Russell Noman Taylor 91, of Abilene passed away peacefully on Tuesday October 24, 2017, with his wife by his side. He was born to the late William and Lillian Taylor on December 14, 1925, in Cuba, New York. Russell graduated from Cuba Rushford High School in 1944.
After high school Russell attended Colgate University, where he obtained his Bachelors of Science Degree in Geology. He also competed as a long-distance runner for the track and field team; competing in such events as the two-mile run with a time of 10:10. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Geology from Lehigh University in 1950. Upon graduation from Lehigh University, he moved to Texas where he started his career as a surface geologist with Standland Oil and Gas in Wichita Falls, Texas. His next employer was Sayles Oil Company. In 1957, he went independent and formed the roots of Nordan Oil and Gas Corporation, where he became a wildcatter as he has been known in Abilene to this date.
Russell was a very prominent member of the E&P industry both as a leader and a teacher. In 1973, he was president of the Abilene Geological Society, where he was awarded as an Honorary Life Member. In 1975-1985 he founded Big Country Geophysical, a High -Resolution Data Gathering Company. From 1983-1985 he served as president of WeCTOGA which is now called Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. During this time, he also served McMurry University as Head of the Geology Department for twenty-four years; mentoring young minds with his passion for geology and the oil and gas industry. Russell was known to hold his students to a higher standard than most. He cared for his students and wanted them to succeed beyond his classroom. He knew what was required of young geologists to succeed in the industry and structured his class accordingly. He obtained a reputation as the teacher that would determine if a student was really cut-out to be a geologist. Often his students who made the cut would contact him later in life to reiterate appreciation for his preparation. He received the TIPRO 2015 Texas Top Producers Award for Best CEO-Small Businesses as CEO of Nordan Oil and Gas for sixty-five years of career experience. He was also a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists for fifty-five years. Throughout his life he remained a prominent member of the industry. He made his daily commute to his office right up until he could no longer do so.
His passion for teaching and work transcended into his several hobbies. He was a skilled carpenter; crafting such things as a twenty room colonial style birdhouse, a turquoise inlayed cedar countertop and angelic wine holders. Gifts received from him were generally handmade and “sui generis”. If you came around his house at 5:30 P.M. you would most likely find him in his shop working on his next project. There was little in life, that would slow him down. Even at the prime age of 88, he would still head up to Snowmass, Colorado for an elk or mule deer hunt. Russell was not afraid of change and embraced new technologies. His most recent pursuit was flying his drone and learning aerial photography.
He married Virginia (Ginger) Womack on April 13, 1991 in Abilene. Russell always had a lot of irons in the fire, but he always made time for his family. In the recent years before he passed, you could find him and his loving wife of twenty-six years, Ginger at the country club having dinner every Wednesday night. He loved to take her dancing and show her off at various social events of Abilene. He was a loving father and grandfather, always making a point to attend various sporting events, ceremonies, etc. He was also a man who was always willing to help and give advice to those in need. His passion for life and advice will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
Russell was preceded in death by his parents, William and Lillian Taylor, his daughter Eileen Taylor Massey and two sons, Patrick Russell Taylor and Thomas Joseph Taylor and their mother Kathleen Crowley Taylor.
He is survived by his loving wife Virginia (Ginger) Womack Taylor and her four sons: David Womack, Doug Womack and wife Marijon, Don Womack and wife Deb, Dan Womack and wife Cathy; along with eleven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his son William (Billy) Taylor and wife Jackie. He leaves behind his six grandchildren Jennifer Massey Peterson and husband William, Jon Massey, Sarah Kate Taylor Jones and husband Zach, Grace Taylor Edsel and husband Philip, Lillyan Taylor, Luke Taylor and two great-grandsons.
A Visitation will be held from 5:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., Friday in North’s Memorial Chapel, 242 Orange St. The Funeral Service will be held at 3:00 P.M. Saturday, October 28, 2017 in North’s Memorial Chapel with Father Luke Back officiating.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Hendrick Home for Children, P.O. Box 5195 Abilene, Texas 79608-5195.
Online condolences may be made at www.northsfuneralhome.com