World War II hero Bertrand Taylor dies at 88


Bertrand L. Taylor III, a highly decorated World War II veteran and Wall Street financier, died of cancer on April 13 at his home in Alexandria. He was 88.

During World War II, Taylor served aboard two successive destroyers as gunnery officer; the USS Jeffers, which was the first major warship to lead the landing armada in the invasion of Normandy at Omaha Beach and the USS Harry F. Bauer, which participated in the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

The ship survived numerous kamikaze attacks and was recognized by The New York Times as one of the “luckiest ships in the Pacific.” The ship received the Presidential Unit Citation and Taylor was awarded a Bronze Star for his service.

Taylor was born on February 19, 1920 in New York City. He was the son of Bertrand L. Taylor, Jr. of New York and Paris, and Mary Isabelle Taylor of New York and Marthas Vineyard. His grandparents were Bertrand L. Taylor and Nellie Cadwell Taylor of Watertown, N.Y. He graduated from St. Paul’s School  in 1938 and from Yale University in 1942 with a degree in Economics. He was a member of the ROTC and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy.

Taylor’s father was a Member of the New York Stock Exchange from 1914 to 1940 and was the youngest Governor elected to the Board. Taylor followed his fathers footsteps and in 1947 started the B. L. Taylor III & Co. in New York, specializing in arbitrage.  He was a Member of the New York Stock Exchange until 1974.

After retirement, Taylor was involved in philanthropy, which included support in establishing the Cooper Hewitt Museum in NY. In 1982, he was knighted by the Knights Hospitalier Sover-eign Order of St. Johns of Jerusalem for his efforts.

Taylors aunt, Countess Dorothy Taylor di Frasso was married to Count Carlo Dentice di Frasso of Rome, Italy. She was instrumental in the renovation of Rome’s Villa Madama. It was originally built in 1518 by Cardinal Giulio de Medici, the future Pope Clement VII, from plans designed by Raphael and his disciple Antonio de Sangallo the younger.

Taylor also had residences in Naples, FL. and Paris, France. He was a member of the Brook Club in New York, the Travelers Club in Paris, Annabelles in London, the Naples Bath and Tennis Club, and Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville. He was an avid sailor and swimmer and over the years was a member of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club on Marthas Vineyard.

He is survived by his wife of 16 years, Fay Davis Taylor, his sister, Mary Taylor Zimbalist of Ojai, CA, and five children from previous marriages: Kate Pennebaker of East Hampton, NY, Linda Latter of Northport, NY; Daily Lifton of Idylwild, CA.; Lauren Taylor of Manalapan, FL. and B. L. Taylor, IV of Marthas Vineyard.

He is also survived by nine grandchildren and six great grandchildren.