OGDEN -- Retired judge Stanton M. Taylor, who died Sunday of cancer, will be remembered as an unrelentingly positive man.
Taylor, 74, retired from Ogden's 2nd District Court in 2003 after 30 years on the bench. His tenure included the position of nose tackle on the Ogden Police Department's Pig Bowl football team.
His son, Blake, recalls his optimism staying with him to the end.
Seven weeks before Taylor died, he was told he would likely be lucid only a few more days and had little more than a week to live.
"He actually stayed pretty lucid and somewhat active for five weeks," Blake Taylor said. "About a month ago, Dad was commenting that he needed to order new checks. I said I'd take care of it.
"He said that would be nice ... He asked me to order four boxes."
Taylor passed away peacefully at his home, his son said. The judge was born Dec. 16, 1937, in Ogden, son of Clark W. and Florence Munn Taylor. He graduated from Weber High School and attended Weber State College on a football scholarship.
Following missionary service to the Eastern States LDS mission, he returned to attend the University of Utah. He finished his bachelor's degree, then completed a Doctorate of Law.
Admitted to the Utah State Bar in 1965, he was appointed an Ogden City Court Judge in 1973. He was named a circuit court judge under the old two-tier state court system in 1978, then appointed a district judge in 1988.
When he retired in 2003 he was believed to be the longest-sitting judge in the state.
"I'm going to miss Stan," said senior 2nd District Judge W. Brent West, who has served 27 years on the bench himself. "We came up through the ranks together."
West was a city prosecutor appearing before Judge Taylor in the 1970s.
West recalled Taylor's participation in the Pig Bowl league, a casually organized consortium of police departments who would suit up for full-contact football games in the 1970s and early 1980s. Taylor played nose tackle on the defensive line.
"Pig was a new slur at the time and they turned it around and made it a positive thing," West recalled.
Taylor's selection of ties was somewhat legendary, he said.
"He loved cartoon character ties. Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker," West said.
Judge Michael Lyon was appointed to the 2nd District in 1992 in time to see the twilight years of Taylor's career.
"He was not only a fine jurist with a big heart, but an exemplary public servant who consistently went the extra mile in service to the community," Lyon said.
Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson was working as a bailiff for three years during the 1990s in the district court when he met Taylor.
"I always enjoyed being in his courtroom," Thompson said.
Taylor was known for talking directly to defendants in open court, often for several minutes at a time,
Thompson recalled. "He would give patrons of the court what were, to me, fatherly discussions. He stepped a little bit out of his role as a judge.
"I don't know of any other judge who was more prone to giving those personal touches. He felt he could make a difference with people in a little bit less of an authoritarian role," he said.
Taylor is survived by two sons and two daughters, Scott (and wife Carolyn), Blake (Michelle), Kristy (husband Dwaine) Haws, Tara (Reed) Peterson; 11 grandchildren; two brothers, Blaine (Sylvia) and Robert (Jacque), and one sister, Sue (Dale) Butcher. He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Shirley Ann Stowers, and his grandson Taylor Haws.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Shadow Valley Ward Chapel, 5191 Old Post Road. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Utah Multiple Sclerosis Society, or to the LDS Humanitarian Fund.
Memories and condolences can be sent to the family at www.myers-mortuary.communication.