Dec. 26, 2005, 12:56PM
Friends, kin pay tribute to soldier for his dedication
Sgt. Michael Taylor of Hockley died in Iraq blast
By ROBERT CROWE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Army Sgt. Michael Charles Taylor was remembered for humor, kindness and dedication to his country and loved ones at a funeral service Monday for the Hockley man killed in Iraq.
"Without the courage and bravery of Sgt. Michael Taylor, we couldn't be here today," Army Chaplain Maj. James E. Caraway said during the service at Tomball's First Baptist Church.
The 23-year-old was killed Dec. 7 in Balad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his truck.
He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery, 214th Field Artillery Brigade, III Corps Artillery at Fort Sill, Okla.
He attended Tomball High before earning his GED and joining the Army in July 2001.
"Michael gave his life for the freedom of a people who were not born into a country as ours, so that their children may know what it is like to make a life of their choosing," his friend Josh Baker said while reading from a statement he prepared with Taylor's older brother, Justin Taylor, 24.
Justin Taylor, with Baker standing nearby for support, said: "Michael once said we were all soldiers in our unique way. We do what we must to protect our family and friends. This was the final sacrifice he made to us."
Just before his death, Taylor had been promoted to the rank of sergeant.
"God saw fit to give you more rank, from sergeant to an angel that day," said his uncle Jerrid Foltin.
Taylor is survived by his wife, Dusti, and their 3-year-old daughter, Sadie Odessa; his mother and stepfather, Stephanie and Curtis Tompkins; his brother and sister; grandmother, stepbrother and stepsisters.
Tompkins said Taylor, as a child, was "intelligent, spiritual and insightful."
Taylor is preceded in death by his father, David Lee Taylor; grandmother, Rose Foltin Foster; and grandfather, Carl Taylor.
Dec. 11, 2005, 10:25AM
Hockley soldier dies in Iraq
Young father killed in Iraq had expressed joy over plans to see family in January
By ANNE MARIE KILDAY
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
HOCKLEY - Christmas cards from Sgt. Michael Taylor arrived at his family's home here at mid-day Wednesday, just hours before the Army notified them that the 23-year old had been killed in combat in Iraq.
Inside the card to his mother, Taylor wrote: "All I have to say is how much I love you and will be glad to see you in January. I wish you a very merry Christmas."
Stephanie Taylor Tompkins, his mother, was unable to speak about her son's death Saturday evening, as members of his extended and close-knit family gathered to remember the soldier they once called "Little Mikey."
An avid reader of mysteries and thrillers, a devout Christian, and a young father, Taylor had planned to restore a 1969 Chevelle when he got home from the war.
Taylor, who was scheduled to return to this small town south of Tomball, was killed in Balad when an improvised explosive device detonated near his truck.
Taylor's stepfather, Curtis Tompkins , said his wife wanted people to know that her son "was doing his duty" by serving in Iraq.
Every single member of Taylor's extended family — from his 3-year old niece to his 85-year-old great-grandmother — received a Christmas card last week. His sister, Davina Taylor, 21, still hasn't opened hers.
"I don't know when I will open mine," she said, carefully holding the red envelope. "The time will come when it's right for me."
Justin Lee Taylor , 24, said he will restore his younger brother's classic Chevelle in his memory. Weeping openly, he said: "I was really looking forward to working on that car with him. But I know he's going to love looking down from heaven and seeing that car finished."
Taylor's wife, Dusti, and their 3-year old daughter, Sadie Odessa, were with her family Saturday night, the soldier's family said.
Taylor named his daughter in honor of his grandmother, Sadie Odessa Fultin. His stepfather said they shared a special relationship and that Taylor was planning to move in "to look after her" her when he got home.
"This is a very, very close family and that was very important to him. The best part of his day over there was mail call, even though we all corresponded by e-mail," Tompkins said.
In addition to his daughter, he was very close to his young niece and two nephews. Taylor also was proud of his dog, an Arizona red-nosed pit bull named "Tex," Tompkins said.
Taylor also shared his deep faith with his uncle, Anthony "Bubba" Murphy. Murphy, who is in recovery from cancer, said he and his nephew always ended their lengthy, handwritten letters to each other with quotes from the Bible.
Taylor attended Tomball High School and earned his GED before entering the military. He skipped a grade early in school and was "bored to death" in the classroom, his stepfather, said.
Tompkins said that he had spoken to Taylor's commanding officer, who praised him as "a hell of a soldier, a hell of a man and a good friend to everyone he knew."
Taylor, who joined the Army in July 2001, had just been promoted to the rank of sergeant, Tompkins said. He had been assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 13th Field Artillery, 214th Field Artillery Brigade, III Corps Artillery at Fort Sill, Okla.
Taylor was preceded in death by his father, David Lee Taylor, who died two years ago in a car accident.
The family is still recovering from that tragedy, Davina Taylor said.
"Michael told me that he believed Daddy was over there (in Iraq) with him. He really believed that," she said.
In addition to his stepfather and mother, his sister and brother; his uncle and his grandmother, Taylor is survived by his stepbrother Steven Earle Taylor, and stepsisters Kayla Irene Taylor, Brandi Nicole Taylor, Cheri Tompkins and Rachel Tompkins; a niece and two nephews.
Tompkins and Rachel Tompkins; a niece and two nephews.