By W.C. Lawson | From The Beacon
If students who find themselves standing restless behind the long line at the Commons coffee bar take a moment to look back to the end of the line, they might get the opportunity to see Michael Taylor solving a Sudoku puzzle or reading some philosophy.
Father of biology professor David Taylor, Michael comes to campus with David a few days per week. In the mornings, he reads the newspaper and solves mathematical proofs. In the afternoons, he will join with David for some lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee and befriending students and faculty members.
“I really enjoy learning. It’s a way to expand your world,” Michael said. “The larger your world is, the more you’ll take from it.”
Michael enjoys a frappuccino most days. When it’s cold, he will order a chai tea latte.
“He’s very environmentally conscious, he always uses his own mug,” junior Commons barista Rebecca Mion said. “He’ll even wait in the back when lines at the coffee bar are crowded until we aren’t busy to order his coffee.”
David and Michael moved here together in 2010 from their home in Hartford, Conn., after David’s mother and Michael’s wife passed away from cancer in 2009. They live together in a rented home here in Portland during the school year, and travel back to their home in Connecticut in the summers.
“After I got the opportunity to teach here at University of Portland, we made the choice to move out here,” David said. “And Dad is a firecracker, full of spunk, so he really was eager to get out and explore.”
A man of many hats, Michael has worked as a mathematics and general science high school teacher, a high school gymnastics coach, a volunteer scuba diver (before you could even buy a suit), a technician at an NBC affiliate television station and on an air force missile tracking ship in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In high school, Michael was on the swimming and diving team as well as a pole vaulter on the track team. He could even lift 110 pounds with one arm in a standing arm press, despite only weighing 150 pounds at the time.
“Dad has always taken care of the family,” David said. “At one point he worked four different jobs. He is a really hardworking and dedicated man.”
As Michael waits for his son to finish working, he enjoys his time on campus.
“It’s like a family here,” Michael said. “I am very impressed with the student body at this university. Here I see wonderful, sincere people, and am very fortunate to run into nice young adults.”
In between the days of coming to campus with his son, Michael receives dialysis treatments and does physical therapy. He currently is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. Despite this, he continues to remain active, leading meditation yoga sessions back home in Connecticut during the summer.
“We are a traveling team,” David said. “We are often referred to as the Taylor boys.” (both laugh).