NAIFA mourns passing of Des Taylor

DesDear NAIFA Family,

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that NAIFA-Texas must inform you of the passing of Mr. Des Taylor.

This morning, August 27, 2013 at 8:23 a.m. at the Christopher House Hospice in Austin, Texas, he succumbed to the cancer, surrounded by his loved ones.

On July 30, 2013, Mr. Taylor prepared the following statement for his NAIFA-Texas family:

“In March of 2002, I stood before you for the first time as your CEO and CLO. I recall saying that I did not know for how long this journey would take me. However, I wanted to assure the members that at the end of that journey, however long it would be, my pledge was to leave you as a stronger, more effective, and more dynamic organization. I think that by nearly every standard of measurement we achieved that result. So I stand before you today announcing that my expectations have been met, and I hope that yours have as well.

Doug Massey and I were visiting a couple of months back and I reminded him of that commitment. He said, ‘You know Des, I believe we have met that.’

“By nearly every standard of measurement, we are today a far more active, stronger, regulated, and competent organization. We have a better and stronger political committee and we have achieved milestones along the way. We are legendary.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful experience, for the kindnesses that you have poured out of your heart, and for the personal support – all which you have done to make me feel comfortable, at ease, and at ease in my own skin.

“I think many of you in your own mind know what it is that we did together. And so I simply say to you, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you and yours. I will always love you.”

Des Taylor
July 30, 2013

The funeral service will be this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Rader Funeral Home in Kilgore, Texas.  The family will receive friends at Rader Funeral Home Friday evening between 6 – 7:30 p.m. See obituary.

Please share your thoughts and memories of Des in the comments section on this page.



  1. NAIFA is a better organization because of Des Taylor, he will be missed dearly. May we continue to carry Des’ passion for and commitment to NAIFA.

  2. Des served the greater cause right up to the end. A selfless leader who left an impact on NAIFA through his dedicated service. His legacy will live on through the cherished relationships throughout our federation. May the journey home be full of peace, love, smiles and a fancy, Texas sized cigar.

    All the best to one of the best,

    John F. Nichols, MSM, CLU

  3. Des Taylor was a fierce advocate for the agent and NAIFA. He was a great friend who will be sorely missed and fondly remembered.

  4. Des was a true friend and dedicated advocate for NAIFA. His wise counsel and personal touch will be greatly missed by all of us in the Federation. I will greatly miss his stories about LBJ, Lady Bird, “Mister Sam” and other Texas legends. Perhaps he’ll have another dance with Lady Bird in heaven. Godspeed, my friend.

  5. Des was such an inspiration to me and many others. He was someone that I felt I could call when I needed guidance and he would help me with the direction I needed. I valued and respected him and I am so sad that he left us so quickly. It brings tears to my eyes that I didn’t send a note before he left us to tell him what his friendship meant to me, I will miss him.

  6. I had the pleasure of meeting with Des many times in formal and informal settings. Two things stand out in my memories of Des. The first is his brilliant smile and the warmth and passion that put that smile on his face. The second is his dedication to NAIFA and commitment to better NAIFA and NAIFA Texas by doing all he could. A bright light has gone out with the passing of Des Taylor. He will be missed, and NAIFA has lost a champion.

  7. Magenta M.R. Ishak

    Des was a stalwart supporter of citizen-based governmental action, IFAPAC and APIC. He understood that continued vigilance on the state and federal levels is essential to the future business successes of agents and advisors. Des did more than his share of championing the advocacy cause for NAIFA-Texas members. We have lost one of our most capable dynamos.

  8. Des will definitely be missed. Over the years I knew Des he always had that infectious smile every time I saw him. At the different gatherings I had to make a point of visiting with him to catch up on our lives. He was a true professional and would help his cohorts anytime. He always had NAIFA’s best interests at heart.

  9. Mark Yavornitzki

    What an honor it was over the past decade to know, work with and learn from Des. Passionate in his advocacy for and management of NAIFA-Texas, he was also a kind and humorous gentleman. He played such an important part in our old “Gang of 7” and indeed in the entire NAIFA community of state and local association executives. You will be missed dear friend and I have to temper my deep sadness by remembering the jests we shared and by quoting our mutual greeting: “This way Mr. Merkle.”

  10. Patty Chesebrough

    Des was the epitome of professionalism. He was strong in his concern, dedicated in his commitment, and courageous in his resolve. What I admired most was his honesty. The federation has lost a ‘family member’ and words too often fail to console at times like this. His star now shines brightly in the universe.

  11. Sara Decatore, David Dellinger, and I had the privilege of being able to visit with Des two weeks ago. He was his usual sweet, charming self and I’m so glad we were able to spend time with him. Des was a true gentleman and a wonderful friend and his passing is a terrible loss for me personally, and for his many friends in the NAIFA Federation.
    With deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to Des’s family and NAIFA-Texas for your loss!

  12. We have lost a remarkable member of our NAIFA Family today–Des will be greatly missed–he was a colleague, a leader, a mentor, and most importantly, a friend. I will miss his keen insights, wisdom, and always sound counsel, especially in the political realm–he was a class gentleman and was proud of the work and accomplishments of NAIFA-Texas and NAIFA. Our lives are much enriched because Des Taylor came this way and our paths crossed.


    Terry K. Headley

  13. If the measure of a man’s life is by the positive impact he has on others then how lucky am I to have had the privilege of knowing and working with Des Taylor? A man whose genuine smile, passionate determination for our industry and pure gentlemen’s manner will stay with me even though he was not able to. Peace to you, Des

  14. I’m joining the entire NAIFA family today as we mourn the loss of Des Taylor. Des was a distinguished southern gentleman and his passion and spirit will be greatly missed.

  15. Michele Grassley Clarke (NAIFA-Iowa)

    Tears come to my eyes every time I’ve started to write this post since getting the news that Des has passed. Knowing that this day was coming should have eased the sorrow, but it hasn’t. I am deeply touched by Des’ selfless act to share parting words of inspiration with his NAIFA Texas family, written when he was facing the end of his life. It exemplifies his leadership…leadership that will be sorely missed by the entire NAIFA federation. While I didn’t know Des as long as many of you, we shared a passion for the national political process and, during the past five years, would discuss politics at every meeting. I enjoyed his banter, respected his expertise and valued his friendship. His passion for this federation was equally strong. He was a principle-driven leader, something to which we should all aspire. I am a better person for knowing and learning from Des. I will miss him.

  16. A beautiful life has come to an end. Des’s love and devotion to NAIFA-Texas was always an obvious anchor for the entire Federation. I will never forget the way he would cock his head in conversation with people and then zero in on the real issue, bypassing all the superficial small talk that we often get bogged down in. Des “was a prince among men.” His kindness, compassion and generosity were evident in everything he did. His zest for life and being a man of honor will be the memories I cherish. I feel so lucky to have known Des and to have had him as a NAIFA colleague. May he rest in peace.

  17. Al Brodbeck, NAIFA-NYS National Committeeman

    Rest in peace, Des. Your passion and dedication to Texas-NAIFA & NAIFA will be long remembered.

  18. Des will be missed by the entire NAIFA federation. Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends of Des.

  19. The world lost a great man today…and heaven gained one! Des will be dearly missed!

  20. From the day I first met Des, I could tell that he was determined to make a difference…and that he did. He was a common man with uncommon qualities among which was the ability to be your friend but also hold you to a high standard. Des brought passion to the debates we had across the federation but he also brought civility and respect to those he debated. This country could take a lesson from this gentleman from Texas. Des we will miss you! .
    Bob Nelson, NAIFA President 2001-2002

  21. We’re blessed with the many people who come into our lives over the course of our time on Earth, creating impact and memories. Des is truly a great man who no doubt made an impact on many people, and he will not be forgotten. Des worked tirelessly to make this organization better – and he succeeded. I only met Des just a few short years ago, but over the course of this past year I came to know him better, and along the way I came to know him as a friend, confidant and mentor who helped make my first year as CEO easier to navigate. I will miss his wise counsel, and his very direct answers! My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

  22. What a sad morning…….when I got the news my knees buckled at that moment with the reality that Des would be gone. It is very hard to put into words what his loss will mean. We have been close friends for over a decade and I have numerous memories of our comings and goings in so many cities and locations working in our NAIFA world together. He was a unique soul unlike anybody else that I have known.

    He was authentic, real and true to his purpose. It leaves a big void that will not be filled. Mostly I will remember Des for his wacky humor at times, his infectious smile and his bravery and courage in “taking a position” on things that matter. Proud to call him a peer and colleague, but most importantly a true friend. This is a very sad day…………….David Dellinger

  23. Des didn’t always say what you wanted to hear but he always said what he thought to be true.. I will miss him because the world has way too many politicians and too few Des’

    “Life is too short to be little. Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor.”

    Benjamin Disraeli

  24. Des was a great asset and stalwart supporter of NAIFA Texas and NAIFA. And he was my friend. I valued his counsel, his sly humor, his keen intellect and, yes, even his occasionally volatile, passionate personality. He was one of a kind and I will miss him.

  25. Des Taylor was my friend and he was a friend to everyone that he met. With that infectious smile, deep, commanding voice and sharp humor, he always made people feel at ease. As I think back on the years we shared together, I am thankful for the constant support I received from Des and the entire NAIFA Texas family. I can vividly remember many, many evenings having a ‘combustable’ with Des at NAIFA Conferences throughout the Federation. That time spent was not as much about the cigars as it was being able to share what was important; the love of family, friends and NAIFA.
    May God bless Des’s family. I am a better man for having known Des Taylor.

  26. Des will be a man remembered not for his physical stature but by the size of the passion in his heart for NAIFA. Des was a man among men and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

  27. On behalf of the entire Executive Committee and Board of Trustees of the NAIFA – NYS and the association’s membership throughout NYS, our most profound and heartfelt condolences to the family of Des Taylor.

    Des was a passionate ardent advocate and spokesperson for the NAIFA and for the the field professional…his presence and effectiveness in our federation will forever be missed…his belief and pursuit of the mission at hand was second to none.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends…we hope that Des has found peace.

  28. Our Federation has lost a friend and colleague today, and NAIFA is poorer for it. Des was rich in spirit, dedication and leadership, and his work for NAIFA-Texas was untiring.
    Please join me in sharing your thoughts on this blog so together we can recall Des’ contributions to our NAIFA family.
    We will compile all messages for the family and NAIFA-Texas.
    We will miss Des.
    — Dr. Susan B. Waters, NAIFA CEO