Michael Leroy Taylor, age 69, of Seattle, Washington, passed away on Saturday May 23, 2020 in Tacoma, Washington. He was born on June 26, 1950 to James Leroy Taylor, Sr. and Virginia Aaron-Taylor in Monroe, Michigan.
Michael graduated from Monroe High School in 1968. After graduating high school, Michael worked at the Arthur Leslow Community Center as a counselor and basketball coach. He later worked at The Detroit Edison Electric Company. Michael married Audrey Johnson, also of Monroe, Michigan, on September 9, 1977 in Seattle, Washington.
On December 8, 1984 he and Audrey welcomed to the world their only child, Kamilah Taylor. In 1975, Michael and the entire Taylor family moved to Seattle, Washington. Here, Michael attended South Seattle Community College, and worked at the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA and the Girls Club, serving Seattle youth through mentorship and enrichment activities. He also did public relations for the Randolph Carter Industrial workshop.
He later transferred to Washington State University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Black Studies. During his time at W.S.U Michael quickly became a known activist and leader. He became President of the W.S.U Black Student Union and was an active participant in the movement to protest Apartheid, forcing W.S.U to divest their South African holdings. After graduating from W.S.U., Michael left Pullman and moved back to Seattle, where he began his involvement and work in the Seattle community Throughout his life Michael showed a profound passion for community service. Beginning in the early 1980s and through the mid-1990s (for about 15 years), Michael served as the President of the Pacific Northwest Black Community Festival Association.
His mission was to strengthen Seattle’s Black Community through mentorship, entrepreneurship, networking and education. His message was “If we don’t think about the future, we won’t have one”. The Black Community Festival grew to be a part of Seattle’s Sea-Fair summer festivities, and featured the Black Community Festival Parade, the Black Community Festival Pageant, a Festival softball tournament, Festival Carnival rides, and culminating with a weekend Picnic at Judkins Park, which featured live bands, vendors, food and other events. After his presidency ended, Michael went on to become an advisor to the Black Festival organization and was a part of efforts to revitalize its presence within the Seattle community. He was also a member of the MLK Lodge No. 65 of the Free Masons.
Michael was employed by The Boeing Company, and after his retirement, he was able to spend more time with the family and friends he loved. He was passionate about getting dressed up in African attire while carrying his large “Moses” stick, suits, bow ties and signature hats, and he liked to hang out at the local cafes, coffee shops and community events. Michael would hold conversations with everyone. He loved to play dominoes with friends and family, ride around the city “people watching”, and, most importantly, he loved to dance. He would dance “at the drop of a hat”, even if there was no music playing!
Michael had a larger than life personality and developed a personal connection with everyone he encountered. He was affectionately known as “Uncle Mike” to many people throughout the Seattle community. There never seemed to be a moment when he was in public that he did not run into someone he knew. Michael truly loved life, his family and his community.
In lieu of a ceremony the Taylor family will be holding a two-day public viewing honoring the memory of Michael on Friday June 12, 2020 from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM, and Saturday June 13, 2020 from 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM. The viewing will be held at Columbia Funeral Home and Crematory in the Main Chapel located at 4567 Rainer Ave South, Seattle, WA 98118.
Michael is survived by his wife Audrey Johnson-Taylor, daughter Kamilah Taylor, three sisters Sandra (Owen) Craft, Lynnette Taylor and Sheila Taylor; his maternal Uncle and Aunt Philip and Gladies Aaron of Bellevue, Washington, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his father, James Leroy Taylor, Sr.; mother, Virginia Aaron-Taylor; brother Gregory Allen Taylor Sr. and brother James Leroy Taylor, Jr.
The Taylor family would like to express their sincere appreciation for the love and support provided by the Seattle community, relatives and friends at this time. Cards, notes and letters of condolence can be sent to:
Audrey Johnson-Taylor 1018 South 23rd Street Tacoma, WA 98405