Robert Watson Taylor, born November 13, 1945, died unexpectedly on January 25. Bob enjoyed summers with family on Hines Point, in Vineyard Haven. The Island instilled in him a lifelong love of sand, sea, and sky. He was happiest in or on the water.
Raised in White Plains, N.Y., Bob graduated from White Plains High School in 1963. He graduated from Wisconsin State University at Superior, where he was the faithful captain of the swim team.
After spending some time out west, he returned to the Vineyard where he married Kathy Davis. They had two daughters, Elizabeth Taylor of Essex, Connecticut and Kara Taylor of Martha’s Vineyard. After a brief time as an elementary school teacher he discovered a new career as an Electrolux salesman. Bob’s gregarious nature led to much success, which led him to his true passion of being near the sea. He earned a captain’s license and scuba certification and found work in the environment he loved. Over the past 10 years, he worked as a mate on the Hy-Line ferry and often spelled the captain in navigating to the Islands.
A beautiful, strong swimmer, he could be seen gliding along the surf as secure as any of the seals along the coast of Cape Cod. Or he would dive off the north shore of Aquinnah or Menemsha to supply friends and family with freshly caught lobsters, buckets of clams, or a fish he had just speared.
Of his memorable characteristics, it was his willingness to attempt to do the impossible, to challenge the elements that nature provided; he was a self described “thrill seeker,” aka “Sea Aqua Man.” Memorable expeditions included: sailing the sunfish to Nantucket for the night, or swimming from Lambert’s Cove to the shores of Naushon Island, or just plain walking the circumference of Martha’s Vineyard with a backpack and a portable raft.
His deep love of nature and his independent spirit stood witness to his lifestyle through his stories, essays, and poetry. Most recently, you could spot him riding his bike through Vineyard Haven with his five gallon buckets hanging from the handle bars, filled with clams, mask, and snorkel.
Bob is survived by daughters Kara and Elizabeth; two grandsons, Clay and Morgan; a brother Ted and sister Leslie; a niece and many nephews, cousins, and friends who will miss him greatly. His kind hearted, crazy wisdom and exuberance for life touched us all.
A memorial service will be held in the spring on Martha’s Vineyard.