Dec 6

Hall of Famer and Fastpitch Committee Member Dick Taylor Passes Away

Dick Taylor was born in 1938 to Ruth and Sylvan Taylor. He had three brothers: Bob, Gail and Don. The family had a farm in Belle Plaine, and Dick’s stories of his youth are filled with farm memories and hard labor in the fields, which he hated.

He met Eunice Thompson at a dance in New Prague and was immediately smitten. They married in March 1962.

Although he registered at 18, due to some bureaucratic confusion, Dick did not do his military service until age 24. Private Taylor served at Fort Belvoir in Virginia, driving trucks and playing football. On weekends, he and Eunice visited the sights around D.C.

The two settled back in Minnesota and built the home they lived in for 53 years. RaeLynn was born in 1968, and LeAnn followed in 1970. Disaster struck November 1st, 1974, when Eunice passed away unexpectedly. Despite the norms of the time, Dick decided to raise the girls alone. He often described those times as the happiest of his life.

Dick was heavily interested in the Civil War and took numerous annual battlefield trips with treasured friends Denny and Elmer.

Dick loved ball since boyhood. He started with organized fastpitch softball in his sophomore year and his entire adult life was spent playing on and managing teams throughout the region. He was a catcher until age 40, and pitched after that. Summers were full of league play two nights per week, with tournament play on the weekends. The teams he played on are too numerous to list. After he retired, Dick stayed active on the State Men’s Fastpitch Committee, and still went to tournaments, keeping track of all the players he had seen develop over the years. In 2001, Dick was inducted into the Minnesota Softball Hall of Fame (see linked bio). “No one has made a more positive impact on Minnesota Fastpitch Softball than Dick Taylor,” State Softball Commissioner Perry Coonce said. “He abhorred sandbagging, and never hated to point it out when he saw it. He worked hard to make sure the game was played the right way. Dick will be sorely missed by uncountable people that he played with, coached, and mentored. To know Dick was to love him, and you did have to know him because he oftentimes had a pithy comment on his lips, and to the uninformed, he could take you off-guard. No one has ever gotten more out of the sport of mens fast pitch, and girls fastpitch for that matter, or given more back. A legendary figure in the annals of Minnesota softball never to be repeated!”

According to Softball Hall of Famer Ken Joyce, and his son Bud: “Dick was a great guy who always went out of his way to say ‘hello.’ Listening to Dick tell his stories or crack his jokes at various softball tournaments over the years was something to look forward to. It was always nice to see him ‘resting his eyes’ as he sat in his chair by the fields. The fastpitch community lost a great icon and an even better person. Everyone that had the pleasure of knowing Dick will miss him greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Fellow Fastpitch Committee member Mike Eveslage of Freeport added, “Our softball community has lost a great ambassador. I, and many others, will always remember Dick as a kind soul who was willing to stop for a friendly chat. My condolences to his family, and to all of us who called him a dear friend.”

Lastly, Doug Thomas of Henderson commented “What a guy, that Dick Taylor. Philosopher, historian, and mega softball fan, promotor and coach. Every men’s fast pitch tournament in Minnesota will miss him… because he made ‘em all! One heck of a friend and conversationalist.”

Dick was a consummate extrovert who loved to meet with old friends and make new ones. He loved a party, especially one in his honor. Thank you for your love and friendship to him over the years. He is certainly rejoicing as he watches us from above.

Services have been held.

Hall of Fame Bio: https://msf1.org/?p=16199.