyover. A total of four jets flew over Roselawn on Broad Street between Murfreesboro and Smyrna... Taylor was born in Nashville on April 16, 1934 and spent a large percentage of his life here in Rutherford County.
Rear Admiral Jimmie Taylor of Nashville, Tennessee attended the University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University and graduated from San Diego State University. He obtained his Private and Commercial Pilot License and Flight Instructor Certificate from MTSU flight school. He taught flying prior to entering Naval Flight training in February 1957 earning his Naval Aviator wings in September 1958.
Taylor's aviation career spanned more than three decades with the majority spent in the cockpits of F-8 Crusader and F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft aboard most of the Navy's aircraft carriers. He completed six carrier combat cruises while accumulating over 200 combat missions. His career included numerous command and staff positions culminating with Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA), responsible for all flight training in the U.S. Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. This command position was also responsible for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and provided the unique opportunity to fly with them.
His distinguished accomplishments include the First fleet F-14 demo pilot, including the 1973 LeBourget Airshow in Paris, France. His performance in Paris resulted in a nomination for the Harmon Trophy, kudos on the editorial page of Aviation Week, and was the first recipient of Grumman's "Topcat" award. He served as Commanding Officer of the first F-14 squadrons to make a fleet deployment. While aboard the USS Enterprise in 1975, as commander of VF-2 , he participated in the first F-14 combat sorties during Operation Frequent Wind, which concluded our presence in Vietnam with the evacuation of Saigon.
Rear Admiral Taylor's specialty is aircrew training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has served with the Operational Test and Evaluation Force, the Education and Training Command, and the Air Training Command. The last 10 years of his naval career were spent as: Chief of Naval Air Training: Vice Commander, Naval Education and Training Command; Head, Naval Aviation Plans and Programs at the Pentagon; Commander, Training Air Wing Two; and Chief of Staff, Fighter and Airborne Early Warning Wing, Pacific.
He retired from active duty on July 31, 1991 after 34 years as a Naval Officer and accepted and served as the Vice President and Vice Chairman of Armed Services for the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce. The Tennessee Aviation Hall of Fame enshrined Rear Admiral Taylor in 2013. In 2018 the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame presented Taylor with the Fred Russell Distinguished American Award.
Local Service - Jimmy Taylor served on various boards and committees of the Smyrna Rotary Club, Meals on Wheels, Middle Tennessee Electric's Customer Care board, Habitat for Humanity, and the TriStar StoneCrest Medical Center.
Obituary - Rear Admiral Jimmie W. Taylor was also preceded in death by his children, Jimmie Wilkes Taylor II and Todd Lawrence Taylor; and parents, James Wilkie Taylor and Mary Steagall Taylor. Mr. Taylor was a member of Methodist Church and had attended the Highland Heights Church of Christ.
He is survived by his daughter, Tracey Elizabeth Taylor Conde and husband Alexander; grandchildren, Todd Alexander Conde and Ty Wilkes Conde; brothers, Rev. Garie Taylor, Judge Royce Taylor and wife Susan; nephew, Clay Taylor and wife Dr. Wendy Rosenbek; nieces Shannon Taylor Davenport and husband Terry, Cameron Taylor and husband Mark Woodcock.
Visitation will be 2:00PM to 6:00PM Sunday at Woodfin Chapel, Smyrna. Funeral service will be 1:00PM Monday at Woodfin Chapel, Smyrna. Rev. Garie Taylor will officiate. Burial will follow in Roselawn Memorial Gardens www.woodfinchapel.com
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