SPANISH FORT — Emmett Lee Taylor, Jr. (“Lee”), a resident of Spanish Fort, AL, passed away on Dec. 12, 2018, surrounded by his loving family.
Lee was born in Sheffield, AL, on Dec. 10, 1938. He was a retired U.S. Navy captain, physician, and educator who devoted his professional life to his patients in private practice and later to the training and education of medical students and Navy medical officers. Lee was a lifelong mentor to many aspiring and successful physicians, and he was committed to improving access to primary care, especially in rural communities. He valued hard work, family, service, and duty to God and country, and passed these values on to his beloved children.
Lee graduated from Florence State College (now The University of North Alabama) in 1963 and received his medical degree from the University of Alabama in 1967. He completed 27 years of honorable military service, spanning three branches of the Armed Forces: the U.S. Air Force, Army National Guard (AL), and U.S. Navy Medical Corps, from which he retired as a captain in 1993.
After medical school, Lee started a private practice in the foothills of the Appalachians and later practiced in Richmond, VA. During his distinguished career, Dr. Taylor went on to lead the Department of Family Medicine at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, was the Director of Navy Medical Education programs in Washington, D.C., and served as Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. He later served as Associate Dean of the Amarillo campus of Texas Tech School of Medicine and finished his career as the Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.
He has received numerous honors and awards, including two Presidential Meritorious Service Medals and two Navy Commendation Medals. He also received the American Academy of Family Physicians Award of Merit for his contributions to American medicine. Lee was especially proud to be recognized as Teacher of the Year by his 2003 class of family medicine residents at the University of South Alabama. He was named 2001 University of North Alabama Alumnus of the Year. And in 2008, he was appointed by Governor Bob Riley to the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board, serving until his death.
Lee was active in his church and enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren at the family’s lake house. He was a loyal and loving husband to his wife, Dianne. He enjoyed fishing and was an avid golfer.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Emmett Lee and Eleanor McDaniel Taylor, and his infant daughter, Donna Lynn Taylor. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Dianne White Taylor, of Bay Minette, AL; son David Lee (Kerri) Taylor of Kennesaw, GA; daughter Kaye Taylor (Jerry) Balentine of Florence, AL; son Michael Edison Taylor of Savannah, GA; son Bryan McDaniel (Jessica) Taylor of Prattville, AL; and 13 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren who will always remember him affectionately as “Papa Lee.”
A service in celebration of Lee’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at Providence United Methodist Church in Spanish Fort, AL. The family will receive friends prior to the service starting at 12:00 pm. Following the service, military funeral honors will be rendered at a brief service at the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to The Salvation Army or Providence United Methodist Church of Spanish Fort. Expressions of condolence may be offered at www.hughesfh.com. Hughes Funeral Home in Daphne, AL, is assisting the family.