David R. Taylor III, Esquire Inducted 1999 - Class of 1967
In 1979, the popular Toledo Blade "Town Talk" feature column was entitled "Woodward Alumni Sparkle". Well-known reporter Don Wolfe celebrated Woodward’s 50 year anniversary by stating that Woodward "can look with pride upon its sons and daughters." Included in the impressive list of "who's who" Woodwardites was David Taylor. David sparkled then and sparkles now. Tonight, we have the distinct honor of adding another STAR, David R. Taylor, to the Woodward Hall of Fame.
David grew up in North Toledo on Maywood Avenue, bounded by Stickney and Mulberry streets. "It was a middle class neighborhood." During David's years at Woodward, his best friends were David "Julius" Simko, Henry "Skip" Mays, Roy Fields, Anthony "Tony" Kyles, Adrian (Brooks) Washington and Madelyn Hughley (now known as Mumbi Williams Carter).
The influence of numerous Woodward teachers and administrators contributed to building and reinforcing the foundation of David's successful career. "Robert Geiss brought such energy and
humor to the classroom that no one dared to come to class unprepared. Belle Joseph had such patience and understanding with students that made a very difficult subject, Trigonometry and Solid Geometry, much more endurable. Donald Bahna brought such preparation, commitment and appreciation for the subject matter, which was both an inspiration and motivating factor for me. James C. Caldwell, our senior class advisor, had a no-nonsense, yet serious, caring attitude about students. He attempted to make us understand the real, serious issues, which awaited us after high school. He also instilled in us the need and importance of being thoroughly prepared. His statement that “the only color that matters is green” was a classic pronouncement on economic security. Marie Williamson brought such style, grace and professionalism to Senior English that made me not want to miss a single class period the entire year. Edwin Boblitt, whom we affectionately called 'Mr. B' , was a sheer joy. He had the respect and admiration of all the students. Patricia Perruchon brought such a warm, friendly and caring spirit to her homeroom students that made you feel good on bad days. She always had time to listen to your concerns and to offer good, non-Judgmental advice. I really miss her.". . .
David's most humorous high school experience was being sold as a slave as part of the Junior Classical League (Latin Club) induction process. "I sold for 75 cents and felt that the buyer, Margaret Wakefield Odoms, had grossly overpaid for my services." Significant things which happened to David in high school were being selected as a member of the Aquatatis Literary Society and being named recipient of the Howard Phipps Memorial Award for "Best Four Year Latin Student" on Recognition Day. David's favorite memory of Woodward was graduation night. "As I walked up to receive my diploma, my counselor Frank Gwozdz said that it was a pleasure to have had me at Woodward, and that he wished all his students were like me. That made me feel proud."
After leaving Woodward, David attended The University of Toledo, where he received his B.A. degree in 1971, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Economics. At that time, he received special recognition as the first youth to receive a scholarship from the Institutional Youth Guidance League, which led to his graduation. In 1974, David received his J.D. Degree from The University of Toledo College of Law. As a law student, his leadership skills were apparent, as he was elected President of the Student Bar Association.
David's licensures include admission to practice before both the Ohio Bar and the U.S. District Court. In 1976, he became the first African-American Attorney Referee appointed to Lucas County Juvenile Court, hearing traffic, juvenile and domestic relations cases. Following that, he served as a Referee in the Domestic Relations Division of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas. In 1980, he was named Chief Referee of Domestic Relations Court. He was the first African-American to occupy this post. In 1984, David went into private practice as a partner in the firm McConnell, Taylor & Tolliver, specializing In civil litigation (areas of divorce) and Probate personal injury cases. Since 1990, David has been a partner in the firm McConnell & Taylor.
David's other accomplishments include a 1982 appointment to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board by former Judge Andy Devine. The Board's charge was to work on a proposal for local treatment of young offenders formerly sent to state penal institutions. In 1989, Mayor John McHugh appointed David to the Committee on Race Relations. The purpose of this Committee was to study and address problems related to race relations. In 1992, David received another mayoral (John McHugh) appointment, this time to the First Charter Revision Committee. David was also a co-founder (With Lafe Tolliver) of The Thurgood Marshall Law Association. The purpose of the association was to provide a forum for exchange of ideas on issues facing black attorneys and the black community.
In 1997, David was elected President of the Toledo branch of the NAACP. Prior to being President, David had been a member of the NAACP for 20 years, and served on the Executive Committee for 15 of those years. As President, David promised that the Toledo Branch of the NAACP would be more visible to the community in the years to come. Since his induction, David has spoken out on a number of high-profile incidents demanding the public's scrutiny and attention. Among them was a situation involving the Toledo teachers' union and the African-American principal of an elementary school. David expressed concerns related to racial divisions within the school. David also called for further investigation by the US Justice Department of the Ottawa Hills police department for alleged racial bias in unfair harassment of African-Americans over a period of years. Late in 1998, David helped screen finalists for the Police Chief of the City of Toledo. Although the candidate chosen was not David's first choice, he seized the opportunity to articulate his opinions and concerns. David has emphasized the critical role of the NAACP in economic empowerment of African-Americans. "To me, the new frontier in civil rights has to be economic development. We have to make our dollar do quadruple duty in our community. The business of civil rights has become so sophisticated. You cannot be a dinosaur.” David has also been a featured speaker at the Million Man March African-American Leadership Summit, where he spoke on the legal system and its effects on black males. Recently, David concluded his two-year term as President of the local NAACP. But that will not be the end of his service to the organization. "For me, the NAACP is a labor of love. You don't get paid, so it has to be a labor of love." David will continue to serve the organization as he has been elected to a two year term as First Vice President.
In addition to being a Life Member of the NAACP, David is also a member of the National Bar Association; Urban League of Greater Toledo; Giddeon's International, Inc.; The University of Toledo Alumni Association; and Kappa Alpha PSI Fraternity.
David is definitely a "family man". He is married to "a wonderful lady", Mary Jo'Ann Carrigan. They have six children. He credits his mother, Shirley L. Swan Williams with being an inspiration. "I thank God for my mother, herself a graduate of Woodward and a member of its National .Honor Society. As a single parent, she made tremendous sacrifices, gave me inspiration, and instilled in me a sense of values which has benefited and guided me In my life.
In his leisure time, David does a lot of reading ... mostly non-fiction books Christian literature and professional articles. "I also love to enter contests and sweepstakes and have been very successful. David and his wife enjoy traveling, visiting cities both across the United States and abroad. Their goal is to collect a cup and saucer from a city in each of the 50 states and all the Caribbean countries. While at Woodward, David answered to the nickname "Touga" (pronounced Toog - Guh). "This nickname was given to me as a young toddler by a paternal aunt, Peazie Cromwell, whom I never had the pleasure of knowing. The nickname remains today."
David's reaction to being elected to the Woodward Hall of Fame was one of surprise, delight and humility "that the committee would consider myself and my life worthy of induction along side of some truly great and respected graduates.”
David was nominated for the Hall of Fame by a fellow inductee, Carolyn Lake Yenrick. She said, "David exemplifies a noteworthy 'North End, Woodward wholesomeness' that merits serious consideration. A review of Mr. Taylor's credentials will indicate his many contributions to his community. For these donations of time talent and energy I nominate him for the Calvin M. Woodward Hall of Fame." Well put: Carolyn! As the author of this biography, I couldn't have said it better myself. Congratulations, David!