Robert Peabody Taylor

May 22, 2020

I came into the world late in the top of the ninth when I slid home on September 24, 1945, preventing my mother from the burden of extra innings.

My run broke up a scoreless shutout, but Manager Walter E. Taylor and his Co-captain, Bertha D. Taylor would score two more times with runs by Roy B. Taylor and Todd E. Taylor.

Fifty-eight years later, I was living in Saudi Arabia, in the twilight years of a rich, rewarding existence that consisted of the realization of multiple careers that had made my time on Earth a blessing filled with enough joyous occasions to satisfy the needs of ten people, let alone those of a single individual.

Living in Saudi Arabia for a year will change your perspectives of the world. Four distinct weather seasons, united with personal freedom and Southern hospitality had yielded to perpetual heat, checkpoints and anti-Americanism.

It was a long way from the carefree days at East Mecklenburg High School where my world was a baseball diamond and the closest thing to an international experience was a Friday night pizza at the Open Kitchen in Charlotte, NC.

In my senior year I was named Mecklenburg County’s high school baseball player of the year, and before I turned 18, I signed a contract to play baseball professionally for the Braves, who played in Milwaukee back then. My pro baseball career did not last very long, just four short years, but those were my halcyon days at a time when the world was turning ugly in the midst of an unpopular war that was raging in Viet Nam.

Though hardly what you would call distinguished, my baseball life did have a few high spots. The first pitcher I ever faced in a real game was Steve Carlton, and I played against Roger Staubach during the first game I ever played in Spring Training.

I led the Western Carolina League in stolen bases for two seasons, hit a total of 6 home runs (just a few hundred less than Barry Bonds), played against Barry's dad, Bobby, played for Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson for two seasons in the St Louis Cardinals organization and played all 29 innings in left field in the longest uninterrupted professional baseball history; a game we lost, 4-3 and one in which I went 1 for 13 at the plate, striking out twice and grounding into two double plays while watching my batting average drop a whopping 118 points from .368 to .250 in one night.

At midseason in 1969, my franchise doubled when Jane Olivia Kuester of Charlotte signed on as my teammate with a lifelong multi-year contract at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.

Two years later, in 1971, the roster expanded again when Ashley Jane Taylor moved into the dugout.

Andrew Christopher Peabody Taylor joined our all-star roster in 1976. It was a line-up destined for greatness.

Ashley and her husband John Fielding Cantrell, realizing that with a moniker like "Fielding" it was necessary to maintain the tradition added Jacob William Cantrell in 1999, Sadie Taylor Cantrell in 2000 and Emma Claire Cantrell in 2002.

Andrew provided late inning heroics by bringing future draft picks to the squad when he and wife Allison Wagner Taylor scouted the up and coming star William Thomas Peabody Taylor in 2013 before bringing the most recent player to town, Olivia Adelaide Taylor to town in 2015.

If ever there was a true "Murderers Row" this was definitely it.

By the time I finished playing baseball and serving a stint in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, it had taken eight years to earn a BA degree in Communications from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but I didn’t mind that it took me twice as long as everyone else because I already had a lifetime of memories.

While searching for a career in broadcasting, I became a middle school teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System. At that time there were no cable television networks with 24/7 newscasts. MSNBC, CNN and ESPN didn’t exist. Former athletes were little more than dumb jocks who faded into society to live with their scrapbooks filled with yellowing newspaper clippings. I wanted to try something different by bringing a perspective to sports from an athlete’s point of view, and eventually WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, gave me that opportunity. Today, athletes turned commentators are commonplace, but at that time, it was a unique idea.

For the next 11-years I worked as a sports anchor, reporter, videographer, editor and producer. A documentary I produced, Diamonds are not Forever, about life in minor league baseball and the struggles to make it to the Major Leagues, captured a National Association of Television Production Executives (NATPE) award presented by actor Lloyd Bridges in Los Angeles in 1976.

Later, I wrote and produced an hour-long documentary about the history of Charlotte Motor Speedway called Twenty-Five Years of Tradition that won a bronze medal at the prestigious International Film & Television Festival of New York.

At that time, Charlotte was struggling with growing pains. The city lived in the shadow of Atlanta, and it had an identity crisis. The biggest sports in town were NASCAR, the World Football League, Double-A baseball and the Charlotte Checkers minor league ice hockey team.

To make us feel better about ourselves, someone coined the mythical phrase that we were a “World Class City.”    

It was a great time to grow up together. There was an innocence then that has long since disappeared and, in many ways, been forgotten. But times change, and so do cities. Everything is upscale now. Contemporary. Edgy. Charlotte has created its own unique identity, and the Atlanta shadows have largely disappeared.

After leaving the sports department, I became co-host of a live morning television program called Good Morning with Charlotte broadcasting pioneer Jim Patterson, a producer for Top O'The Day, a live noontime news/magazine program and a creative director at WBTV for the next four years. It allowed me to expand my broadcasting skills, and in the process, discover there was, indeed, life after sports.

I cannot say precisely how or when it happened, but at some point, during those four years, my interests widened to far greater horizons. At first it was little more than infatuation, but before long, it evolved into a passion. So much so that I gave up my commercial television career to discover more about people and places of the world through the field of video production.

I wanted to explore the world and to write about what I found. In the end, I also discovered myself. From that point forward, my career became a paid education. I underwent a personal global renaissance. I felt like a modern-day Marco Polo.

I rode elephants in Thailand. Met the king and queen of Sweden. Did white water rafting above the Arctic Circle. Slept in Bedouin tents in Lawrence of Arabia’s desert. Flew in the cockpit of the Concorde as it landed at JFK. Rode in the cabs of high-speed trains in Europe and Japan. Interviewed artists who knew Einstein and Picasso. Herded reindeer in Lapland. Swam in the Dead Sea. I was in Normandy on September 11, 2001; a profoundly moving experience.

To satisfy my need to share thoughts about a rapidly changing global marketplace, I also taught World Destinations at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and wrote occasional travel commentaries for WFAE.

I never intended to go to Saudi Arabia. It just happened. I needed work, and they needed a writer. I gave up a year of my life to be a project coordinator, writer and editor for Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest supplier of oil and natural gas at the time.

I had always wanted to live in another country, to immerse myself into another culture and absorb it through the pores. Saudi Arabia would not have been my first choice, nor would it have been my tenth or even my one hundredth. But I did it, and I am glad. I did it in a year when our country went to war and our city went to the Super Bowl.

Perspectives. Given the opportunity, the world will offer bold new perspectives.

In twelve months, I learned much about the way the world sees Americans and how Americans see the world. The Middle East is far more complex than I ever imagined. I may have given up a year’s worth of comfort, but I also gained a lifetime worth of insights.

It’s a long way from those baseball fields of so long ago. Writing and travel became my passport instead. It was a personal gateway to knowledge, adventure and the far corners of the earth. I sampled life on the other side of the globe, and it is just possible that I understood it a little bit more at the end. Even so, life was, and is, far better on this side of the planet.

I published one book titled The Century Club about my dream to travel to 100 countries and the parameters I used in my quest. I fell short by 17, so I was not able to write the sequel which I had intended to call Turn of the Century. Visiting 83 different nations during the last four decades of my life was still an achievement and though I am disappointed, I was truly blessed with countless life altering experiences and depart with no regrets.

I wrote, but did not publish, two other books; one was a daily account of life in Saudi Arabia called Saudi Arabian Diary. The other was a collection of essays about my battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease titled Living with ALS. There was also a small book of thoughts and pictures titled Kiss The Day Goodbye...Softly which sold about 2,500 copies.

Thomas Wolfe was wrong; you can go home again. Charlotte and I grew up together.

Robert is survived by his wife of fifty-one years, Jane Kuester Taylor; children, Ashley Taylor Cantrell and husband, John and Andrew C. P. Taylor and former daughter-in-law, Allison Wagner Taylor; grandchildren, Jacob Cantrell, Sadie Cantrell, Emma Claire Cantrell, William Taylor and Olivia Taylor; many nieces and nephews.  He is also survived by his brothers, Roy "Skip" Taylor and wife, Sydney and Todd Taylor and wife, Jan; mother-in-law, Betty W. Kuester; sisters-in-law, Kitty Cox and husband, Elliott and Sally Shaw; brother-in-law, Alan Kuester and his wife, Nora.

A family service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, May 29, 2020 at Covenant Presbyterian Church. The family invites you to join them virtually at or

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Joe Martin ALS Foundation, 100 N. Tryon Street, Suite 3420, Charlotte, NC 28202 or Covenant Presbyterian Church, Attn: Music Fund, 1000 East Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28204.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Barbara McKay

    /Users/barbaramckay 1/Desktop/Screen Shot 2020-05-28 at 10.33.12 PM.png. Just an example of our mornings together.

  • Barbara McKay

    This account of the life of an amazing man is such a joy to read! I feel so blessed to have worked with Bob on two shows ( This Morning and Top O the Day). He made them both memorable, not only with his talent, but with his kindness, thoughtfulness and fun. I didn't even mind getting up at 4 in the morning! I believe that he and Uncle Jim are having a blast together again. I am so sorry for your loss, Jane (and all your family), but thankful that you had such an amazing adventure with such a very special man. I look forward to seeing you soon.

  • Barbara Dixon Cohoon

    As a much younger cousin of Bob’s, I knew him as “Sandy” and our famous cousin who played professional baseball and a star newscaster. I too grew up spending our summers with my cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, grandparents in Dixon’s Grove on Big Island Pond. Our family connection was all being a Dixon. It was a special place with many family memories. One special memory of Bob was his smile and his great sense of humor. He will be missed. We’ll make sure we have a special celebration this Fourth of July in Dixon’s Grove in honor of cousin Bob/Sandy.

  • Bubba Susan Weedon

    Beautiful tribute!

  • Velma Langford

    It was a pleasure to meet Bob and Jane at the ALS clinic and to talk with him at several of the ALS events. He always had a big smile for me even though the day at clinic was long. I recently read that "Grief never ends...But it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith...It is the price of love". He will be missed by all who knew him. My condolences to Jane and her family.
    Velma Langford
    ALS Allied Team Respiratory Therapist

  • Shannon Schreiner

    I met Mr. and Mrs. Taylor through the VA at the ALS clinic and Home Based Primary Care. Mr. Taylor always had a smile on his face and a desire to maintain his social outings with friends. He talked about his blog and travels which was so very important to him. Mrs. Taylor was devoted to every detail of his care. She was his light! Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and Mr. Taylor. You and Mr. Taylor have a special place in my heart. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.
    Shannon Schreiner
    Home Based Primary Care Dietitian

  • Judy Ramsey Roberts

    I remember Bob Taylor from our high school days at East Meck, but it wasn't until after a group of old friends reconnected after our 50th high school reunion that I became blessed by knowing this remarkable man. This unique group has been meeting in person much more often than the normal five-year reunion schedule, but we have been pulled together even more regularly by reading the blogs sent out every week by the creative writer, Bob Taylor.

    His travel blogs were beautifully written and inspiring to everyone whether they actually got to travel with him or not. Many of our group went to Europe with him in 2018 -- after he was facing the challenges of ALS. Bob absolutely did NOT allow those challenges to prevent him from doing what he wanted to do. He moved forward with his life despite what most of us would think would keep us from stepping outside of the comfort and safety of our homes.

    This man had the most positive attitude of anyone I know. His weekly messages about life with ALS were always uplifting instead of discouraging. I was always encouraged by his outlook on life even though he could not do anything for himself physically anymore.

    Jane, you have been amazing with your love and support. God bless you and your family. Please continue to be part of our East Meck group.

  • Debbie Dempsey

    I met Ashley at Presbyterian main, we worked on the same unit years ago, Ashley informed me her mom Jane wanted to be my fb friend d/t we had some of the same views on politics☺️, anyway I never met Mr. or Mrs. Taylor personally but I am glad to be fb friends b/c I learned so much about their family and the love they had for each other and for their family, I learned so much about Lou Gehrig’s disease and the strength these two people had to just keep living their lives. ❤️ After reading this very interesting and impressive obituary of Mr.Taylor's life I just want to say how lucky you all were to have such a great person in your lives. I’m so very sorry for your loss and your whole family will be in my prayers....God Bless

  • Siobhan Johnson

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Bob and Jane over the past few years as his home Respiratory Therapist. I met him at the Charlotte ALS center and when his breathing tests indicated he needed a little help, our journey began with the ventilator and home breathing equipment. He and Jane were special and soon through home visits and conversations our Therapist/patient relationship became a friendship that I will always treasure. He introduced me to his travels and articles that my husband and I always looked forward to reading. Such an accomplished man. He will live on in the hearts of many and I am grateful that my life was graced by his. He will be missed.
    Much love, Jane, to you and your family.

  • Ann (Blevins) Lightsey

    Taylor Family, so very sorry for your loss of Dear Bob but such a wonderful example he did set for us all. Another Eagle has Flown and my heart and prayers of sympathy are with you all at this time.
    Ann (Class of 63)

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