Remembering Judge James H. Taylorby Representative Steny H. Hoyer
Posted on 2013-02-04
in the house of representatives
Monday, February 4, 2013
Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to remember my friend, the late Judge
James H. Taylor, who passed away on October 31 at his home in Upper
Marlboro, Maryland. A prosecutor, judge, and family man, Jim was also a
trailblazer as the first African-American to serve on the circuit court
in Prince George's County.
Raised in Howard County, Maryland, Jim was one of ten children in a family that emphasized hard work and education. As a young man, he attended Carver Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore to learn bricklaying, and he worked as a postal employee, a railroad oilman, and a cook to help support his widowed mother and his siblings.
After serving the nation in the Army Air Corps in 1945-1946, Jim matriculated at Howard University, where he graduated in 1950. In 1953, he was the first African-American law school graduate at American University.
In practicing law as one of the first African-Americans admitted to the bar in Prince George's County in 1956, Jim was described as a bold prosecutor who took risks and achieved results. Named Maryland's first African-American assistant state's attorney in 1963, Jim rose through the ranks of our state's legal establishment, breaking barriers along the way. In 1969, he was appointed to the bench by Governor Marvin Mandel and served for eighteen years before retiring from Maryland's Seventh Judicial Circuit in 1987.
Much of his casework dealt with family and child custody issues, and Jim drew on the experiences of his youth to help ensure that rulings of the court served the best interests of children and their future success.
An advocate for education in the study and practice of the law, Jim was a trustee of Prince George's Community College, which named a scholarship in his honor for paralegal students in 1992.
Above all else, Jim was a gentle giant who was able to accomplish great things in service to his fellow citizens without seeking attention for himself. He was a master of working behind the scenes to help others climb mountains and overcome hardships.
Jim, who was age 86, is survived by his wife of forty-four years, Jan Johnson Taylor; three children, and one stepdaughter; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind his first wife, Lillian Miles Taylor, and a brother, Captain Milton Taylor (Ret.) of the Maryland State Police.
I join in remembering the life of Judge James H. Taylor and in celebrating his groundbreaking achievements as he helped advance the cause of justice in Maryland. He will be dearly missed by me and many others across my home state--but surely never forgotten.