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Kingsport attorney mourned by colleagues

BECKY CAMPBELL • Feb 26, 2007 at 11:09 AM

It really takes only two words to describe Cary Taylor - family man.

That was the overwhelming opinion of the Kingsport attorney as members of the criminal justice community remembered him Monday.

Taylor, 58, died Sunday while playing golf with friends at Ridgefields Country Club.

Courthouse staff in Blountville and lawyers throughout the area were still reeling from the news on Monday.

"When I found out I was in shock," said Deputy District Attorney General Barry Staubus.

"I liked Cary a lot. He was a family man. I hate to see he's gone - not just professionally but personally because of his family."

Taylor, who had more than 30 years experience, recently opened a new office on Main Street with his youngest son, Whitney, as his law firm partner.

Taylor's oldest son, Cornell, of West Virginia, is also a law school graduate.

"Cary was the ultimate professional. I had great a great deal of respect for him and enjoyed working with him," said Assistant District Attorney General Gene Perrin.

Perrin, also a devout family man, said he admired Taylor's dedication to his family.

"It was always clear to me his family was his first priority. I'm sorry for the loss."

Even on the judiciary side, Taylor was remembered fondly.

Circuit Judge Jerry Beck said he was the opposing counsel when Taylor had his first case in Blountville.

"He was firm when he needed to be firm. He was very serious when it came to his clients," Beck said.

"When he got to trial it was ... war, but before trial and after trial it was over," he said.

Everyone in the law field knows Taylor could be a storyteller. During court breaks, Taylor could often be found in the back hallway telling stories and joking around.

Criminal Court Judge Robert Montgomery described Taylor as "always upbeat."

"He was a good friend and a good lawyer. He will be greatly missed," Montgomery said.

As late as last Thursday, Taylor appeared in Montgomery's court.

Longtime friend Rick Spivey, also a Kingsport attorney, spent much of Thursday talking to Taylor while they waited for their cases to be called.

"We talked a long time about a lot of meaningful things," Spivey said while remembering that last conversation.

The two had been friends since high school, he said.

"I'm heartbroken," he said of Taylor's passing.

"He was a wonderful person, a lot of fun to be around, a very caring man (and) extremely family oriented," Spivey said.

"The most important thing in his life was his family. He and (his wife) Paula were inseparable," and Taylor was "rejuvenated," with his son joining the practice, Spivey said.

"He was extremely excited about practicing with Whitney," he said.

District Attorney General Greeley Wells called Taylor a "longtime" friend.

"He was a very good attorney. He represented his clients well within the ethical confines our profession," Wells said.

"He will be sorely missed by the profession and by me personally. I extend my heartfelt sympathy to his family," Wells said.

Taylor is survived by his wife, Paula, and sons Cornell and Whitney.

Taylor was also the brother of local businessman and developer Stewart Taylor.

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