John Taylor — Creator of Clerks’ Quiz — Passes Away
June 12, 2016
A memorial service will be held Saturday, July 30, for John Taylor, retired San Francisco City & County clerk of the board, who passed away recently from natural causes at the age of 88.
The 1989 creator of the popular California Clerks’ Quiz that presented at the CSAC Annual Meeting, John was affectionately known as “Mr. Clerk.” He played a regular role in updating the Clerks’ Quiz each year and was even working on the 2016 version earlier this year. The Quiz was a labor of love for John as it grew from 116 questions that first year to more than 1,200 today. For those who did not have the pleasure of ever meeting John but regularly took the Quiz, it was his voice you would hear. Here is a 2014 submittal to CSAC’s “County Voice” blog about the Quiz that John helped write.
John served as San Francisco’s Clerk of the Board of Supervisors for 16 years, retiring in 1998 at the age of 70. During that tenure, John worked with 32 board members, nine different board presidents, four mayors and hundreds of department heads and board staff members.
He was so respected there that after his retirement, they named a committee room after him. He was also known among staff and supervisors as “Mr. Taylor,” as outlined by a 1998 San Francisco Chronicle article about his retirement. The article states:
Supervisor Mark Leno recalled that when he was appointed (to his seat) he asked Taylor what he should call him. “Call me John,” Taylor responded.
The next day, they passed in a City Hall corridor and Leno said, “Hello, Mr. Taylor.”
“I thought I told you to call me John,” Taylor said.”My only possible response was, ‘Yes, Mr. Taylor,’ ” Leno recalled.
Prior to being appointed to the San Francisco Clerk of the Board position, John served for two decades as a city manager in five cities, including Fresno and Berkeley. He also worked in the private sector as an urban development specialist.
John is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Barbara, as well as four children, and numerous grandchildren.
The celebration of John’s life on July 30 will be held at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., in Berkeley, starting at 2 pm.
John – we mean, Mr. Taylor – you will be missed.