Jake Taylor Remembered as Caring Watchdog

Jul 04, 2018
Supplied Photo Thomas “Jake” Taylor

“We lost an individual who really cared about our community.”

That’s how Barnegat Township Mayor Frank Caputo reacted upon hearing that Thomas “Jake” Taylor had passed away on June 24 at age 86.

For decades, Taylor regularly attended meetings of the township committee and the board of education, and was not shy about expressing his views. His main concerns usually revolved around taxes and fiscal matters. Bond ordinances often drew his consternation, eliciting complaints that such practices would put the township in “hock for years,” as he would say.

“Jake was definitely the watchdog,” said Caputo. “While we didn’t always agree, there’s no doubt he left his mark in Barnegat.”

Deputy Mayor Alfonso Cirulli said he had talked on the phone with Taylor two weeks before he died.

“He was feisty right up to the end,” said Cirulli. “I got to meet him shortly after I moved to Barnegat in 1974 and already he was well known in the community. I had a good relationship with him and treated him with respect. He was very passionate about what he believed in and was never afraid to speak his mind.”

A Korean War veteran who served with the U.S. Air Force, Taylor was also a long-time member of Barnegat VFW Post 10092. Scott Sarno, board of education president, said Taylor coordinated the post’s Voice of America and Patriots Pen essay contests.

“Jake was a true patriot, and he instilled those values in our school children,” he said.

Sarno said he had known Taylor for most of his 19 years as a township resident.

“I know sometimes he might have come off as being a tough guy, but once you got to know him, you understood how much he cared about the future of the town and the schools,” Sarno said. “When I was new on the board, he helped me in becoming familiar with issues. I considered him a good friend and I’ll miss him a lot.”

A Facebook group page in which Barnegat matters are discussed posted this tribute: “Our page has always been dedicated to trying to improve the lives of Barnegat residents. No one has ever attempted to do so with as much passion as Jake Taylor. Despite getting on in years he would be there month after month, meeting after meeting. Jake was not an eloquent speaker nor was he blessed with a vast vocabulary. What you got was what he meant. He was a fighter and he did so to the very end. He never gave in nor did he ever stand down. He was a rare breed and he will be sorely missed by many.”

—Eric Englund



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