Monday, February 14, 2011


Upon his return to his North Hollywood, California home Bill resumed his studies at UCLA, majoring in English. He continued to live at home and commute to the UCLA campus which was about 10 miles away.

Sometime in the fall of 1946, on a blind date arranged by his folks and their close friends, the Cottles, Bill met Marilyn Massie, a coed at UCLA who lived about a mile from Bill. Marilyn was not particularly impressed with Bill at the time, later noting that he was very shy and did not have much to say about what he had been doing for the previous 3 years. Bill did not call Marilyn for a second date. Some weeks later while walking between classes at UCLA Bill ran into Marilyn and invited her to join him in the cafeteria for lunch. This time, in a more relaxed, neutral environment Bill and Marilyn hit it off.

Nature took its inevitable course, and on August 31, 1947 Bill and Marilyn, with another couple eloped to Yuma, Arizona where they were married by a justice of the peace. Due to circumstances, I believe mostly because of the strong will and maternal dominance of “Mudder”, Bill and Marilyn kept their marriage secret until the summer of 1948 when it was no longer possible to conceal an obviously pregnant Marilyn. On Friday, August 27th, 1948 Marilyn prematurely gave birth to a son, Gregory Lawrence Taylor. He weighed 5 ½ pounds.

With the birth of their first son, Marilyn dropped out of UCLA while Bill continued his studies which culminated with his graduation in June of 1949. During this time Bill, with the encouragement of his father-in-law, an old navy man, enlisted in the Naval Reserve with which he served for 2 years.

On November 27, 1950 Bill and Marilyn’s second son, Philip Steven Taylor was born. To support his family Bill took a position in the credit department at Los Angeles based Richfield Oil Company. He would remain employed in the credit field for the next 25 years.

Bill enjoyed writing and wrote a number of short-stories which he submitted for publication, but to my knowledge none were actually published. He also dabbled in art, another of his talents. He particularly enjoyed silk screening. On several occasions he silk screened Taylor Family Christmas Cards. One time, to my delight Bill painted a picture of “Popeye” on my school notebook. When he was the “Den Father” to my Webeloes Cub Scout group my dad silk screened a drawing of the group onto tee shirts for all the guys. This was in 1959 when nobody had ever seen a tee shirt with silk screened drawings on it.

In the mid 1970’s Bill went to work as a Contract Administrator for the U.S. Defense Department where he remained for 10 years until his retirement in 1984. Prior to this time Bill, who was a teetotaler during his army days, developed a drinking problem which plagued him for a number of years. It can never be know if his combat experiences contributed to Bill’s alcoholism, but some studies have indicated that the incidence of the disease is no higher among combat veterans than the general population.

In early 1983 Bill came to grips with his drinking problem and after a 30 day hospital stay became an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous. He would remain sober for the rest of his life. As a result of his sobriety and program of recovery in AA Bill decided to become a certified drug and alcoholism counselor.

Sometime in 1985 Bill began to experience weakness and muscle spasms in his extremities. After a number of erroneous diagnoses it was determined that he was a victim of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Bill fought the incurable disease with great courage but to no avail and he died peacefully on June 29, 1987. He was 61 years of age.

In closing this tribute to my father I would like to add a personal note. Bill was a loving and wonderful father. Like most families we had our problems. For a period of time during my adolescence we battled a great deal, but as I matured I discovered that my father wasn’t as clueless as I thought. In fact, he was a man of great wisdom. I see many elements of that wisdom in his letters. As I stated in the introduction to this blog, Bill spoke very little about his World War II experiences. I believe that, like most combat veterans, he wished to put that part of his life behind him. On several occasions he spoke of what it was like to be in combat. The remark that remains with me beyond all else is when he said that as much as he might like to explain combat, it is impossible to really convey what it is like to face death on a daily basis and to kill another human being. I still have not fully come to terms with this remark, but I think that Bill did. Either way Bill Taylor, my father, is and always will be my hero.


  1. Greg, as a loyal reader for almost a year I just wanted to let you know I've enjoyed reading your dad's letters. It really gives it a different sort of prospective when you read first hand letters of a young soldier during war time. I know I commented to you several times before how impressed I was with your dad's articulation of his war experiences...and he was what, 19? These letters will be forever memoralized and will serve as a constant reminder of their heroic and valiant acts. I know these letters have been very important to you, and I know what a labor of love it was to rewrite each one of them. I am sincerely grateful to you for sharing them with us.
    I'll be finishing up my blog as well, and the last post will be difficult as you might imagine. Kindest Regards, Liz Bacher

  2. Dear Elizabeth,

    Thank you for your kind words. They mean a great deal to me. I know that we share the common bond of having fathers who served their country during World War II. Like you I feel that it is important that we who so benefited from their sacrifices and service never forget what they did.

    You really get the essence of what this project has meant to me when you describe it as a “labor of love”. Every time I opened one of those old envelopes my heart would race and when I read the letter inside it felt as if Bill was writing to me along with “Mudder” and “dad”. Even though my dad has been gone for over 23 years it is as if he has come back to life through the letters. Now, after over two years of opening, reading, transcribing and posting Bill’s letters there are no more to open. You are right, it is difficult. But I have the satisfaction of knowing that my father will live eternally through his letters. I am sure that you too will have that same satisfaction when you finish your father’s story. I will be reading along as you continue with your blog. Thank you so much for sharing his memories and letters.

    Best Regards,

  3. I checked out your profile after you posted on my Civil War blog. I also have one called Cooter's History Thing

    It started off as an all-history blog, but has become mainly a World War II one and I have gotten quite interested in it.

    Looks like with yours on your father that I will have quite a bit of reading to catch up with it.

  4. I thought this "blog" had a lot of posts until I browsed through your blogs!!! So I guess I have even more catching up to do than you.

    It's a task, but I think it is worthwhile to read through Bill's letters from start to finish. They cover his entire WWII experience from the first to last day. It is interesting to follow his evolution from an 18 year old recruit to a 20 year old veteran. It is quite a ride.

  5. Nice summary Greg. Kudos to you for your effort in publishing these letters. It's not only a tribute to your father, it's preserving and sharing a valuable chapter of U.S. history. Your friend, - Griff

  6. Thanks Griff. I feel privileged to be able to share these wonderful letters via the World Wide Web. Bill would be truly amazed to see his personal story accessible to billions of human beings. Knowing him I believe that he would approve. He was always interested in "cutting edge technology" especially in the area of communications, and he had a keen sense of history. Your friend, Greg

  7. Thanks so much for posting this blog. It provides a unigue and personal vignette on an important event in world history.

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  9. Greg, I'm New To Your Blog, But Am Looking Forward To Browsing Through Each Post. My Mother Passed Away Recently And Among Her Things, Were Letters Of My dad's That He Sent From Overseas. I, Too, Have Chosen To Publish Them On A Blog. I Have To Say, Your Father Truly Was "All That Good".

  10. Thank you for your kind comments. I hope I will get to read you dad's letters someday. To read my dad's letters in a more "user friendly" format please go to my updated website at:

  11. my Dad , John G. Schoenig was a guard at this camp. North East Pa is where he met my Mother. Happened to find this web site. Another Mystery solved.


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