Mark Taylor passed away January 18. Mark was a video editor / producer who spent most of his 20 years at WAGA working the morning shift. He suffered a heart attack while seated in his chair in edit room 8, and his coworkers and paramedics were unable to revive him. He was 54.
It was a very dark day at WAGA. Taylor may have been the nicest man to ever work in TV news.
The morning of his funeral, a short speech formed in my mind. There was a succession of heartfelt speeches from his friends and family, delivered in front of 500 people or more. I lost my nerve and never got up, but in hindsight I wish I had. So here goes.
Yesterday, I had a phone conversation with former WAGA photographer Robert O’Brien. Like me, Robert worked with Mark Taylor for most of his twenty years at WAGA. Robert lives in Charleston now and regrets he couldn’t be here. We talked about Mark, and Robert kinda nailed it. I’ll relay it in the first person because it reflects my experience with Mark, and the experiences of a lot of us who worked with him.
I spent much of my career asking favors of Mark Taylor. I would ask him to edit my stories. I would ask him to provide snippets of file video for me to take out of the building on stories we’d cover live. I would ask him to make difficult transfers from one video medium to another.
I would ask these favors of Mark and more often than not, I’d be in a desperate hurry. I’d be facing facing a 45 minute drive to a destination I needed to be at in 15 minutes. My mood was sometimes sour or surly, and I’d be asking Mark to make me look good.
Mark unfailingly did the favors I asked of him, and always with a smile. He not only did it with respect to my deadlines, but in spite of my mood swings. He was the unfrazzled guy who took the chaos of the day and lunacy of our business, and steadied it with good cheer.
Every single time I saw him, Mark acted like he was glad to see me. Always.
I spent a career asking favors of Mark Taylor, and he never asked me to do anything for him.
I am sorry he’s gone. To his wife Olga and his sons Mark Jr. and Ryan, thank you for sharing him with us.