Remembering Joe Taylor

Longtime American Trails board member Joe Taylor passed away 12/03/2020.

It is with heavy hearts that we report the passing of longtime American Trails board member Joe Taylor, who passed away on December 03, 2020 due to COVID-19 related complications. We will always remember him as a thoughtful, involved, and invaluable member of the American Trails team.

Joe had degrees in History from Black Hawk College, Moline, Illinois and Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for ten years before accepting his first tourism position at the Galesburg Illinois Chamber of Commerce. He was employed the Quad Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau since its inception in 1990 and served as the Executive Director of the Evansville (IN) Convention & Visitors Bureau. He always had a personal interest in hiking and trail advocacy, which led him to visit more than 150 units of the National Park System. He co-hosted the National Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities in 2006, served on the board of American Trails, Inc. from 2007-2013, and served on the board of the American Discovery Trail Society from 2013 to 2016. Joe re-joined the board of American Trails in 2018, and served until his passing.

There will be a private celebration of life at a later date, and Joe's family wishes memorial donations to be made to American Trails.

Below are some personal thoughts from our staff and board members.

Mike Passo, Executive Director

Joe was a good friend to me and one of the best Board members I have served with. His eye for the details and his acumen for events was amazing. His kindness and positivity were uplifting. He will be sorely missed!

Candace Lynn Gallagher, Director of Operations

Joe Taylor was the first co-chair I worked with for our then National Trails Symposium when it was held in the Quad Cities of IA an IL. That conference was the best conference experience of my life because of Joe, and still one of the most memorable, and Joe was so passionate about the area he lived in and it showed. I learned so much that first year and that conference was a success because of him. He was one of the people that made me truly appreciate my job, which I still do to this day.

He responded to EVERY SINGLE follow up email I sent our webinar presenters in my thank you email, thanking everyone on behalf of the board. He was that thoughtful. I realize that our most recent webinar we held on December 3 won't receive that email...and I cannot stop crying.

I was so excited when Joe came back onto the board a couple years ago after having to exit due to board guidelines, and I was really looking forward to seeing him again for our next conference. He was always on the ball asking for the hotel details and registration information for board members. And he always reached out to me asking how he can help. He was ready to go and I am just devastated I won’t get to see him again.

photo credit: Mike Bullington
Joe speaking at the National Trails Symposium in 2006, an event which he helped make a resounding success.

Joe speaking at the National Trails Symposium in 2006, an event which he helped make a resounding success.

Jan Hancock, American Trails Board Member

So saddened with this news, and how fortunate we are to have known this wonderful leader for trails. As an American Trails Board member, I feel a commitment to carry on Joe's legacy with renewed dedication.

Marianne Fowler, American Trails Board Member

Here’s how I shall remember Joe — Joe and me sitting on a couch at the opening reception of ITS in Syracuse, taking a moment to observe and enjoy the crowd of enthusiastic trails supporters surging around us, toasting the movement we had helped build. I shall miss him dearly.

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