Charles Taylor, known for his skill with numbers — and people — as he rose through the ranks in the city of Toledo tax division, died Wednesday in Kingston Residence of Sylvania, where he lived since 2015. He was 87.
He had Alzheimer’s disease, his son Darrell Taylor said.
Mr. Taylor, formerly of West Toledo, retired in July, 1989, as the city’s tax administrator, a position he held about six years.
He was hired in 1967 to be a collector-investigator in the tax division. He became supervisor of collections in 1972. In April, 1978, he was named assistant commissioner of taxation, besting eight other applicants for the job.
“My dad liked the fact that with the city and in the field he was in, there was more room for him to grow,” his son said. “He really enjoyed that work. He loved the city of Toledo.”
He was named tax administrator in 1983 when few African-Americans had been promoted before to that level in city government.
“It was an honor, and he felt privileged, and he took it very seriously,” his son said. “My dad was a very proud man.”
He was particular about how the office operated, as he oversaw collector-investigators and tax auditors.
“He was very detail oriented and organized,” said Clarence Coleman, who retired several years ago as city treasurer, but who started in 1985 as a tax auditor. “We knew what to expect. We respected him.”
After Mr. Taylor retired, “he stayed in touch with me, and I stayed in touch with him,” Mr. Coleman said. “He was still there to make sure he was mentoring me.”
Mr. Taylor also encouraged those in the office to stay current in federal and state tax law, even by taking seminars offered by national tax preparation chains. Those who worked for him knew he would help where he could if they had personal problems.
“When it came time for business, it was time for business, running a tax office,” Mr. Coleman said. “You have returns coming in, you have customer service, you have a budget, and there’s an expectation of revenues coming and not overspending, but making sure the revenues are collected to go in the city coffers.”
For several years while a city employee, Mr. Taylor had a tax preparation office on Dorr Street near Upton Avenue. He put the business aside as his city responsibilities increased. In retirement, he operated his tax firm, called CDA, from his home.
He was born July 18, 1931, in Blytheville, Ark., to Lucille and E.C. Taylor. He was 6 years old when his parents moved to Toledo, where his father had relatives. He was a graduate of Scott High School and enlisted in the Air Force in April, 1949. He was discharged as a staff sergeant in November, 1952, having been stationed in Korea and Japan.
He later attended the University of Toledo.
Mr. Taylor was a clerk at the main post office, then on Jefferson Avenue. He later became manager of the W.T. Grant store at the Swayne Field shopping center.
A master at cards, especially bid whist, he liked to bowl and golf and make people laugh.
“He was charismatic and had a way of drawing people to him,” his son said.
He was the oldest of 10 and helped care for his younger siblings, one of whom dubbed him “The Godfather” after the release of the 1972 film, his son said. He set aside money so that his children and their children could go on to college.
“He would preach education, education,” his son said. “He wanted to make life good for everyone.”
He and his wife Catharie Taylor married in 1973. She died Sept. 14, 2017.
Surviving are his sons Darrell and Arthur Taylor; daughters Pamela Robinson and Serena Rayford; brothers Sammie, Alvin, Pierre, and Ernest Taylor and Edgar Mosely; 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at the House of Day Funeral Service. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at First Church of God, with a wake at 10 a.m. in the church.
The family suggests tributes to First Church of God, where he had been treasurer.
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