Preston M. Taylor, the director of Ministry for Black Catholics for the Diocese of Wilmington since 2010, died Jan. 1. He was 80.
A member of St. Joseph Parish in Middletown, he and his wife, Audrey, had been members of the parish for seven years.
Bishop Malooly said Taylor and his wife “brought wonderful gifts and tremendous faith to our diocese. Just as he served our country so well for many years, we benefited in these recent years from his service to our church and especially to our African-American community.”
Taylor, a Philadelphia native, had a long and distinguished military career. He served in the Air Force for six years beginning in 1954. After that, he joined the New Jersey Air National Guard, where he reached the rank of brigadier general.
From 1960-88, he was a supervisor at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Lakehurst, N.J. He spent the next two years as a policy planner for the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, and from 1990-93, he was the deputy adjutant general for New Jersey.
He was appointed by the Clinton administration in 1993 as an assistant secretary for veterans’ employment and training in the U. S. Department of Labor, a post he held for three and a half years. In the late 1990s, Taylor was the chief administrative officer for Camden, N.J., mayor Milton Milan. He retired in 2000 after three years on the job.
“It’s a better city than it was three years ago,” Taylor told the Philadelphia Inquirer at the time.
He became mayor of Lumberton, N.J., in January 2000 and served a three-year term.
After moving to Delaware, he was an adjunct professor at Springfield College in Wilmington from 2009-12.
Taylor graduated from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia and, according to published reports, earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and a master’s in management and supervision from Central Michigan University. He also graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Air Command and Staff College and the Air Force Squadron Officers’ School.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Christopher, and a daughter, Cinthia, as well as four brothers and a sister. Funeral services were Jan. 7 at St. Joseph’s, with burial in New Jersey. Condolences may be sent to his widow at P.O. Box 540, Townsend, DE 19734.