Longtime Lapwai resident, member of the Nez Perce Tribe and descendent of Chief Eagle in the Light passed away peacefully on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston.
Charlie was the eighth child of Albert Taylor and Matilda Maxwell Taylor, born on July 7, 1931, at their Lapwai residence. As a child, Charlie attended the Lapwai schools and graduated from Lapwai High School in 1951.
Upon his graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the 511th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Fort Campbell, Ky. As a paratrooper, Charlie earned the National Defense Service Medal and was honorably discharged in 1953 and returned to the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.
After returning to the reservation, he met the love of his life, Veronica Mae McCormack and they were later married in Dayton, Wash., on Jan. 6, 1954, and were married for 59 years. After the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth Gayle Taylor, he enrolled in college at Central Washington University, where he played the end position for Central Washington University's football team. A great athlete and sportsman, Charlie played many sports including basketball, football, baseball, and softball for many tribal and local town teams. He would eventually play basketball for his father-in-law, Harry McCormack, on the Nez Perce Nation men's team. He also coached women's basketball and softball, which includes teams such as the Appaloosa Babes (women's basketball team), LLMAR (women's softball), and a short stint coaching the Nez Perce Nation (men's basketball team). Charlie worked for 17 years at PFI (Potlatch Corp.), U.S. Forest Service, the State of Idaho Community Action Program and Nez Perce Tribal programs such as: CETA, Home Improvement Program, Head Start and the Department of Fisheries Resource Management (DFRM).
Charlie is survived by his paternal aunt, Lurene Renteria, in Yakima; daughter Elizabeth Gayle Taylor, grandson Loren Snow Sweowat, great-granddaughter Victoria Mae Sweowat and grandson Nicholas Alexander, all of Pendleton, Ore.; sons Dr. Arthur Maxwell Taylor, Levi Charles Taylor and grandson Shane Taylor, at the family home in Lapwai.
Charlie was preceded in death by his wife, Veronica Mae McCormack Taylor; his parents, Albert Taylor and Matilda Maxwell Taylor; brothers Alfred Taylor, Franklin Taylor, Daniel Taylor, James Taylor, Ernest Taylor, Alex Taylor; and a sister, Margaret Taylor Smith.
Military graveside services will be conducted at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at the Spalding Cemetery in the Nez Perce National Historic Park in Spalding. Following burial, a dinner will take place at the Pi Nee Waus Community Center in Lapwai.
Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.