Read, a business administration major, was described as an avid hiker who held a deep respect for the outdoors. His parents, Kelly and Paul Read, and his sister Megan, joined Taylor’s friends for the ceremony. Faculty and staff members and Chancellor Donna P. Henry also participated.
“He was well-loved by his fellow students and friends, and I know he was a kind and generous person,” Henry told the crowd.
Henry told those gathered that college gives students the opportunity to forge close ties and friendships, and stories she has heard in recent days prove that Taylor grasped those opportunities.
Jaime Robinson, editor of the Highland Cavalier and a fellow business major, said her friend was kind, energetic, spontaneous and comical when the occasion called for it. Taylor could be counted on to always ensure the class received extended time for assignments, and he always asked the questions that others were reluctant to ask, she added.
“I have cared deeply for Taylor for many years,” she said.
Megan Crabtree told the crowd that she had to meet Taylor after his friends kept telling her stories about him.
“Without a doubt, I had to meet him,” she said. “He was one of the most fearless, honest and unique individuals I’d ever heard of. He was someone who did not follow the given path; he created his own.”
Professor Frank Frey described Taylor as gregarious, forthright, polite and never afraid to speak up in class.
“The UVa-Wise family is grieving with you,” Frey told Taylor’s family.
Counselor Rachel Rose, director of the Center for Student Development, urged those attending to reflect on the positive aspect of Taylor’s life and their positive relationships they had with him. She told the crowd to take time to grieve, and to remember that there is no specific timeline for healing.
“Unexpected loss can be very difficult to comprehend, leaving us asking why,” Rose said.
Shannon Walker, the Student Government Association president, concluded the ceremony by speaking of the importance for the college community to come together and comfort each other. Walker asked the crowd to place their candles in the paper luminaries as student Tim McDonald played “Amazing Grace” on the harmonica. Those attending signed a remembrance book the SGA purchased, and they wore green ribbons in memory of Taylor and his love of the outdoors. Walker asked the students to wear the ribbons for the rest of the week in Taylor’s memory.
The Read family will be given the remembrance book after students who could not attend the ceremony have an opportunity to share their memories of Taylor.Photo by Dalena Adams
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