Saturday memorial set for Brian Taylor | January 29, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 29, 2010

Saturday memorial set for Brian Taylor

Charitable donations will support schizophrenia research

A memorial service for Brian Bennion Taylor, 19, will be held Saturday, Jan. 30, at noon in Menlo Park at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Menlo Park Stake Center, at 1105 Valparaiso Ave.

Taylor, who died Friday night on the Caltrain tracks in Palo Alto, was a 2008 graduate of Gunn High School. He had been a varsity wrestler and tennis player, the service chair for the Gunn student body and a homecoming prince in his senior year. He had been an Eagle Scout and received a gold President's Volunteer Service Award for giving more than 250 hours of service within a year's time. (See obituary on page 13 for more on Taylor.)

His family believes his death was caused by his mental illness, according to a website they posted this week. Taylor had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, they said.

"The first unrecognized symptoms of Brian's illness were repetitive, looping thoughts during his sophomore year in high school," the family said. "School became increasingly difficult, and some relationships were more strained as he had initial symptoms of a mood disorder."

He began his freshman year at Brigham Young University in fall 2008. However, his escalating illness led him to return home after several months.

For the past year, the family has lived on a 240-acre cattle ranch in Granite Bay, Calif. Taylor worked at a sandwich shop there and attended Sierra College. During the last two months, he was receiving care at UCLA and Stanford medical centers.

"We rely on our faith, which assures that Brian is with loved ones and a caring God while we wait to see our treasured son again in the next life," the Taylors wrote.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that charitable donations be made to The Brian Bennion Taylor Legacy Fund. Contributions are tax-deductible and will fund research on schizophrenia as well as provide mental health support for those in need.

Contributions can be made by check, payable to Deseret Trust Company, for The Brian Bennion Taylor Legacy Fund and mailed to: Deseret Trust Company, P.O. Box 11558, Salt Lake City, UT 84147-0558.

Information on making contributions in the form of stocks, bonds or mutual funds can be found at

An interment service will take place next Wednesday in Provo, Utah.

— Palo Alto Weekly staff


Posted by For a good young man, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Rest In Peace, young man. Sympathies to all who are suffering through this tragic loss; you are not alone. Mental illness is a scourge, with too many victims. May Brian's life become a memorial to those who - like him - were/are victims of mental illness, and may Brian's life become a further memorial to present and future efforts that shine a light on the suffering and need of the mentally ill, in order to help all who suffer from mental illness, no matter its cause, or origin.

Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 27, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I love his pictures. He was such a handsome men. Thanks for sharing it to the Taylor Family. I am glad he is finally free from this awful sickness.

Posted by gunngrad 08, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 27, 2010 at 6:50 pm

I liked his pictures. He was a fantastic young man and very friendly.

Posted by Roy, a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm

He was such an heto and we will all miss him so.

Posted by a friend, a resident of Stanford
on Jan 27, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Brian's soul was gentle, caring, and compassionate. My heart aches that he was suffering.

Posted by Stella, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 28, 2010 at 9:10 am

The love is evident-God Bless you.

Posted by Marvin Lee, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 28, 2010 at 11:30 am

The effect on the crews of the trains must be enormous. I haven't seen any recent mention of that in any of the recent local discussions of these tragic events.

Posted by Morris, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:16 pm

According to this television station's web-site, there weer 19 people killed on the CalTrain tracks in 2009:

Web Link

That number seems be about the same (14-20) per year. It's difficult to believe that every train crew has not been involved in a fatal accident over the years. Periodically, the media will report that "counseling" has been offered to crews involved in a fatal accident.

Posted by Enough, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Thank you to the family for sharing what was perhaps, a reason. It helps.

Posted by Not the Place, a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Marvin Lee:

While I can appreciate your concern about the train crews, I do not think Brian's obituary is the page to discuss this.

Posted by Big Brother, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 28, 2010 at 2:54 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by amanda, a resident of another community
on Jan 28, 2010 at 4:31 pm

My heart goes out to the Taylor Family- your family was beautiful, is beautiful, and its evident that Brian was truly loved and cherished. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

Posted by stillpool, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 28, 2010 at 5:10 pm

My heart goes out to Brian and his family. The anguish of mental illness is a well-kept secret, and I applaud the Taylors for honoring their son by naming the physical illness that took his life -- just as he was on the brink of fulfilling all of his promise.

Until we all recognize that mental illnesses are biological conditions that a person can no more control than can they 'will themselves' to heal a broken bone or regulate their insulin.

God Bless you. And God Bless Brian.

Posted by Sheryl, a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2010 at 8:34 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Bert and Betty Johnson, a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2010 at 10:49 am

To the Taylor family,
We know what you are going through as our dearly beloved son took his life a little over a year ago. The memorial for your son will take place exactly one year after our son's Celebration of Life. We found that that day was the beginning of our healing process. Though the loss is horrific we know you will find, as we have, your faith will sustain you. We too know we have a loving and merciful God and that we will be reunited in Heaven. We loved the pictures of your wonderful son and please know that we are praying for you now and will continue to do so.

Posted by Blanchard Family, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 29, 2010 at 4:05 pm

You have our sympathies and our heartfelt support. May you feel respite from this terrible loss sooner rather than later. The Blanchard Family

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