Wilfred Taylor (W.T./Taylor/”Papa”) Riedel passed away July 2, 2019. He was born Dec. 27, 1921 in Yorktown, Texas to Wilfred Riedel and Martha Anne Riedel. Growing up, his chores included milking the family cow before riding his pony named “Veinte cinco pesos” to school. After school, Taylor worked as a soda jerk in the family drug store. In 1940, Taylor enrolled in college at Texas A&M. He was a member of the Field Artillery Band. When World War II broke out he enlisted in the Army Air Corp where he trained as a bombardier pilot and in 1944 was sent to Luden, England. During the war Taylor flew 35 missions as pilot of a B-17 Bomber, mainly over Germany. On his 32nd mission his bomber was hit by 88mm flack and he and the crew bailed out parachuting into Belgium. After the 35th mission Taylor was reassigned to the U.S. west coast in preparation to fly to the Pacific when the war ended. He then returned to Texas A&M where he completed his college education.
Taylor married Mary Jo Duderstadt, the love of his life, in 1946. The couple traveled to Mississippi together for Taylor’s first job as a teacher and then returned to College Station where he began teaching at A&M Consolidated. They had two sons, Mark and David, 13 months apart. In his teaching career, Taylor went on to become Superintendent of the CSID for 17 years. Taylor then spent 20 years in the banking industry, eventually retiring as the Vice President of First American Bank.
Taylor was a family man, very involved in helping raise his sons Mark and David, as well as generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and Jo were inseparable and the reference to them was “Papa and Jo”, seldom would one hear one name without the other. They were by each other’s side for over 70 years and every night in bed they recited the Lord’s Prayer together followed by a kiss and an “ I love you”. If you peeked into their room in later years, you would find Papa’s left-hand holding Jo’s right hand as they slept. They were a genuine example to those around them of true, unconditional love and partnership.
Taylor was a loving son, brother, spouse, father, grandfather, uncle, great-grandfather and friend. He treated people with kindness and compassion. Taylor and Jo relished many life-long friendships, especially with Leonard and Emma Jane Williams, Diana Tapley, the Alexanders, the Litterests, the Rausals, and many more. Together with their friends they enjoyed traveling the world as well as weekly bridge clubs and neighborhood gatherings.
He was preceded in death by his son, Mark. He is survived by his wife of 74 years, Mary Jo; his son David and wife Cathy and their four children: Jessica, Nick, Paige and Eric; his grandson Taylor; his brother Larry and children Jim and Carrie; his daughter-in-law, Karen; and his great-grandchildren Sterling, Mayla, Lane Taylor and in a matter of days another grandson, Anderson; his niece Jill; his great niece (and angel) Shannon and husband John and their sons Sam and Ben as well as his great-nephews Claude and Justin and great-niece Stacy.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m., Saturday July 13, at Callaway-Jones Funeral and Cremation Centers 3001 S. College Avenue, Bryan, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice Brazos Valley.