Walter Griffen Taylor
Born March 10, 1919
in Longmont, Colorado.
Passed away June 21, 2002
in Eugene, Oregon.
A great man, a celebrant of life, has passed from this world, with deep loss to family, friends, and the community of man.
Walter leaves behind his wife, Margaret (Peggy), his brother Archer (Laverne), his sister Dorothy Higano (Norio), his two daughters Anne Chappe (Marc) and Tanya Nerland (Marvin), and his son Rodney (Elaine). He is predeceased by his other son Brian (Rose), and one grandson Gareth Chappe. There are eight living grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Walter lived an active life and was never far from the social forum, acting passionately to bring about change. As a young man he followed the dictates of his conscience by refusing to serve under arms in World War II. And later, as a conscientious objector he refused conscription entirely. He was performing other work of national significance when he was arrested for acting on his beliefs. While in prison for eight months, he discovered injustice within the penal system which he took steps to expose.
Back with his young family, Walt worked with Services for the Blind in Minnesota, later with the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia and New York. While working with the Seneca Indians in New York State, he was adopted into the Heron Clan and given the name “He Who Goes About Gathering the News.”
He marched with Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights era, was an early opponent of the Vietnam War, fought for the honouring of treaties, and related native land issues, sought to inform the public regarding the irresponsible use of chemical pesticides and nuclear arms.
Coming to Canada in 1968, he worked with the Children’s Aid Society and later with troubled youth in the Okanagan. From 1981 to the fall of 2000, he and Peggy resided in the Bulkley Valley where he worked with the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en as well as a number of organizations promoting peace and social justice. He dialogued frequently and intensely with a varied and intimate group of friends who shared many of his concerns.
Over his lifetime, Walt developed a deep appreciation for the cultures of aboriginal people and sought to transmit that appreciation and respect to those in power.
He believed fervently in the power of persuasion and poured heart and soul into a lifetime of letter-writing to various politicians, newspapers, magazines, and countless friends and relatives to convey the urgency of his concerns. His wife and children remember him late at night and early in the morning, seated at his typewriter, drafting and revising messages for those he hoped to influence.
In 1999 he fulfilled a lifetime dream by compiling his thoughts in a book entitled “Waging Peace for a Living.” This project drained him in many ways but also enabled him to pass some of his burden to others. He was, in turn, energized by the positive feedback and interaction triggered by the book.
On May 30th of this year, Walt and Peggy celebrated 60 years of marriage and recent weeks have been very special times of family remembrance. His final message to the world is that those who care should continue to work enthusiastically for positive social change. The family knows that he will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all who knew him well.
For those wishing to contact Peggy, her address is:
95 Knoop Lane
Those who feel a need to do something or give something in honour of Walt might consider a gift to: