Creswell, Obituaries & Tributes

Legendary Creswell native passes at 94

Cal Taylor cheering for Creswell High School. Photo archives

CRESWELL – Some are fortunate to have lived a long, well-intentioned life; the rest of us can only hope for the same. Over the weekend, longtime Creswell resident Calvin ”Cal” Taylor, 94, passed away. This time last year, The Chronicle sat down with Cal as he reminisced about a life well-spent. The following is a retelling of that story.
Cal was a witness and active participant in the unfolding of time in Creswell. He finished out his days on Harvey Road, his house acknowledged by a mailbox decorated with a wooden red fire engine, now mossy and splintered from rain. It signals one of the many endeavours Cal’s partaken in during his decades here.
From dried prune tray cleaner to lumber worker, to insurance man, sports announcer and fire chief, Cal made a mark on this little city in his 87 years here – though he never did see what all the fuss is about.
Cal was born March 1, 1925, son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Calvin Taylor, youngest of six. He moved to Creswell at 7 years old after hard times fell on his family farm north of Coburg.
When his family arrived here in ’32, Creswell had a population of 300 people. He said space-wise, ”It was pretty open, everyone parked in the middle of the street. We had four grocery stores, a couple of restaurants, the Cozy Corner Tavern and Cafe, a dance hall and a big grange hall. We had a lot of community play performances. Creswell Fire Department and the Lions Club put on plays; a lot of community-type things that went on like that were well-attended.”
As a boy, Cal was responsible for milking the cows and plowing the fields on their 200-acre Howe Lane family farm. But just before his 10th birthday, Cal’s mother died of pneumonia. ”We had six of us (kids) still at home,” Cal recalled. ”It was a very busy time in life.”
To pay for his mother’s funeral costs, the Taylors furnished a Cottage Grove mortuary with wood, enough to heat the building for years. His father never remarried. ”Dad was busy making a living and keeping things going” at home, he said.
Two years later, the Taylors welcomed new neighbors: the Harry and Bertha Holt family. The Holts are known for Holt Lumber Co. (in which Cal’s father was later employed by) and the creation of the internationally famous Holt Adoption Agency.
Originally from South Dakota, in ’37 the Holts purchased the property next to the Taylor family on Howe Lane. ”The Holts were good neighbors,” Cal said. ”They had four children at that time and we had the farm with cows, milk and eggs, so we helped them along at that time.”
In ’39, the family relocated to the house that sits in front of Cal’s home on Harvey Road, a house in which his father built.
Cal was active in sports, most notably in baseball. He was the pitcher for the Creswell Bulldogs for four years and was coached by Bill Harcum, former University of Oregon basketball player. He coached everything under the sun except track, Cal said. And he was good at it.
His team won Leagues twice, but lost a District League Championship due to an error by Cal’s older brother, of all people. ”I never let him forget that one,” he said.
In addition to baseball, for fun, Cal played six-man football, threw axes in contests and square danced at the community center. He also threw quite a few punches as a young buck.
Cal said he never got in much trouble, ”but I liked to fight. After basketball games, we would bet down in the City Square (to fight). You didn’t have to be mad at anyone or anything to challenge them,” he said. All that came to an end, however, when he was given an ultimatum by his coach. ”Coach got ahold of me and told me either I quit fighting or quit basketball, so I quit fighting,” he said.
Cal graduated Creswell High School in ’42 – the first graduating class in the high school that once stood where the middle school sits on Oregon Avenue.
Cal joined the U.S. Navy in July of ’42 at age 17.
During World War II, Cal spent three-and-a-half years in the Navy working on a replenishment oiler supplying fuel to the north Pacific battle group in the Aleutian Islands, before he got hurt.
In February ’45, Cal’s vessel was caught in a storm and he suffered a chipped tailbone. He wound up in hospitals in Seattle and Idaho for three months.
But while stationed in the Aleutian Islands, a pretty Creswell girl sent Cal a photo – Beverly Traxler. It was one of those classic, gently-posed photos, he said, one of Beverly ”leaning against a tree – that type of thing.”
One day while hunched over the photo she had sent him, it all became clear. ”In my mind I thought, ‘I’m going to marry that girl.’”
When Cal came home from his Naval injury at age 20, he asked Beverly for her hand. Eight days later, on May 5, ’45, they were married. And so started their 72-plus-year journey together, until her passing on Feb. 25, 2018.
Beverly was a descendant of Oregon pioneer Cyrus Shepard, who arrived in the Willamette Valley in 1834. Born on Aug. 30, ’24, she was the oldest daughter of Harold and Corolyn Traxler. She, too, graduated from CHS in ’42 and worked as a secretary for the family business, HN Traxler Real Estate.
Cal worked for Beverly’s father, Harold, in the insurance sector – a career he’d stick to for 44 years.
”I knew Cal when I was just barely in grade school,” said Creswell resident Lonn Robertson. ”I always thought that Beverly was beautiful and statuesque and Cal was her always friendly but quiet husband. Jacque and I would go by Traxler’s and we would often see Cal in the office or out on the street visiting with folks.”
Cal was always quiet but not demure, Robertson said. ”He would often laugh but it was a quiet chuckle and always ended with a friendly smile – important things to a little kid.”
Cal also spent 51 years as a volunteer firefighter for Creswell Rural Fire Protection District, and was fire chief for the district from 1970-85. He was a member of the VFW, the Lions Club, and served on the Creswell School Board.
For 15 years, his voice was well-known as a sports announcer for the schools, announcing for basketball, and announced football along with Marvin Kerr and Bill Markley. Cal also umpired baseball for grade and high school, ”usually in conjunction with Norm Few; he was on the other end of it,” Cal said.
”I have announced the girls basketball games for the past 12 years – every game I would sit behind the scorer’s bench and watch Cal and his son come take their place. It was one of those ‘everything in the world is as it should be’ moments once Cal was seated,” Robertson said.
When Beverly’s parents passed away, he retained ownership of Traxler and Cal and Bev operated the family business for eight years until their retirement.
”Even when he was retired, he still played an active role in being a wonderful steward to the fire district,” said Creswell resident Joel Higdon, who first met Cal through the fire department years ago.
He recalled that after Cal retired, he would still go around the district and paint the fire hydrants a distinctive color of red, giving each one a new coat each summer.
”That kind of dedication is hard to come by and often goes unnoticed. I noticed,” Higdon said. ”And those kinds of actions give me inspiration to be a better member of our community.”
Cal lived his life a little quieter in his final years. His son visited him a few times a week and cooked him Sunday dinners, and would go out for pizza on Saturday nights. And of course, Cal went to all the home sporting events at the high school as much as he could.
”There are generations of Bulldogs that may not have known his name but they knew he was always there supporting them,” Robertson said.
For Higdon, Cal leaves behind a legacy of service and support for the community.
”Cal’s long tenure in Creswell can be seen in the positive impressions he left with so many people,” Higdon said. ”Our community is stronger and better with the legacies of folks like Cal Taylor. I am going to miss him. Go rest, Chief. We have the watch.”
Cal is survived by their children, Calvin H. of Creswell; Jerry (Debi), of Bozeman, Mont.; JoAnne (Jerry Fletcher); of Redmond; and Bobby (Julie) of Eugene; and had seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Details for the funeral services were unknown by press deadline Tuesday.

This is an updated and abridged story that originally was published Feb. 28, 2019. The historical contents in this story were researched by The Chronicle, with help from the Creswell Area Historical Museum staff, and information noted in ”The Blue Valley: A history of Creswell” and through Chronicle archives.



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