Life Story for
Elmer Taylor, 68, a resident of Ketchum, died of metastatic melanoma on July 1, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Dianne, his daughter, Melinda, and her daughters. He is also survived by his sister, Lisa, his brother in law Kevin Dinwiddie, their daughters and their grandchildren.
Elmer came to Sun Valley to conduct a three week workshop in ceramics at the now defunct Ceramics Center at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. He and his wife purchased a small cabin before returning to Texas where they both taught at the University of North Texas (UNT). The cabin became Taylormade Pottery in Ketchum in 2002.
Elmer was a skilled fly fisherman and hunter and had many interests, but what was most important to him was teaching. He taught at UNT for over 40 years and was appointed Regents' Professor, an honor extended to few. In the School of Visual Arts, he was Professor of Art.
After he died, one of his students started an "Elmer Taylor Memorial Page" on Facebook. At last count there were 198 members, most of them students. Their words describe him best:
“Your ability to push us beyond our own boundaries was really powerful and it shaped me in so many ways." is a recurring theme. Another is, "You have always been a larger than life force with a great sense of humor, and creative energy that few can match." "How many pots have you made.....thousands, tens of thousands. That is what you taught, not with words but with actions." He mentored hundreds of students during decades of teaching. Many of them credit him with changing their lives. One of them wrote something that sums him up well, "Integrity, Industry, and Accountability are what Elmer Taylor embodied. And they are eternal."
At school, he was a mentor and teacher. At home, he demonstrated great love for his family and extended family in tangible ways. He was the one we depended on, and ! his early death leaves a void that we’ll never be able to fill.