Robert Coover Taggart, 92, of Topeka died February 9, 2019 after a two week battle with cancer. Bob was born April 22, 1926 to Ethyl and Joseph Taggart.
He grew up in the College Hill neighborhood, attending Randolph, Boswell (where his future wife spotted him on the basketball court), and Topeka High. At Topeka High he played tennis, football, and basketball, was in Thespian Honor Society, sophomore Class President, junior Representative, Sunflower Boys State officer, and Student Congress President as a senior. He was a lifelong member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he practiced tennis on the church steps as a boy. He graduated high school early and started Washburn University, pledging Phi Delta Theta at age 17. He then served in the Merchant Marines in the South Pacific and the Azores. Returning to Kansas, he attended KU and graduated from Washburn, where he was fraternity president.
After college Bob married his high school sweetheart Jeanne Woodcox. They have two children, Robin and Joe, and a foster daughter Helene (Billy) Tadros. Robin and her husband Bob Hannigan gave him two granddaughters, Christal (Josh Coufal) and Kaitlin (Clayton Smith). Joe and his wife Tina gave him two grandsons, Able and Simon. Able and wife Ashley are parents to four great-grandchildren, Aliah (Michael Singer), Anthony, Mia and Ella; Simon and wife Christina gave him two great-grandchildren, Cashton and Jaiden. Aliah has given him a great-great-grandson Liam. Other special people are his sister Doris Lentz and his wife's caregiver Kim Mick. He always treasured his rescue dogs, bringing them to work each day.
Always a hard worker, his first job was on his bicycle delivering newspapers and magazines at age 10. While still in college he began his career as a Realtor for Davis-Wellcome in 1948. He co-founded Western Development Company, developing subdivisions around Shawnee Country Club. Next was "Love, Taggart and Robb", where he was involved in home sales, developing residential subdivisions, apartment complexes and shopping centers including Brookwood Shopping Center. He found appraisals more challenging, founding the Robert C Taggart appraisal company and earning his MAI appraisal designation in 1961. He also co-owned Midwest Appraisal, doing mass appraisal in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. He worked until he retired in June at age 92.
He was active in politics, serving two terms in the Kansas House of Representatives and two terms in the Senate.
Bob was well liked and never lost an election. He formed lifelong friendships on both ends of the political spectrum.
A natural athlete, he excelled at football, basketball and tennis, claiming city titles in single and doubles tennis.
Golf was a passion, with four hole-in-one's.
A staunch community supporter, he served on the Washburm University Alumni Association (including President), the Washburn Endowment Association, the Topeka/Shawnee County Planning Commission, Topeka Housing Authority, Topeka Board of Realtors (including President), Topeka High School Historical Society (organizing all Class of '44 reunions), 32 years with the American Home Life Insurance Company board, and with downtown Topeka redevelopment (Colmery Pocket Park).
A lifelong Phi Delt volunteer, he was the only man to be named Kansas Alumnus "Phi of the Year" twice. He was instrumental in the Phi Delta Theta's recent renovation. For his devotion and dedication he was named International "Phi of the Year" in 2017.
Bob was a great friend to many, in good times and bad, through thick and thin. Famous for early morning phone calls, mailing news clippings to friends and his warm smile, he kept an active social life - even driving his friends around town. He respected people from all walks of life, from billionaire friends to the trash men who he left donuts and chocolate milk for each month. Someone who never met a stranger, he was respected by others, a mentor, community icon and faithful friend. He was a generous man as well as a beloved family man. We're all lucky to have had him in our lives.
Memorial service will be at 3:00 pm Sunday, February 17, 2019 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1275 SW Boswell, Topeka, KS 66604.
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