Born in Dayton, Ohio on March 6, 1933, Don Taylor committed his life to learning and teaching.
Don was an alumnus of the California Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin and eventually the University of Arizona where his love of Physics and Astronomy led him to be part of a team of three who in 1969 discovered a pulsar in the Crab Nebula.
In 1971 Don became a professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he would go on to teach over 8000 students during his career. As an influential and pioneering member of the UNL Astronomy Department, Don helped to develop specifications for the 30-inch reflecting telescope that was installed at the Behlen Observatory in 1972, and later oversaw installation of the solar-viewing Minnich Telescope. He also secured funding for the Student Observatory that sits atop the Memorial Stadium Garage.
Don’s passion for the skies was undeniable, and for decades, he was a neighborhood fixture, searching the night sky with homemade telescopes and inviting anyone interested to join him. To have darker skies in the city, he invented a tool, essentially a light bulb on a pole, to trick the street lights to shut off. It brought Don great pride and joy to share a view of the majestic rings of Saturn or a pristine image of the craters of the moon through one of his telescopes.
Don’s other hobbies included tennis and table tennis, both of which he played in many leagues. He was a longtime member of the Woods tennis community in Lincoln.
Tennis led him to his loving wife, Mary, who was by his side, both on and off the court for much of his life. Don died peacefully, with Mary by his side on May 28th, 2020.
Don was a loving, committed and generous husband, father and step-father. Don’s survivors include sons Brook Taylor (Elizabeth) and Glenn Taylor, step daughters Philippa Stasiuk (David) and Sophie Damaso (John), grandchildren Rowan, Nikola, Iris, Jane, Gia and a grandson due in July.
Donations in his memory can be made to the Wachiska Audubon Society. 4547 Calvert Street, Lincoln, NE 68506 https://www.wachiskaaudubon.org/copy-of-officers-comittees
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