Former Jamaica College principal laid to rest
Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer
When great trees fall, rocks on distant hills shudder, lions hunker down in tall grass, and even elephants slumber after safety.
Small in stature but great in achievements was the late Ruel Leopold Taylor, former principal of Jamaica College, who died on December 15 of last year.
Born and raised in Newtown, Montego Bay, St James, Taylor was also known as Junie. He was a Cornwall College old boy who represented his school in both cricket and football. He managed to achieve the extraordinary by balancing both sporting events along with his educational achievements.
According to his daughter, Karen, who read his eulogy, her father was more than a caregiver. He was a respected man who exercised strong leadership qualities.
Not only did he represent Cornwall College at cricket, but also the University College of the West Indies (UCWI) which he attended from 1955-58, where he did his bachelor of science in physics, chemistry and pure mathematics. He later did his postgraduate degree in physical chemistry.
Taylor spent a year teaching mathematics at the advanced level at Manchester High School for a year, between 1950 to 1951. He then returned to his alma mater where he taught chemistry, also up to the advanced level, from 1952 to 1964.
From 1964, he taught chemistry at Jamaica College until 1970 when he was offered the position of principal. He continued in the position up to 1993.
According to his daughter-in-law, Judith Taylor, who hailed him as Daddy, he showed what it truly means to be a gentleman as he would walk her to the gate after their long Sunday-evening conversations and would then watch her leave until she was out of sight, before making his way back into the house.
Richardo Lee, a JC old boy who attended the school under Taylors leadership, shared that though Taylor was close to his family, he could be dubbed the man of second chances.
"One thing I can tell you about him is that he was always a respected man. A man not only of posture, but of character in the sense that if he knew that you have some attitude problem, he always tried to deal with it in a humble manner," said Lee.
"I have learned a lot from him because I was always in his office, mostly for misbehaving, but he was always someone you could trust and confide in as he offered great advice," he added.
For Keith Patterson, a former geography teacher, Taylor was the reason he was able to teach at JC as he offered him a job there after his internship.
I went upstairs to thank Mr Taylor for the opportunity of affording me to teach at Jamaica College, and then he looked at me and said, Where do you think you are going? You are staying here with us, shared Patterson.
Mr Taylor is a person who believed in people. And to be honest, I have worked under several leaders and to me, my opinion is that Mr Taylor is the most honest, he said.
Taylor fell ill at home in October and was admitted to the hospital after which he died on December 15.
The life of Ruel Taylor was on Saturday celebrated at Karl Hendricks Auditorium at JC, Old Hope Road, where all his friends, family and persons lives who he touched, shared their memories of him and how he had impacted their character.