Gary N. Taylor, 80, of Selbyville, Del., died peacefully at home on May 11, 2023, surrounded by his family. He was born Oct. 19, 1942, in Plainfield, N.J., to Marjorie and Ralph Whitehouse Taylor.
A kind, humble, generous-spirited man, he touched many lives in positive ways. He will be missed, remembered, and long admired by many — near and far. He was grateful for his family, friends, colleagues and neighbors who brought him so much joy during his long life of 80 years. He touched many people’s lives with his keen skill for listening, supportive, caring and fun-loving nature, dad-joke humor, and passion for science and nature.
Taylor attended Wardlaw Country Day School in Plainfield, N.J. With inspiration from a teacher who noticed he was particularly talented in chemistry, he went on to complete his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Princeton University (Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude), his master’s and doctorate in chemistry from Yale University, and post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology.
After completing his graduate work, Taylor returned home to New Jersey and went on to enjoy a long and accomplished career as an organic chemist and materials scientist. His contributions to science have touched the lives of everyone who has ever used a computer, cell phone or a solar-powered calculator. For 25 years at AT&T Bell Labs, his research was focused on micro-lithography, the surface chemistry of computer chips. He was a lead author and contributor to numerous journal articles and patents, many of which defined processes and materials to enable computer chips to run smaller and faster and development of “eye to eye” video-phone.
After retiring from Bell Labs, he continued to contribute to scientific innovation, spending nine years with Shipley/Rohm & Hass in Marlborough, Mass., and three years at Pennsylvania State University as a senior nanoscale scientist.
Upon retirement to Selbyville, Del., Taylor turned his technical expertise to helping preserve and protect the local environment. He served on the technical advisory board for Delaware Center for the Inland Bays. A committed scientist, he got up before sunrise many, many mornings to take water samples from collection points along the Delaware shoreline. The data points for oxygen, bacteria and algae he gathered helped to inform important decisionmakers and members of the community who live around and enjoy those critical water systems.
Although Taylor had many contributions to science, the most important thing to him was his loving family and his sweet cat Refuge.
Taylor met the love of his life, Linda, during college. They married in August 1964, just before moving to New Haven, Conn., for him to start graduate school. They were blessed with three wonderful children, Stefanie, Kimberly and Craig, whom they felt fortunate to raise in New Jersey near loving relatives. As a family, they especially cherished many, many summers at Linda’s parents’ beach house in Seaside Park, N.J., and during retirement at Assateague National Park and Ocean City, Md., beaches.
After retirement, Gary and Linda Taylor moved to Selbyville to be near the Atlantic Ocean beaches and to their daughter Kim’s family, who have a summer home nearby in North Ocean City, Md. During this time, Taylor was a member of the St. Matthews by-the-Sea United Methodist Church in Fenwick Island, Del., where he always enjoyed a good sermon and fellowship, and participated in the men’s group, missions and Bible study.
Taylor was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Marjorie Taylor; and his father in-law, Robert Weiss. His mother in-law, Lorraine Weiss, also passed away on May 11, 2023. Taylor is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Linda; daughter Stefanie Strand and her husband, Jeffrey, and his grandson Gavin, of Annandale, N.J; daughter Kimberly Taylor, her husband, Mark Mather, and his grandsons Benjamin and Samuel of Bethesda, Md., and Ocean City, Md.; son Craig Taylor of Selbyville; brother Michael Taylor of Chesterfield, Ind.; sister-in-law Janice Olmsted and her husband, Richard, of Chatham, N.J.
In lieu of flowers, family suggested contributions to Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (inland-bays.org) and St. Matthews By-the-Sea Church (smbts.org). Condolences may be sent online to melsonfuneralservices.com. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.