A loving and devoted husband to Cynthia Taylor, a phenomenal and nurturing father, a proud and caring grandfather, supportive brother, a committed uncle, loyal friend, caring teacher and most of all a dutiful community activist, Lionel F Taylor, Sr. quietly transitioned from labor to rest on Thursday January 3, 2013. Born in Washington DC , on March 19, 1947 to the late John Taylor Sr and Jessie Sturgess. He was preceded in death by three brothers, Tyrone, John and Michael and a sister Gloria.
A lifetime resident of Washington DC, Lionel was educated in DC Public Schools at Gage Elementary, Shaw and Langley Jr High and graduated from the 1967 class of Dunbar Senior High School. As a youth he participated in sports such as football and baseball. Between the age of 11 and 14 he started boxing at the # 2 Boys Club, Eastern Branch with instructor Pete Queen. At the age of 14 he was introduce to Joe Manley and started learning the art of Bando. He grew up in an area where it was important that you knew how to defend yourself—therefore every week, he traveled to a small room in DC General Hospital where he began his life long journey of learning about martial arts.
After high school, he attended Federal City College, Washington Technical Institute and graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation. Lionel had a strong desire to make his community a better place and began living a life dedicated to the community that he came from. He was very active in youth sports and community services. He got his start with community based programs, monitoring and managing grant funded programs. He started his professional career at St. Martin’s Catholic School, serving as the Physical Education instructor and Basketball Coach, all while still actively participating in the martial arts world. He competed and won many kickboxing fights nationwide and was a Bando National Kickboxing Champion 1970-1972. During his professional career, one can see the influence of his passion for martial arts through the various programs he has been associated with over the years.
He then went on to DC Department of Parks and Recreation, where he wore many hats. In I972, he started as a Roving Leader in the Ward 5 community of Washington DC. He later became the Director of Langley Recreation Center which is now the Harry Thomas Sr. Community Service Center, where he served in that capacity until his retirement in 2009. He was always very active in the youth sports community within the Washington Metropolitan area. He brought martial arts to the children of Washington DC while affiliated with the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), serving as the karate instructor. He developed the United Youth Athletic Club (UYAC) where he managed five football teams, two cheerleading squads, softball and basketball teams and a whole host of other sports. Additionally, he played a large part in establishing the Jabbo Kenner Football League that was adopted by DC Department of Parks & Recreation. Furthermore, he was the founder and president of the Amateur Kickboxing Federation (AKF). He was responsible for writing the articles of incorporation of this organization and producing multiple kickboxing and martial arts tournaments in the area, such as Boxing under the Stars/ Kickboxing under the Stars. At his death, he was a 7th Level Black Belt in the American Bando Association, where he acted as a student, mentor, teacher, and friend to many in the Bando Brotherhood. His passion for Bando played a significant part in his life. Over the years, he coached numerous students in the fine art of kickboxing, which has netted him numerous awards and accolades. He felt that martial arts was his life and that it saved his life.
Additionally, he participated in and/or chaired numerous initiatives that have all sought to bring positive change within his community, such as the North Capitol Collaborative Inc., Weed and Seed Program, Neighborhood Planning Commission, and Friends of Harry Thomas Community Center. Lionel’s leadership over the years has been a treasured resource for developing and strengthening the youth and families in Ward 5 of Washington DC and beyond.
Many people loved and admired Lionel. He was known for his sincerity, unselfishness and kindness towards family, friends and acquaintances. He was always willing to assist others in any way he could. We, his family, are now comforted in knowing that he is safe in the Master’s arms and are confident that our faith will sustain us.
Many memories of his life will be forever cherished by: his beloved wife Cynthia Taylor, daughters Andrea, Shauntae (George), Tracee (John), Shannon, Desiree (Sebastian) and Dionne; sons Lionel II and Gerry, Theron; uncle Louis R Wilson; stepmother Georgia Taylor; brothers: Charles (Francine), Larry(Wanda), Garland(Betty) Keith, Rodney(Sabrina), Gregory (Louise) and James; sisters: Jacqueline, Deletrice, Darlene(David), Shadone (Larry), Jonita, Kay (Andre) and sister-in-law Sarah Taylor; 15 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and loved ones.