Oct. 15, 2022, William "Bill" E. Taylor Jr. (74) died at home in Port Townsend, Washington in the presence of his wife Margaret, his daughters Elinor and Katharin Taylor. Bill is also survived by his sister Ellen and brother-in-law John Prior of Cheshire, Connecticut, their sons and grandchildren.
Bill was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 11, 1948 to William E. Taylor Sr. and Elinor Costello Taylor, who valued education, patriotism and public service. Bill graduated from Catholic Memorial, College of the Holy Cross, Suffolk University Law School, finishing with a Masters of Tax Law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where he met his life-long partner Margaret Herrmann. Bill served as legal counsel to the Federal Election Commission and the US Capitol Police in Washington, D.C., before moving in 1985 to Margaret's hometown, Portland, Oregon.
With his sharp wit, prodigious memory, and pragmatic political savvy, Bill was an institutional mainstay in the Oregon Legislature for 28 years as senior counsel to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. He advised elected officials on legislation addressing complex legal, criminal, and social issues, including the nation's very first Death with Dignity Act in 1997.
After Bill retired, the Taylors went to Port Townsend. Despite cancer treatments, Bill kayaked, sailed, ran, walked his dogs, reading history voraciously, cooked for family and friends, and kibbitzed with friends and acquaintances. Bill enjoyed ribbing his friends ("good craic" in Irish parlance) and avoided "boring!" exchanges. He would wear a kilt, an offbeat hat, wig or carry a large, crooked walking stick to embarrass more introverted friends. At the Rhododendron Parades, Bill proudly carried the American flag to show the Democratic Party's commitment to patriotic values. He loved to listen to and advise his beloved daughters, Ellie and Katie, on academic, career, and, if warranted, other matters.
Fittingly, Bill used the Washington's Death with Dignity law to end his life the way he lived it: assertively, well-informed, among family and friends, with sharp wit and courage. He is sorely missed. If not for Death with Dignity, he would have lived his final few days bedridden with impaired consciousness.
Many thanks to the loving people at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Jefferson Memorial Hospital, Jefferson Hospice & Home Instead.
Please send memorials to the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, College of the Holy Cross, or the Oregon State Capitol Foundation.