Even though SunBird is filled with happy, friendly residents, there are occasions when sadness enters. We watch our friends permanently leave to be with family, observe others become seriously ill, and experience too frequently the death of a spouse or friend.
Regretfully, our Chief of Patrol, Ray Taylor, has retired after holding that position since 2007. While wishing him well, we may be thinking, “Ray, do you really have to leave us?”
In 1998 Ray and family arrived in Arizona. Before the SunBird employment, he worked for America West Airlines as a guard, a couple of golf courses, and even was a successful real estate agent.
Asked about his future plans, Ray said, “I’ll continue as I’m doing but maybe more exercise and workouts. It’s been a great tour of duty. I’ve enjoyed it all, even the few bad times.”
Mrs. Taylor will be joining him very soon as she retires from teaching. There are six children and 12 grandkids in the family.
Ray grew up in Royal Oak, near Detroit. He witnessed his first murder when age five. In early life, he worked a couple of years in a mortuary, assisting in the embalming. “I never really liked that work. I always felt sorry for families and the person who died,” he recalled. In addition, he was in the naval reserves for eight years, some during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
At age 26, he joined the police force. The work was interesting but dangerous. “I’ve since been shot, knifed, clubbed and hit with rocks in some riots.
He remembers once creeping around outside a house looking for a criminal when a loud shot fired behind him. Ray ran straight ahead and through a wooden fence. According to him, police work is composed of “hours of boredom and minutes of terror.”
Ray began his police career in 1968 and retired with rank of lieutenant in 1994 as Chief of the Detective Bureau. During that span of duty many interesting events occurred.
He was hugged by Dolly Parton, knew Gene Autry and Hop-along Cassidy. “Dale Rogers was a very nice person,” he commented
Being in the Presidential Guard Detail, he met Presidents Nixon, Ford, but cannot recall Carter.
He had conversations with Dr. Kevorkian, the suicide doctor, before arresting him.
He was acquainted with many famous professional baseball players at Detroit’s Tiger Stadium when he was guard for the team executives.
Ray, our residents will miss your dedicated efforts and monthly article with its summary of police events. The least we can do is thank you for the good care you have given us through the years. We all wish you God speed. You will still be around for coffee and conversation, won’t you?