Amherst Magazine

Amherst College In Memory Notice

Mike Taylor


Amherst, Summer, 2008

MICHAEL S. TAYLOR ’63

Michael S. Taylor died on May 24, 2008, after a fall at his home in Kingston, NY.

Mike spent most of his youth in Greenwich, CT, and then graduated from Loomis Chaffee, where he was a track and field star, before attending Amherst. Amherst had a profound impact on him, as it has on so many alumni. He was a member of DKE and the Masquers and continued to compete in track and field. Later, he also served as an associate class agent.

Despite leaving before graduation, after a life-threatening bout of pneumonia forced him to take a semester off, he always felt a deep connection to Amherst and the friends he made there. His incredible curiosity and life-long love of knowledge were very much shaped by his Amherst experience. He seemed to have retained an impressive amount of what he learned there and maintained very diverse interests from art to physics to economics. Amherst also nourished his belief in equality; while at Amherst, he attended the March on Washington, and throughout his life, he never lost his faith in the essential goodness of others.

When it was time for me, his only child, to do the college tour, he made sure Amherst was on the itinerary but was careful not to push it too hard. Understanding teenage psychology, he downplayed his hope that I would choose Amherst, which was very effective, and I will always be thankful to him for having helped guide me in that direction.

After leaving Amherst, he had a wide variety of jobs in the finance and investment fields, starting first as an analyst and later as a broker before eventually moving into investment banking. He worked at Dreyfus, Lehman Brothers, Bache, and LF Rothschild (among others), before starting his own firm, Mostel and Taylor, in the 1980s. Throughout his investment career, he always had a special interest in entrepreneurial ventures and new technologies. After 9/11, he moved upstate from New York City after many decades, first to Olivebridge and then to Kingston. With his wife, Joan, he developed a love of gardening and adapted surprisingly well to life outside the city.

Mike got along easily with anyone he met and was at home with all sorts of people. He was always interested in learning about people and enjoyed making new friends. He was also a very kind person and an eternal optimist.

His sudden departure was a great loss to his family and friends, and he will be deeply missed by those who knew him. Mike is survived by his wife of nearly thirty years, Joan V. Taylor; his son Christopher Taylor ’91; his mother, Nan Abell; and his brothers Mark, Curtice, and Adams. 

—Chris Taylor ’91