Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (2024)

MILWAUKEE — Knowledge is power, community is strength, and positive attitude is everything. That simple statement summarizes exactly who Bill Taylor was as a man, a journalist, and a father.

Kwao Taylor is extremely proud of his father's legacy. "He did it his way, coining the show and the phrase "Positively Milwaukee", do something positive today. You know that in and of itself was a twist on the news that I had never seen before as a kid. There's a lot of you know, just the realities of this world that the news has to depict and portray, and my father, you know, decided to go another route," he said.

Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (1)

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Bill Taylor worked at TMJ4 for 29 years, was inducted into the Silver Circle by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his years of service, and also inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club. His work as a journalist was important, but family was always his top priority.

Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (2)

National Academy of Arts & Sciences Chicago/Midwest Chapter

"The most memorable things that stick out to me are nothing that happened on set, nothing that happened in different countries, nothing that even happened during Juneteenth Day or any of his ceremonies or events that he may have MC'd. It is Bill Taylor the Dad, the family man, the husband of 56 years married to my mother," said Taylor.

His daughter Danae Davis is the oldest of his six children.

VIDEO: Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy

Remembering Bill Taylor

"Well my fondest memories are that this young man you know, loved my mother so much that he said yes to all three of us coming along with as part of the package. You felt really proud when you were standing right next to him. He was a storyteller, man, Dad could tell some stories, so you were not getting away from being with him without hearing some kind of story, you know...because he knew everybody," said Davis.

Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (3)

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And everybody knew him.

"Dad made it crystal clear that community is family and community are the most important things to us as a people, and they've got to be all our priorities. And that's what I think is a legacy of his, whether you think about Juneteenth Day, whether you think about African World Fest...I mean, Dad's footprints and handprints are all of the legacy elements," said Davis.

Another legacy that continues on today is "Positively Milwaukee", an element that retired TMJ4 anchor Carole Meekins helped carry on.

"Andrea, one of the best things about Bill is that he really deeply cared about passing on the positive history of our community and of Milwaukee. He cared about the community. He was very involved, and I could walk out to any story in Milwaukee, and somebody was going to ask me...Hey have you heard from Bill Taylor? How's Bill Taylor? Or I remember Bill Taylor came here... and there were always so many nice stories about him. So his legacy, he may be gone, but he's in our hearts and he's in Milwaukee," said Meekins.

Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (4)

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Vivian King agrees. She had the honor of not only sitting right next to him in the newsroom, but she also co-anchored with him during her time at TMJ4.

"Bill Taylor and one of our photographers, Andrew Triplett, who has since retired as well, they just welcomed me with open arms. That's when he became "BT" to me and he just, you know, was always there for advice, for encouragement, and just the way he did his job was an example to us all and I wanted to be like him," said King.

"You know to me, Bill Taylor is one of the most important people that TMJ4 has ever hired because he gave other people hope," said Meekins.

Retired TMJ4 photojournalist Clayborn Benson also has fond memories of his longtime friend. He remembers the good ole' days when Bill conducted libation at Juneteenth and broadcasted live from the festivities.

"When he came to a scene, people were so happy to see him and he just bonded with people with grace. He was really the excellent reporter, and wrote his stories so with an African perspective, always community-minded," said Benson.

Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (6)

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As a crew, they traveled across the globe, from Israel to Ghana. Clayborn even credits Bill Taylor with influencing his love for black history which led to him opening the Wisconsin Black Historical Society 37 years ago.

"This very room that we're in now is our African room and so I mean this idea of being African or coming from Africa comes from BT, that's his model," he said.

The Wisconsin Black Historical Society Museum will be the location of a special memorial held for Bill Taylor. It's scheduled for August 3rd, which would have been Bill's 80th birthday.

"In true BT fashion, because he was very Afrocentric and so we want to have a little bit of that there so that they know that he cared about Africa and our ancestors and where we came from and being dignified about that," said King.

"He would educate. He would illuminate," reminisced Meekins.

"My father's personality and his wisdom was infectious. It permeated through not only his family but whoever he encountered, said Kwao. All of his work, whether in radio or TV, unabashedly was very proud of the fact that we come from African kings and queens and so when you have that as a foundation, you can conquer anything," said Danae with a smile.

The memorial is open to the public, but seating is limited, so you must RSVP.

For more information on Bill Taylor's celebration of life, click here.

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Former TMJ4 anchor Bill Taylor's family and former colleagues remember his legacy ahead of memorial services (2024)

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