COLBY, Kan. Rodney Lee Taylor, 77, of Colby, Kansas, died Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at Citizens Medical Center in Colby Kansas due to an accident.
He was born Jan. 22, 1943, in Goodland Kansas, to Forrest and Dorothy (Scherff) Taylor. He grew up on a farm with his three sisters Cheryl, Regina, and Candace, and one brother, Barry. Though life was not easy in the 40s and 50s, he rarely had anything bad to say about his childhood. Rod loved all music, loved to dance, was very outgoing in sporting activities and working on the farm.
He graduated from Norton High School in 1961. He went on to attend Dodge City Community College on a football scholarship, as the quarterback, then later transferred to Panhandle State again on a football scholarship. While at Panhandle State, Rod met his wife, Judith Sutton.
After graduating college with a Bachelors in Physical Education and Business, Rod followed in his fathers footsteps taking additional training to become a highway patrolman. Rod and Judy eventually had a daughter, Regina, in 1978 and son, Jarrod, a year later. Rod and his family moved to Colby in 1981 where he has resided since. He worked with the highway patrol as a Master Trooper, educator and drug handler with his dog Trooper. The law enforcement duo seized millions of dollars in illegal drugs and drug money over the years and a story was published in a state and law enforcement magazine. Trooper and Rod retired together in 1997. Retirement did not suit Rod and continued his work in law enforcement as a deputy with the Thomas County Sheriffs Office. He eventually was elective sheriff of Thomas County for two terms before retiring again in 2016. Through his years, he enjoyed taekwondo earning a black belt status and placing nationally in tournaments, hunting, fishing, worked on the local school board and president of the school board, giving presentations to schools and community organizations, participating in fund raisers and instrumental in keeping ADAC open.
Rods greatest achievement was his family. Local lakes were frequented for camping trips typically including fishing, hiking and enjoying nature. As his children became older, Rod and Judy stayed busy running around to sporting events. Rod was a very caring man to family, honorable and always did what was right regardless of what others may have thought or pressure him to do. He was respectful to everyone, even those he just met, friendly to all and would go out of his way to help out a stranger in need. He did have his ornery side as there are various stories of he and his law enforcement buddies always playing pranks on each other over the years, especially his best friend, Scottie Legeer, who was a fellow highway patrolman.
Rodney was preceded in death by his parents; son, Jarrod Tank Shane Taylor; brother, Barry Taylor; and brother-in-law, Steve Sutton.
He is survived by his wife, Judith, of Colby; daughter, Regina (Brett) Suter, and daughter Aurora, of Colby; sisters, Regina Rydquist, of Colby, Cheryl Cooper, of Denver and Candace (Alan) Baird, of Jefferson City, Missouri; brothers-in-law, Bill (Gayla) Sutton, of Topeka, Kansas, Bob Sutton, of Canada, and Jim (Judy Lee) Sutton, of Colby; sister-in-law Karen Sutton, of Las Vegas, Nevada; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Visitation is 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Baalmann Mortuary, Colby.
Due to COVID precautions, masks are required.
A private family graveside service will take place at the Goodland Cemetery. After COVID is improving, Rodneys family will be planning on a Celebration of Life event in honor of him. Memorials are suggested to the Rodney Lee Taylor Memorial Fund, to be designated towards community improvements, and can be sent in care of Baalmann Mortuary, PO Box 391, Colby, KS 67701.
For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuary.com. As published in the Hiawatha World.