No matter where he looked, Doug Taylor saw trees. Everywhere he looked, from the food on his plate to the Loganville home where his family lived, he knew trees made it all possible.
“He knew the value of a tree was tremendous,” said his wife, Maria Montalvo Taylor.
Her husband didn’t fret when trees were cut down because he knew harvesting was part of managed growth, she said. In fact, he once told a friend “there was nothing prettier than a field full of stumps,” fellow forester Bill Craft said.
“What he meant was, if you’ve utilized the trees, those trees can provide a lot of the necessities that people enjoy,” Craft said.
William Douglas Taylor of Loganville, called Doug, collapsed Friday while cutting his yard, his wife said. He died of a suspected heart attack before paramedics could arrive. He was 53.
A memorial service was held Monday at Tim Stewart Funeral Home, Loganville, which was in charge of cremation arrangements.
At the time of his death, Taylor was a procurement manager for International Forest Products Ltd., also known as Interfor, which had recently acquired Keadle Lumber Enterprises. Taylor, who moved his family from Augusta to take the job, had worked for Keadle since 1997.
A native of Stone Mountain, Taylor graduated from high school in South Carolina and went to Clemson University to pursue a degree in forestry and life sciences. He eventually went on to earn an MBA from the former Augusta State University, now Georgia Regents University.
Taylor wanted others, especially young people, to understand forestry and life sciences.
“He loved seeing kids out in the forest,” said Becky Watson, who worked with Taylor at the Billy Lancaster Forestry Youth Camp since the mid-1990s. “He loved to see them in the outdoors and understanding what all goes on in the forest.”
Taylor knew the forestry message was important and needed to be explained, said Carla Rapp, director of forestry education for the Georgia Forestry Association.
“So many people think that when you see people cutting trees, in Atlanta for instance, that it is forestry, but it is not; that is development,” she said. “Forestry is the management of trees and woodlands. Doug knew the difference and he wanted others to know it, too.”
Taylor spent a lot of time working with schools in Walton County, his wife said. He helped students at Youth Elementary School plant hundreds of trees after the school opened in 2004. Many of the trees were accidentally cut by lawnmowers when they were small, but the remaining trees are now more than 20 feet tall, she said.
“Of course, they cleared everything for the construction of the school and what was left was acres of grass,” she said. “So Doug talked to the county and, with the help of some of the kids, we planted a forest on the back of the property.”
Maria Taylor said her husband wanted children to know there was life outside of digital games, so he did what he could to introduce them to nature.
“He loved working with the kids here,” she said. “Even if our kids weren’t in that school, he wanted to work with them anyway.”
In addition to his wife of 26 years, Taylor is survived by two teenage daughters, Olivia and Christina; his parents, William and Beverly Taylor of Covington; and a brother, Jeffrey Taylor of Rock Hill, S.C.