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Chester Gene Taylor of Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky, passed away at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, at University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.
Chester was sixty-nine (69) years of age, having been born on October 1, 1954, to his late parents, Louis Gillum Taylor and Mildred Coomer Taylor, and grew up in the Gradyville community on the family farm.
Chester attended and graduated from Adair County High School in 1972; from Lindsey Wilson College with an associate degree in arts in 1974; from University of Kentucky with a bachelor degree in agriculture in 1979; also from University of Kentucky with a master’s degree in engineering in 1980; and from Western Kentucky University with a master’s degree in education in 1982. He is one of very few educators in Kentucky who held both academic and technical educational degrees.
Chester began his life-long steel career with employment on the FMC Linkbelt Crane in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was promoted to Industrial Engineer. After earning his various educational degrees, he came back home to Columbia, and began a 27 year career in the vocational education field at Lake Cumberland Area Technology Center as the welding teacher and then was promoted to the school principal in 1990, where he implemented several new programs, vocational classes and night programs, such as Computer Aided Drafting, Computer Aided Machining, Industrial Maintenance, Machine Tool, Hydraulic Pneumatics, and PLC Training to help recruit new industries into the Adair and Russell County communities.
He always felt like he had to hold two jobs at any given time, so he purchased his steel business located at 506 Fairgrounds Street in 1983 and continued to add on to create a 10,000 square foot building, where it remains today. Throughout the years, along with his many welding fabrications, Chester also expanded his business to include garbage dumpster rental, monthly garbage pickup, as well as home and business construction, all of which he owned and operated under the name “Taylor Services”.
Chester held several different welding certifications, but was also fully licensed in electricity, plumbing, septic tank installation, and commercial truck driving. Because of his many areas of expertise in the steel industry, Chester erected some of the largest steel structures in the community such as the Trinity Church Family Life Center, Sandusky Steel Sales buildings, and Majestic Yachts now/known/as Synergy Food Group.
Chester served on Board of Directors too numerous to mention, but a few were the Adair County Economic Development Authority, Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency, and several other Kentucky state committees.
You would also find Chester donating his time in other areas of the community by remodeling or building homes for family and friends, as well as giving away cars and trucks when he found that a need arose. In one such case, he went to evaluate a home to possibly do some much needed floor repair work, but with the help of other individuals and local businesses, he was able to raise over $150,000.00, and moved the family into a brand new 3 bedroom, 2 bath home fully furnished for the handicapped resident in only 105 days.
Chester was a member of Egypt Christian Church and was currently serving as Sunday School teacher for the senior adult class, on the Board of Trustees, and other committees for his church. Chester based his work and service for the Lord on the following scriptures:
Matthew 9:37...He (Jesus) said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few, and
Acts 1:8 ....But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere - in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Because of these scriptures, Chester also served as a 35 year continuous member of The Gideon International Organization beginning in 1988 having spoken at over 75 churches, witnessing to individuals, and passing out hundreds of Bibles across the state of Kentucky in churches, schools, jails, and hospitals.
As Isaiah 55:11 says, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” It was Chester's desire for all to come to know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
Chester had a love for Chevrolet trucks, but only white in color, and you would often see him wearing his “uniform” of khaki pants and blue dress shirt with an occasional sweater vest too. One of Chester’s favorite holidays was 4th of July where he would invite a huge crowd to his shop for a cookout, drive the children around the shop lot in his hand-built barrel train, and then watch fireworks. Most recently, you could find Chester enjoying his new found passion of flower gardening, along with creating funny hats, costumes and signs to hang on the black bears for those drivers passing by his Knifley Road home, but Chester most loved spending time with his family cruising up and down Green River Lake on his pontoon while fishing and watching sunsets and driving the grandchildren around on his bright red golf cart.
Besides his parents, Chester was preceded in death by his older sister, Sharon Parson, in 2022.
He is survived by the following:
His wife, Kathy Shuffett Taylor of Columbia
1 Son - Casey and Sheavon Taylor of Columbia
1 Stepdaughter - Dr. Michelle Shuffett of New York
1 Stepson - William and Monica Shuffett of Greensburg
3 Grandchildren - Sophie Taylor, Caysen Taylor, Cannon Taylor
1 Step Grandchild - Avery Shuffett
1 Brother - Barney and Nancy Taylor of Columbia
1 Sister - Phyllis and Jeff Sparks of Columbia
1 Brother-in-law - Vernon Parson of Gradyville
Nieces and Nephews - Sherry Burris, Tabetha and Willow Sparks, Hailey and Chandler Staten, and Briley Taylor
Visitation with the family will be held at the funeral on Sunday, October 15, 2023, after 1:00 p.m.
Funeral Service will be Monday, October 16, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. with his brother, Barney Taylor, and pastors, Paul Patton and Joel Patton, officiating.
Casket Bearers are Briley Taylor, Chandler Staten, William Shuffett, Kyle Moffett, Michael Collins, David Taylor and Greg Bardin. Junior Casket Bearers are Caysen Taylor and Avery Shuffett.
Honorary Casket Bearers are the Adair County Gideons.
Burial in Haven Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers and gifts, donations are requested to be made to The Gideon International Organization or Markey Cancer Center, which can be left at the funeral home.