Friends shocked by death in Montaña de Oro

The Taylors' car was discovered in Montaña de Oro State Park, at the end of Pecho Valley Road.
The Taylors' car was discovered in Montaña de Oro State Park, at the end of Pecho Valley Road. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The Los Osos octogenarian accused of killing his elderly wife in what appears to be a failed suicide pact is expected to be arraigned Friday, even as the community that the pair served for decades seeks to come to grips with the tragedy.

Friends of George Taylor, 86, and his wife, Gewynn Taylor, 81, said Wednesday the highly public and horrifying death and arrest is not the way to remember the Taylors.

“They were just a really generous, behind-the scenes couple,” friend Richard Margetson said. Others portrayed the couple’s relationship as the epitome of a lifelong love story.

George Taylor was arrested Monday just before midnight in a parked car in the Coon Creek parking lot at the end of Pecho Valley Road in Montaña de Oro State Park. Gewynn Taylor was found dead in the passenger’s seat.

The Sheriff’s Office is being tight-lipped about details beyond confirming the charges and arraignment. Authorities would not say what weapon Taylor allegedly used, nor would they say whether he is under suicide watch.

Taylor has hired a lawyer. Margetson and another friend said they hoped to speak with him during visiting hours Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, their friends and acquaintances are seeking to move beyond the shock. Many said the couple had been involved locally since the 1970s.

The Taylors were visible in many ways, most notably at Board of Supervisors meetings, where, on Tuesday mornings, Gewynn Taylor would routinely speak out about the Los Osos sewer, often with George Taylor in the audience. Sometimes he spoke as well.

But the sewer battle was hardly the extent of their public involvement, Margetson said. If there was a cause that needed a helping hand, the Taylors were there, often behind the scenes, he said. They were active with the Prado Day Center and the Maxine Lewis Memorial Shelter, for example, raising money for the latter through Needs and Wishes.

“These people were community activists in the true sense of the word,” said Pat Renshaw of Los Osos. “They showed up and they participated, and they were always there for Los Osos.”

While only George Taylor knows what took place at Montaña de Oro on Monday night, speculation was rampant Wednesday that health issues may have led to the incident. George Taylor in particular has been in visibly declining health over the past year or two, according to their friend, Marshall Ochylski of the Los Osos Community Services District.

Ochylski, who said he was still in shock, said, “I have never seen them apart. When you take one part away, you have no way of knowing what’s going to happen to the other part.”

Some sought to tie the death to the fight over the Los Osos sewer, but others said this is a time to remember the Taylors and their works and to not politicize the story.

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