Off the Press

February 28, 2012

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Bob Taylor, we will miss you far more than you can know

Bob Taylor. I had heard of him before I even met him.

Kathleen Merrill Press managing editor

He is a legend in the sports community, I am sure many people will tell you. I certainly will.

People at the South County Journal used to talk about him in hushed, reverent tones. He had been at the paper’s predecessor, the Journal American, for many years. And in his career, he worked nearly every sports beat there was.

His list of career highlights began in 1972, when he graduated from college and was hired by the weekly Bellingham Metropolitan. In between then and now, he has covered many teams, including the Seattle Mariners. There is no way I could do justice to his career in this small space.

I think nowhere is he more well-known and beloved than on the Eastside. He has worked here at The Press since 2000, covering prep sports. I was thrilled when I applied for this job and found out that he worked here.

When he emailed me his resignation letter on Jan. 25, I just stared at the screen for a little bit. Bob has been with me since the day I started here, and I have never had to worry about our sports section or coverage. Even when he was off for many months for a stem cell transplant to try to help him recover from cancer, he helped us stay in the loop and on top of our game.

Before his continuing battle with cancer began, he had to have open-heart surgery. I remember sitting at the hospital thinking about how the members of my staff were like a family and how devastated we would be, I would be, if we lost him. I remember times when he was sick when I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I’m feeling a bit like that now as I write this.

You see, it isn’t just about what he means to me on the job. Bob is one of the kindest, most pleasant, positive people I’ve ever met. In my life. He doesn’t talk badly about anyone, ever. He is literally never negative. Back when I first got here, his family included me in their holiday celebrations, because they knew my family was far away and they didn’t want me to be alone.

Bob and his wife are one of the few examples of pure and utter love and companionship I’ve ever seen between a couple. They’ve been married since 1976, and they’re still crazy about each other, really and truly in love.

Everything that Bob does, he gives it 100 percent. Really. He’s a great guy who loves his life and his God and his family and his friends and his co-workers. If you know Bob, you know every word I’ve said here is true.

Bob told me that he doesn’t want a big farewell — “Just a handshake will do,” he said.

I have always honored his wishes, but this time I think that would just be wrong. I know people in the community want to see him and have time to talk with him, even if just to say goodbye. So here at The Press, we’re having a community open house from 2:30-4:30 p.m. March 9, his last day at the paper.

I hope you will come and wish him well in his new endeavors, and tell him how very much he has meant to you in the years he has worked here.

If you can’t make it, I hope you will email me any memories or messages you have, so I can share them with him.

I can’t imagine what The Press is going to be like without Bob Taylor. I hate I’m going to have to find out.

Kathleen R. Merrill: 392-6434, ext. 227, or editor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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