Longtime northwest Colorado legislator John “Jack” Taylor died early Wednesday after contracting COVID-19. He was 84.
Taylor served 16 years in the Colorado Legislature, from 1993 to 2000 in the Colorado House and from 2001 to 2008 in the Colorado Senate.
According to a family email and postings on Facebook, the Steamboat Springs Republican was in an elder care facility recovering from a stroke when he contracted the virus and died of pneumonia. Taylor had a series of strokes back in 2013.
He leaves behind his wife, Geneva, who is battling pancreatic cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.
Taylor introduced numerous bills during his time in the Legislature, including several aimed at helping members of the military and veterans. He was a Navy man, and worked in the coal and real estate industries. He often is remembered for wearing his bright Navy white uniform on Military Day at the Colorado Capitol.
People who worked with Taylor in the Colorado Legislature called him a character and a statesman, someone who truly knew his district.
“I know the stroke slowed him down, but I’ll tell you, in his day his district and the state were well served by him,” said Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis, who served with Taylor in the Legislature back in the 1990s. “What I remember most about him was he drove an old yellow pickup. You knew he was in town because of that pickup he drove around.”
Like McInnis, former House Speaker Russ George, a Rifle Republican who served with Taylor, said he was a big defender of Western Slope water, and a great proponent of the coal industry, particularly the jobs it brought to his district.
“I thought Jack was the ideal of the honest politician, you just knew this about him,” George said. “He was there to do the work of his citizen constituents, and he never wavered from that. God, I treasured that and liked that. Anytime we talk about him in public service, that needs to be repeated because it’s so valuable and so important.”