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William D. Tayler

William D. Tayler Feb. 9, 1920 - July 19, 2013

William D. Tayler passed on Friday evening July 19, 2013 at the age of 93. He was born on February 9, 1920 to Sidney and Mary Tayler in Crookston, MN. A private graveside service was held previously. Memorials are preferred to the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, Children's Home Society of MN, or the American Legion.

Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1940 and was honorable discharged in 1946, serving exactly 6 years. He had a proud military service record and earned 17 Bronze Battle Stars and other awards. He fought in 27 total WWII Navy battles and 14 major battles including: Pearl Harbor, Wake, Midway, Marshall Island, Pago Pago, Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, Canton Island, Fiji Islands, New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Bora Bora, Adak, Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Majuro, Java, Sumatra, New Guinea, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Marcus Island, Iwo Jima, Chichi Jima, Ha Ha Jima and Philippines. He joined the Navy to see the world and see the world he did.

Boot camp for Bill was at Great Lake Naval Station with further training at the San Diego base. His first ship assignment was aboard the USS Arizona and later chose to transfer to the destroyer USS Fanning. Bill's last assignment was aboard the USS Missoula where he was the youngest Chief Petty Officer as Commissary Steward in the Navy at that time. He was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer just prior to discharge. He served 5900 Marines before they invaded Iwo Jima and oversaw 80 other cooks. He had stated he did his best to serve the best meal possible knowing that it would be the last meal for many of the Marines. His battle station was located directly above the galley as a gunman. Bill was witness to many horrible effects of WWII and lost the ultimate sacrifice of an only brother as a Navy test pilot. He was extremely proud to be an American.

After his honorable discharge from the Navy he fulfilled a career with Great Northern Railroad starting as a fireman in 1947 where he hand shoveled 15 ton of coal per day in steam engines. He became an engineer in 1951. After a full career with the railroad, he entered a retirement job with West Central Tribune until the age of 79.

Bill was known for his hard work ethic and many hours of volunteering by leading tours on Engine #2523, teaching many school age children and tourists the inner working of a steam engine at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society. He was also known for his gift of conversation and always willing to donate to dozens of charities. Attending the events of this grandchildren brought him much joy.

Bill lived most of his adult life in the communities of Willmar and Spicer. In the recent years, Bill enjoyed going for rides on his mobility scooter meeting many new friends in Belgrade.

He was a member of The Old Goats (of Great Northern), Burlington Northern Veterans Association, the Kandiyohi County Historical Society and a lifetime member of the American Legion and VFW.

Bill is survived by 4 children, 8 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, and a sister.

He will be missed by many in the communities he lived in and by many family members.