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Rockwell Couple Establishes Scholarship at Catawba College

October 19, 2004

Category: Academics, Alumni


Jack and Jackie Taylor of Rockwell have established a scholarship at Catawba College.   It will provide financial assistance to a student-athlete from Rowan County who is a member of the College baseball team and who demonstrates both ability and financial need.

The Taylors are both Catawba College alumni.   Jack, who grew up in Landis, is in the class of 1948 and Jackie, the former Jacqueline Bost of Rockwell, is a member of the class of 1952.   Both cherish their Catawba memories and saw the establishment of the scholarship as a way to help future students create similar memories while earning a college degree.

Jack Taylor remembered a player he coached in Little League who was able to attend Catawba thanks to help provided him through a scholarship.   “It made us think that if that kid could come to college, maybe we could do something to give another kid a chance at the same thing.”

Longtime supporters of Catawba, the Taylors are members of the Chiefs Club and attend many home athleticEvents, including football, baseball and basketball games.   They have regularly provided financial support and worked as volunteers during several of Catawba’s capital campaigns.   They also are regular contributors to the Theresa Linn Taylor Scholarship Fund, established by Jack’s sister, Theresa Taylor McSwain ’40 of Stanton, Va., in honor of his late mother.

“The Taylors loyalty to their alma mater is steadfast,” notes Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress.   “They support the college by attending various activities, and through their gifts because they care and because they are grateful for what Catawba has done for them in their lives.”

Jack himself attended Catawba on a partial baseball scholarship, pitching for the Indians under the direction of the late Coach Gordon Kirkland.   He also played basketball and football, but admits baseball was his first love.   He was recruited directly from Catawba to play baseball for the minor league team, the Atlanta Crackers.   And, that first taste of professional baseball set him on his initial career path as a baseball player pitching for similar teams for 13 years.

During eight of those 13 years while he continued to play baseball, Jack also “went into the five and dime business,” buying Noah’s 5 & 10 in Landis, a business formerly owned by his uncle, Dallas Noah, and establishing Taylor’s 5& 10 in Rockwell.   He and Jackie ran those businesses for 43 years until their retirement in 1997.

Jack was inducted into Catawba’s Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the Rowan County Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.   He was also honored in 1995 as the recipient of the N.C. Sporting Goods Merchants’ Association Heroes Award.

Jackie Taylor was also a very active student while at Catawba. She majored in English and was a cum laude graduate, as well as the Whitener Award recipient.   She was a member of the student senate and homecoming queen.   But, she says, she did not meet her future husband Jack at Catawba – she met him in 1944 when he was visiting relatives in Rockwell.

Jackie recalls Professor Elizabeth Scranton, as “a fine example of a college professor ” and of whom she was “a little bit in awe.”   And she remembers that Dr. David Faust was her favorite.

Jackie taught school for five years following her graduation before joining Jack in business.   She currently serves on Rowan County’s Landmark Commission and is active in the Catawba Raquet Club Tennis Team, which meets to play at the courts on the College campus.   She served as chairman of the Rockwell Library for 15 years, and was a member of the Rowan Public Library Board for 12 years.   She has also served on the Rowan County Social Service Board.   Both she and Jack are active in their church, Ursinus United Church of Christ in Rockwell, where Jackie earned the distinction of being the first woman to serve as president of its consistory.

The couple’s connections to Catawba are many.   They were married by fellow alumnus, the Rev. Dr. Dick Cheek ’47, in 1952 when Cheek was serving his first charge at Ursinus UCC. Their daughter, Lauren Taylor Madigan of Santa Monica, Calif., is also an alumna of Catawba, graduating in 1984.

In addition to their daughter, the Taylors were also parents to son Preston Taylor who, while a junior at N.C. State University, died in an automobile accident in 1979.