Several FC alumni reminisce and share their experiences and favorite memories about Larry Taylor, former Hornet and Torch adviser who passed away March 16. A celebration of his life and the impact he had on students is being held Saturday, April 29.
Bill Norris, who held many editor positions on The Hornet and spent a year on The Torch, first met Taylor in spring 1990.
“Larry was Zen,” Norris said, “just a calming influence and a guiding hand.”
Norris recalled he was always there for pizza for the Thursday press run before the Friday print release, constantly floating over writers and editors to stay productive.
“He would come into the room in his Birkenstocks and relaxed look. He had his quirks but always with a reason,” explained Norris.
Gina Tenorio-Norris, who had several semesters on The Hornet and The Torch, respected his genuine personality saying, “Everybody had their own impersonation of Larry.”
“He had a one-of-a-kind demeanor and was spontaneous about his wit,” Tenorio-Norris explained, “He always loved to show his age…with such relaxed confidence, sitting back, one leg always crossed.”
Kelli Fadroski, entertainment writer for the OC Register for 11 years and a former student Taylor’s , recalled Taylor’s openness.
Even though he was an instructor, “Larry was an equal,” Fadroski explained, “He never talked down to us students. He treated you like a professional.”
Eugene Fields, who wrote for the OC Register and first enrolled in Taylor’s JOUR 101 course in 1992, remembers Taylor’s motivation “to seek the truth in an unbiased manner” and the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principle.
“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to become a professional journalist,” Fields admitted.
Marc Posner, Director of Campus Communications at Cypress College, was also an active member of the Hornet and the Torch.
“Larry was strict and exact, but would never berate or tear students down,” Posner described,”[he was] direct in feedback and constructive.”
Posner admired that he was still an active journalist as he was instructing, “coming in with clips frequently every day.”
Taylor would continually cover local events, whether it be theater at the South Coast Repertory or jazz festivals in Newport and Monterey.
Taylor’s successor for the newspaper Julie Davey, cited Taylor as one of her inspirations in an interview on the FC Centennial Staff Stories website.
“He knew all about advertising and had been a professional in the business,” Davey explained, “The Hornet and Torch never ended up in the red, thanks to his expertise. He had done my job and set the tone for excellence in journalism.”
In the state of the nation where the term “fake news” has been coined, Taylor’s former students also provided some advice they have received from their mentor.
The recurring theme of advice his former students stated dealt with obtaining a story with absolute integrity.
“Don’t take crap from anyone,” Fadroski expressed. “Do what you love and do it right. Don’t let people stiff arm you when you’re in the quest for the truth.”
“Just keep writing. Learn what’s important. Stay engaged,” Norris advised. “There is never an agenda with the news. It’s our job to report and tell people what’s happening.”
One of the big things Larry emphasized was that “it’s okay to surrender to the career,” Tenorio-Norris mentioned.
“You can be excited by the stories and be able to find the energy and the passion within them,” Tenorio-Norris continued, “but also don’t forget to push away from the desk. There always has to be a balance.”
“Just search for the truth and have the ability to be fair and balanced. It’s what makes a journalist,” Fields said.
“[Larry] instilled in me the love for local journalism,” Posner said.
Posner emphasized that everyone can cover global issues, but “as a journalist, proximity is such a key element of news.”
Today, Posner implements his instructor’s insight at Cypress College as campus communications director.
Posner also highlighted Taylor’s personable nature as a family man through his second wife of 34 years, Gail Taylor.
“Evidently he was just warm and helpful,” Taylor said, “If someone needed to talk to him, he was there for them.”
The couple shared the affinity for the theatre, especially Shakespeare, and jazz music.
“He was always theatrical,” Taylor recalled, “He loved to write poetry and even brought out my creative side.”
Taylor channeled his inner poet and wrote for his wife in any occasion whether it be for an anniversary, holiday or birthday.
For music, Taylor loved jazz so much he would recognize a particular song on the radio, down to the featured musicians, the specific album and the year it was recorded.
He would climb aboard countless jazz cruises and attend virtually every
Monterey Jazz Festival and the local Irvine and Newport Beach Jazz Parties.
Along with being a thespian and jazz aficionado, Taylor was an adventurer and loved hiking and “just seeing the world.”
After retiring from FC, Taylor took his hand at travel writing, appearing in local publications and later in International Travel News.
Glenn Lawrence “Larry” Taylor began his path to journalism as an active member on the newspaper staff at Pasadena City College.
He graduated with a degree in journalism from San Jose State College and later earned a master’s degree in English at Cal State Fullerton.
Taylor decided to teach full time as both an English and mass communications instructor at CSUF, while being the advertising adviser of the student newspaper, The Daily Titan.
He transitioned from CSUF to Fullerton College in the summer of 1975 to become advisor of The Hornet, the college’s weekly newspaper.
During his 25-year tenure, he advised the award-winning publications of Fullerton College, The Hornet, the college’s weekly newspaper and The Torch magazine.
Along with his wife, he is also survived by his stepdaughter, nine grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. Taylor would have turned 85 on April 6.
To keep his legacy alive at FC, the Fullerton College Foundation has established the Larry Taylor Memorial Scholarship to be endowed to a “promising jazz student.”
Family, friends, and former students of his will gather to celebrate his life and legacy at Angelo and Vinci’s in Downtown Fullerton on Saturday, April 29 at noon.
For more information about this gathering, contact current Hornet advisor Jay Seidel via firstname.lastname@example.org.