Robert Payne Taylor

Robert Payne Taylor

Passed: September 06, 2023
Chapel Hill, NC

Robert Payne Taylor

Passed: September 06, 2023
Chapel Hill, NC


Robert Payne Taylor, lovingly known by most as ‘Buzz,’ was a beloved father, brother, uncle and friend, who left the physical world in Chapel Hill, NC, at age 80.

Buzz was born in Roanoke, VA, and grew up in Charleston, WV, graduating from Charleston High School. A voracious reader and history buff, he enjoyed spending time among the stacks in libraries, earning a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and a Master of Arts from the University of Maryland, College Park, both in Political Science. During his 22-year career with the Federal Government, of which 10 years were in dedicated service to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he received commendation for significant contributions to the relief efforts in Florida and Louisiana following Hurricane Andrew, as well as the successful completion of the Core Creek, Morehead City, Falls Lake, and B Everette Jordan projects.

Following his retirement in 1994, Buzz focused his efforts on more relaxing endeavors. A keen sports fan, especially all things football- and golf-related, Buzz particularly loved his University of North Carolina Tar Heels, and was a fervent supporter during his 35 years in Chapel Hill. Buzz was an avid animal lover and nurturer of the natural world. For a somewhat quiet man who often kept to himself, he loved his rock ‘n’ roll of the 1960s and ‘70s, and was quite accomplished at the air guitar. The louder the better, the sounds of the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Mott the Hoople and Dire Straits were some of his favorites, probably to the dismay of his neighbors.

Best known for his quick-witted humor, sarcasm and love of a good debate for debate’s sake; gentle giant presence, and selfless acts, Buzz was a kind soul, devoted dad and all-around wonderful human. Thanksgiving was the best holiday he enjoyed with the glorious feast of bread and pies, and the lingering smell of turkey, followed by taking naps and watching football. He never met a potato dish or cherry pie he didn’t like.

His unwavering, consistent and reliable support, guidance, generosity, compassion, strength, love, and light will be painfully missed by all who cherished him. Buzz lived his life by a few guiding principles – know right from wrong, take responsibility for your actions, and treat others like you would want to be treated. He admired anyone who took responsibility for their life and also for people who take the time to help others. These principles will serve as a way by which all those who knew him can strive to live their lives in his honor. Buzz’ favorite motto, which he quoted on countless occasions and knew was often hard for most to abide by, was from Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, ‘A man’s got to know his limitations.’

Buzz is survived by his daughter, Katie (Robert) Stone, of Cary, NC, and her mother, Martha Taylor, of Chapel Hill; sister, Diane (Peter) Woodrum-Leuthold, of Waynesburg, PA; nephews, Chris Woodrum, Tim (Gina) Woodrum , and John Leuthold; nieces, Sarah (Blake) Pilgrim and Jennifer (Matt) Moore, and faithful four-legged companion, Lily.

The family will hold a private celebration of life gathering and ask that any donations made in Buzz’s honor go towards a cause very close to his heart, Best Friend Pet Adoption of Cary, NC, at

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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2 responses to Robert Payne Taylor

  1. Jim (Jimmy) Bell, here. I have lived in Houston, TX, since the mid-70s. Growing up in Kanawha City (Charleston), we called him “Buzzy”. We, the Bells, lived across the alley from the Taylors – they on Staunton Ave., us on Virginia Ave. Buzzy and I were teammates on our Little League baseball team, sponsored by the Bob Phillips Drive-in restaurant on MacCorkle Avenue. I recall that Buzzy was a top-notch third baseman, while I was a catcher.
    Sadly, we pretty much lost track of each other after high school at CHS, graduating in 1961. His sister Diane, and my sister Judy were older than us, and were good friends. Judy, now 84 years old, has lived on the east coast of Florida for a long time. I did know Diane’s first husband, David Woodrum, from WVU fraternity days. I, too, worked for the U.S. Government in the form of the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era.
    My condolences to his surviving Taylor family members.

    1. Hello, Buzzy spoke of you a long time ago when we were first married. He thought highly of you. I appreciate your comments here. We met in college at Marshall and we married afterwards when we returned to Kanawha City (where my parents lived and I graduated from Stonewall and went to Marshall. Buzzy Taylor was one of a kind to say the least and he will always be in my heart and soul. I miss him terribly. I feel so lost without him. Even though we divorced years ago, we stayed close and were always a part of each others’ lives, especially giving Katie (our daughter) the support and security she needed. We were never far from each other.

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