Ricardo Vincent Taylor Jr., 73, of Pennsauken, a longtime educator and the former mayor of his township, died Friday, Jan. 10, of complications from cancer at his home.
“This is definitely a sad day,” said Tim Killion, who succeeded Mr. Taylor as mayor. “It’s sad for Pennsauken and sad for his family.”
Known as “Rick,” he was born in Wilmington to Ricardo Vincent Taylor Sr. and Nettie E. Taylor. He graduated from Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a master’s degree in education administration from what is now Rowan University.
Mr. Taylor married Bernice McKenney in 1969. They settled in Pennsauken and had two children.
Starting in 1969, Mr. Taylor worked in Pennsauken public schools. He was an English teacher, vice principal, elementary school principal, golf team coach, and assistant football coach, retiring after 42 years with the title of personnel director.
Ronnie Tarchichi, superintendent of Pennsauken schools, said Mr. Taylor had a positive effect on those around him. “The world was better off because he walked through our halls,” he said in a statement marking Mr. Taylor’s death.
Mr. Taylor was known for being fair to students. “He would always listen to their side of the story, even if he was upset with their actions,” Tarchichi said. “He referred to his students as ‘doctor,’ which might have been his amazing way of letting them know that they could accomplish anything.”
An athletic field house, now being built at Pennsauken High School, will be named after Mr. Taylor once it is completed this year.
A larger-than-life figure, Mr. Taylor “lit up every room he walked into," Killion said. “He always had a smile and a funny joke. He cared about people, and it showed.”
In 1994, Mr. Taylor was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the five-member Pennsauken Township Committee, the governing council. He began serving in January 1995 and then sought reelection to successive three-year terms.
The committee chooses the mayor on a rotating basis. Mr. Taylor served nine one-year mayoral terms between 1995 and 2015.
He served as deputy mayor for eight terms, before retiring last Dec. 31. He was beloved by township workers.
He was a booster for local initiatives. In 2018, he showed up in a cheerleader’s costume, plus red and blue pom-poms, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Haddon Point Apartments on the site of the former Pennsauken Mart.
Many snags had delayed the project. Mr. Taylor vowed that if it was finished, he would wear the outfit. “People were shocked that he came through with it,” said Killion. “It was a good laugh for everyone.”
Mr. Taylor was a commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority. He served on the board of governors for the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club and was a board member of the Homestead Youth Association in Pennsauken and the Black Catholic Ministry Commission of the Diocese of Camden.
A longtime member of St. Stephen Parish in Pennsauken, he also belonged to the Knights of Columbus and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
He golfed with friends in Myrtle Beach, S.C. He also enjoyed cooking.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by son Scott; daughter Holly; three grandchildren; a sister; and nieces and nephews.
A visitation from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, will be followed by a second visitation Friday, Jan 17, from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Falco/Caruso & Leonard Pennsauken Funeral Home, 6600 N. Browning Rd. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Church of St. Stephen, 6300 Browning Rd., Pennsauken. Burial is private.