In Loving Memory

Emmett “Lee” Taylor, Jr., d. December 12, 2018



In Loving Memory

December 10, 1938 – December 12, 2018


Spanish Fort, Alabama

Emmett Lee Taylor, Jr. (“Lee”), a resident of Spanish Fort, AL, passed away on December 12, 2018, surrounded by his loving family. 

Lee was born in Sheffield, AL, on December 10, 1938. He was a retired U.S. Navy captain, physician, and educator who devoted his professional life to his patients in private practice and later to the training and education of medical students and Navy medical officers. Lee was a lifelong mentor to many aspiring and successful physicians, and he was committed to improving access to primary care, especially in rural communities. He valued hard work, family, service, and duty to God and country, and passed these values on to his beloved children.

Lee graduated from Florence State College (now The University of North Alabama) in 1963 and received his medical degree from the University of Alabama in 1967.  He completed 27 years of honorable military service, spanning three branches of the Armed Forces: the U.S. Air Force, Army National Guard (AL), and U.S. Navy Medical Corps, from which he retired as a captain in 1993.

After medical school, Lee started a private practice in the foothills of the Appalachians and later practiced in Richmond, VA.  During his distinguished career, Dr. Taylor went on to lead the Department of Family Medicine at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, was the Director of Navy Medical Education programs in Washington, D.C., and served as Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. He later served as Associate Dean of the Amarillo campus of Texas Tech School of Medicine and finished his career as the Chairman of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

He has received numerous honors and awards, including two Presidential Meritorious Service Medals and two Navy Commendation Medals.  He also received the American Academy of Family Physicians Award of Merit for his contributions to American medicine.  Lee was especially proud to be recognized as Teacher of the Year by his 2003 class of family medicine residents at the University of South Alabama.  He was named 2001 University of North Alabama Alumnus of the Year.  And in 2008, he was appointed by Governor Bob Riley to the Alabama Family Practice Rural Health Board, serving until his death.

Lee was active in his church and enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren at the family’s lake house.  He was a loyal and loving husband to his wife, Dianne.  He enjoyed fishing and was an avid golfer.   

He was preceded in death by his parents, Emmett Lee and Eleanor McDaniel Taylor, and his infant daughter, Donna Lynn Taylor.  He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Dianne White Taylor, of Bay Minette, AL; son David Lee (Kerri) Taylor of Kennesaw, GA; daughter Kaye Taylor (Jerry) Balentine of Florence, AL; son Michael Edison Taylor of Savannah, GA; son Bryan McDaniel (Jessica) Taylor of Prattville, AL; and 13 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren who will always remember him affectionately as “Papa Lee.”

A service in celebration of Lee’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, January 4, 2019, at Providence United Methodist Church in Spanish Fort, AL.  The family will receive friends prior to the service starting at 12:00 pm.  Following the service, military funeral honors will be rendered at a brief service at the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort.   The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made to The Salvation Army or Providence United Methodist Church of Spanish Fort. Expressions of condolence may be offered at Hughes Funeral Home in Daphne, AL is assisting the family.


  1. Devona Smith

    Dianne – My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family during this difficult time. Dr. Taylor was one of a kind and I’m so glad that I got to work with him for a couple of years at TTUHSC Amarillo before you moved back to Alabama. It would always make me smile when Dr. Taylor would walk to the door of my office, motion me with his head and then we would go out to either the front or back “porch” of the building for a conversation. And how he told me that he associated my name with “devil” so that he could remember it and I acted all offended and told him I was an angel… then he would motion me by moving his shoulders like he was flapping his wings. Such a dear man who will be missed…..

  2. Dudley McCauley

    Dianne – Please know our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. Lee was a tremendous person whom I respected and thoroughly enjoyed working with for so many years. He achieved so much, earned so many honors and helped so many people. At the same time he remained true to his roots and was always a humble, caring and good friend. There are so many fond memories I wouldn’t know where to begin. But the good memories are what lingers on and keeps us going. The pain will subside and the sadness will give way eventually to the wonderful memories Lee left us all. Bless you and your family, Dudley

  3. Allen Perkins

    The department here at South remembers Lee fondly. We will certainly keep him (and you and family) in our thoughts and prayers

  4. Mike and Kathy Harrington

    Dianne, Michael, Bryan and family,
    We were all so saddened to hear the news about Lee’s passing. He will be deeply missed by the many many people he has touched for so many years as he devoted his life to patients, education and training young physicians to follow their heart into Family Medicine. He was a champion for primary care throughout all of Alabama and indeed the Nation. Although he received many distinguished awards, that he richly deserved, he never sought them out. He just worked hard everyday for what he believed in and remained close to his family and his roots.
    Lee was my Chairman, my boss, my mentor, my colleague, my neighbor and my friend. We met the very first day of my internship and he spoke a final farewell to me at my retirement ceremony. There was no other person who had such a lasting impact on my medical career than Lee.
    I will miss him every day but forever cherish the times we had together.

  5. Peggy Riberts

    We are so saddened by the news if Lee’s death.
    We send heartfelt sympathy to you and your family,
    Peggy & Bob Roberts


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