Around 50 people gathered on June 20 for the dedication of the Ivan M. Taylor Memorial Bridge on Howlett Street in Hillsville.
Following a prayer by Benjamin Taylor, several of those present spoke about the man, who was a teacher, a farmer and the mayor of Hillsville from 1998 to 2004.
Elsie Turner, a long-time friend, said, “When Ivan was running for mayor, I asked him to do something to make the town and county work together, and Ivan did that.” She added that Taylor “was a good man, a kind man and, most of all, a good, Christian man, and everybody liked him.”
“When I first began thinking about getting into politics, I sat down with Ivan and he encouraged me to do it,” said Laurel Fork Councilman Greg Yonce. “When he was mayor and had to break a tie (vote), he always voted for what the citizens wanted, not what he wanted.”
“I not only appreciated the professional relationship I had with him, but the personal relationship,” added Yonce. “This bridge is maybe the tallest in Carroll County and that’s the stature of Ivan.”
Bill Tate, who has served as both a council and mayor for multiple terms, said he was also encouraged to run for office by Taylor.
“Ivan always grinned at you, even if he was chewing you out,” said Tate.
Pine Creek Councilman Ed Terry added some humor to the event, saying, “Regardless of his years of exposure to West Virginia, Ivan was a true southern gentleman. I really enjoyed knowing the man.”
Travis Jackson, a former Hillsville town manager and now a paid consultant for the town, said of Taylor, “He had honesty, integrity and never told a lie. He was selfless and donated his time and his resources. I think the bridge is a great testimony to the man.”
The Rev. Dr. Lawrence Childs, Jr., the former pastor at the First Baptist Church in Hillsville, said, “I found Ivan to be a genuine Christian.”
Mava Vass called Taylor “a very dedicated man. He made a great mayor and I was proud to be his friend.”
Michael Howlett can be contacted at 276-728-7311