Thomas Norwood Taylor was born in Lakewood, OH and received his bachelor’s degree at Miami University of Ohio, where he majored in botany (minor in geology) and played on the golf team. He received his Ph.D. in palaeobotany from the University of Illinois (1964) and went to Yale on a National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral fellowship. He served on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago; Ohio University; and Ohio State University, where he was also chair of the Plant Biology Department. He came to University of Kansas in 1995 as a Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Curator of Paleobotany in the Biodiversity Institute. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1994 and was appointed by the President to the National Science Board (2006-2012).
Thomas received numerous awards in his profession for his research, leadership, and teaching; served on local, state, national and international committees; volunteered for numerous administrative tasks throughout his career; and specialized in helping young faculty get funding for their research. His research was supported by the NSF for more than 50 years. He published 14 books and edited volumes, including textbooks, and more than 450 journal articles and book chapters. He loved fieldwork and collected fossil plants on 6 continents, including Antarctica. Tom truly loved his chosen profession, palaeobotany, and made friends all over the world who will greatly miss him and his support and friendship. He is survived by Edie, his wife of 30 years and the love of his life, 6 children and 14 grandchildren. Tom loved his job, his family, his cats and golf. He had a large heart and was quietly generous of his time and resources to his family, friends, colleagues, charities and even total strangers.
Please also read the Thomas Norwood Taylor (1938–2016) written by Christine Strullu-Derrien and Paul Kenrick: