Kind, loving, old school soul
Taylor never saw the bright light that emanated from behind his piercing blue eyes. When you met Taylor, he drew you in and you were his friend for life. He was goofy and funny and always kept people laughing. He was accepting of all people, pure in heart, and just wanted to be loved.
Taylor grew up on ten acres in Nebraska with a dog, cats, turkeys, and horses. He had a scar on the back of his leg from a rooster pecking at him when he was playing in the yard. Taylor graduated from high school in 2010 and went to work in the sheet metal and electrical industry. He worked in HVAC at Offutt Air Force Base and Kennedy Space Center where he had security clearance. He also worked with his dad, remodeling his parents’ home. The joke between him and his sister was that he really wanted to be a full-time treasure hunter and excavate the perfect dinosaur!
He and his sister Jessica were best friends. They always had sibling dates, traveled together, and spent time at the beach. Taylor’s last vacation in August 2019 was to the Florida Keys, a family favorite. “The family had so many laughs on this trip,” Jessica said. “I feel like this was his last hurrah.”
Taylor was an avid hockey player in many leagues and volunteered as a coach for the Omaha Junior Mavs. He had a love for pirates, Peter Pan, goonies, and music. “We had the best, most loving parents anyone could ask for,” Jessica said. ‘We grew up saying “I love you” every night, at the end of every phone call, and every time we parted.’ Taylor was in a relationship with Cassie, the mother of their son Kaedyn, only 6 months old when Taylor passed away.
Taylor hid his addiction, but there was a sadness in his captivating blue eyes. After several years, he started hallucinating, and the family wondered if it was drugs or a severe mental disorder. They found out Taylor was getting prescriptions from several doctors in South Florida, massive amounts of Xanax, Adderall, and opioids. He was constantly sick. When Florida cracked down on pill mills, he turned to heroin, as it was more available. The night Taylor overdosed, he was intentionally sold a deadly, high dose mix of fentanyl and Meth. There was no heroin in his system. “He didn’t stand a chance,’ his sister said. “The person who gave my brother this poison took away a father, brother, friend, and son. They are still walking around with ZERO consequences.” The authorities have offered no help to the family in seeking justice.
Jessica said Taylor’s death was the “absolute worst thing that ever happened to our family.” She wakes up every day praying it was a nightmare and didn’t really happen. Jessica has joined the Hanley Foundation’s legislative committee and publicly spoken to several groups, educating them about substance use disorder. She stated, “When I lost Taylor, I lost a part of myself. We had the best time growing up together. I will never experience sibling love again.”
Taylor’s sister, Jessica Gray, provided the information for this narrative.
February 18, 1992-November 6, 2019
Age 27-Lived with the disease of addiction 9 years