Living Legend Times
Jack Taylor: A Living Legend ~ Leads by Example
Photo by Steven Halperson ~ Tisara Photography
Living Legend of Alexandria, Jack Taylor
by Sarah Becker
tsunamis nor earthquakes; shortages or recalls discourage Jack Taylor of
Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota from reaching his goals. Taylor—a
recent recipient of ACT for Alexandria’s Legacy of Service Award—is a
self-made businessman. Caring is how he is most often described. “Jack
doesn’t realize how many lives he has changed,” Gayle Reuter said.
Taylor is a personal friend of more than 30 years,” Alexandria Mayor
William D. Euille declared. “We
met on the basketball court on Lee Street. He is a very successful
businessman, a kind man with a big-heart.”
the type of person if you befriend him he befriends you,” Euille
continued. “He does unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
I used to play basketball everyday at the Lee Street Park,” Taylor
grinned. “But the Golden Rule, the credo?
If someone treats me well, I treat them well. If not, I try not to
hold grudges but I’m capable of doing it.”
who has the gold makes the rules,” Taylor finally decided.
shares his success because it is the right thing to do,” Euille
concluded. “He is about love, unselfish love.” Taylor is known for his
is a huge giving person,” Pat Miller agreed, “and not just
financially. He never puts himself first, loyalty comes naturally and he
is a tremendous friend.”
in 1946 in Washington, D.C. John E. Taylor, Jr. was raised in Falls
Church, Virginia. Jack describes his family as “fairly middle-class.”
His father was a political activist, a sheriff long-affiliated with
Virginia’s Byrd machine.
“My father spent a lifetime helping people,” Taylor recalled. “It seemed he went to a funeral very day.”
“We had our father-son issues,” Jack explained. “I was not a particularly good student. I was not well understood as a student and attended high school at Fork Union Military Academy. The Academy voted me most likely not to succeed.”
have Attention Deficit Disorder,” Taylor continued, “and was on
academic and social probation in college. I finally graduated from
Campbell University. The draft was actually a good thing.” Taylor served
in Viet Nam, a decorated member of the Army’s military police.
out of Viet Nam Jack started selling used cars, then built his Toyota
Empire here in Del Ray,” said Mike Anderson, Chairman of the Alexandria
Chamber of Commerce. “The best part is, along the way, he never forgot
the community that supported him. He continues his generous support
still today.” Taylor went into the car business in 1973, partnering with
Bill Page Toyota.
only way I could ever become school valedictorian was to become a
valedictorian sponsor,” Taylor insisted. “I have a strong interest in
children. The very old: the very young.”
of kids have issues when they go to school,” Taylor said. “T.C.
Williams High School represents 100 different countries. The school gets a
bad rap so I help with scholarships like the Ruby Tucker and Bill Nichols
scholarships. The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria is a core charity.”
Taylor also contributes to Capital Hospice, The Salvation Army and the
Alexandria Police Foundation.
leads by example,” explained Susan Yowell Executive Director of The
Scholarship Fund. “He understands that education is the key to the
economic viability of the community. We have recognized his many, generous
contributions with what we call the Jack Taylor Corporate Partner
Scholarship.” Jack Taylor knows how to effectively leverage Fund
contributions, including Toyota of North America.
don’t like the term give back,” Taylor said. “It implies I took
something. Alexandria Toyota gives because we can, from the heart and with
is Jack’s life lesson? “All my life, if I felt strongly about
something, I’d fight for it. Even if I thought I could lose. Stick to
your convictions. If you believe in something don’t be afraid; believe
in the strength of your convictions even if you fear the unpopular. If you
believe in it, believe it and then give back.”
1991 Taylor was among a handful of concerned dealers who established an
independent political action committee (AFIT PAC) to give dealers an
active voice in electing free trade oriented members of Congress.
Alexandria Toyota has the country’s third largest service
department and is in the top 10% of the country’s sales.
never satisfied,” Taylor sighed, “just very practical. Business—like
politics—involves relationships, especially if you want to get bigger.
I’ve always been competitive and only want to be as good as I can be.”
I were trying to recruit a major company to Alexandria, a company like
General Dynamics, then I would want the company’s decision-makers to
meet Jack Taylor,” said Shawn McLaughlin, former Chairman of the
Alexandria Chamber of Commerce. “You need look no further than Jack
Taylor to showcase the community, to understand its intangibles. He is the
type of person that makes Alexandria the special place that it really
never reach goal because I always have new goals,” Taylor concluded.
“Life doesn’t always give you what you want, it often gives you more.
Maybe I can’t change the world, but I can better the community.”
is Jack’s latest goal? “I want to die with dignity, and I want all
children to have the same opportunity.” Taylor said. “I’m just a
lucky guy who really cares.”
Writer Sarah Becker was nominated as Living Legend of Alexandria in 2007.
in its Fourth year, Living Legends of Alexandria is an ongoing 501(c)(3)
photojournalistic project to identify, honor and chronicle Alexandria's
Living Legends. The project was conceived by artist-photographer
Nina Tisara to create an enduring artistic record of the people whose
vision and dedication make a tangible difference to the quality of life
in Alexandria. The project is funded in part by a generous
donation from the Rotary Club of Alexandria.