F. Colson “Cole” Taylor, a Baltimore-area veterinarian for more than three decades and co-founder of the Emergency Veterinary Clinic in Catonsville, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease on Oct. 31 at the Heron Point of Chestertown retirement community, where he had lived since 2011. He was 89.
The son of James E. Taylor, a Black and Decker employee for more than 40 years, and the former Daisy Genevieve Ripley, a homemaker, Frank Colson Taylor was born Aug. 7, 1930, at his family’s home in Lutherville. A graduate of Lutherville Elementary and Towson High School, Class of ’48, Dr. Taylor enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating in 1952. Four years later, he earned a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Georgia.
“He loved animals all his life,” said his daughter, Lisa McCaffrey of Deale in Anne Arundel County. “When he was a kid, he did a little surgery on a hen that was egg-bound, and that sparked his interest.”
After earning his degree, Dr. Taylor served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps from 1956 to 1958. After leaving the service, he operated a small veterinary hospital in Aberdeen and was briefly employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Around 1959, he started work at the Vinson Animal Hospital in North Baltimore’s Waverly community, which had been operating since the 1930s. He eventually became a partner in the practice and later opened a second office, in Towson.
“He was a very patient mentor to me,” said Bill Forester, who joined the practice later and became a partner with Dr. Taylor. “He was very much liked by clients. He had a very smooth demeanor about him. ... He was very devout in his belief that you’re treating both the client and his pet.”
His daughter agreed. “He also loved people, and that was a big part of him being a vet — helping people.”
Concerned that people often had no place to take their pets if they became sick outside office hours, Dr. Taylor was one of the financiers behind the Emergency Veterinary Clinic when it opened in Halethorpe in the late 1980s. It later relocated to Catonsville.
Although she was too young to remember it herself, Dr. McCaffrey, who uses the last name Taylor for her own veterinary practice, said her father often told the story of being called one Christmas morning; a client’s dog had a uterine infection, and needed surgery quickly. Although the client didn’t have the money to pay for the surgery, he went ahead and performed it, saving the animal’s life. “He never received payment, and he was fine with that,” she said. “He felt that he had done his deed for Christmas.”
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His colleague had a special facility with felines, Dr. Forester remembered. “He had a reputation for being really good with cats,” he said. “There’s an art there. I think he believed that we didn’t really raise cats, they adopted us."
Dr. Taylor’s animal expertise occasionally found its way into The Baltimore Sun. In a 1984 article about pesticides, he warned against putting flea collars on hunting dogs, saying dampness could cause an excessive release of the chemicals contained in them. And the following year, he addressed the winter concerns of a reader worried that cats might be seeking shelter from the cold under the hood of a car. “Sound your horn and wait before starting the car,” he suggested, assuring the worried reader, “It will scare the cat away.”
Dr. Taylor worked with the Baltimore police department’s K-9 unit for many years, said another daughter, Lori Bonnington, of Atlanta, Georgia, and as a vet at the AKC dog shows held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. He even appeared on “Romper Room,” a staple of local kids’ TV in the 1960s; Sally Bell, aka Miss Sally, the show’s host, was one of his clients, Ms. Bonnington said.
A member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Taylor retired from practice in 1995. But his legacy to the field of veterinary medicine continues: In addition to his daughter, his son, Colson Taylor of Purcellville, Virginia, is also a veterinarian.
Dr. Taylor and his family lived in Lutherville for 30 years. Following retirement, he moved to St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore, where he remained until moving to Heron Point. A longtime volunteer at Easton Memorial Hospital, he was also active in his local churches, including Hunt’s Memorial United Methodist in Riderwood, St. Luke’s United Methodist in St. Michaels and the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown. His hobbies included golfing, crabbing, fishing and woodworking, especially making miniature dollhouses.
In addition to his children, Dr. Taylor is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Janice Waltz, as well as four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Nov. 30 at Wesley Hall at Heron Point, 501 E Campus Ave. in Chestertown.