Viston Taylor III
February 5, 1946 ~ April 8, 2023

Viston Taylor, III, after a valiant years-long struggle with cancer, died on Good Friday, April 7, 2023, surrounded by his family in his home.

He was born in Miami FL, February 5,1946, to Viston Taylor, Jr., M.D., and Hazel Garvey Taylor, both of Chattanooga, TN He was raised in South Pittsburg, TN, where he attended public school until 1962 when he enrolled in the McCallie School and graduated in 1964. He enjoyed many decades of friendship and meetings with a close group of fellow McCallie graduates, “The Lads”, and lifelong friendships with South Pittsburg classmates. He attended Vanderbilt University and graduated with a B.A. in 1968. At Vanderbilt he belonged to Kappa Sigma fraternity and enjoyed reunions annually with a close group of his fraternity brothers. He received an M.A. in English from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 1970 and that same year began the Ph.D. program in English at Vanderbilt, where he completed ROTC training.

He entered active military duty, serving as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Branch in South Vietnam, 1971-72. Upon return and honorable discharge, he completed his coursework toward Ph. D. at Vanderbilt.

When he moved to Chattanooga in 1973, Viston began a career in gerontology and pioneered numerous programs for the elderly. He was hired to establish and direct the first Southeast Tennessee Area Office on Aging. He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, in 1980 where he received a Post Baccalaureate

Certification in Gerontology. In 1987 he established and directed the first Department of Geriatrics and the Senior Health Link Program At Erlanger Medical Center while completing a Master’s in Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management at the John’s Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, in 1989. After Erlanger he established and directed the first Southeast Tennessee Regional Community Health Agency, but was recruited within the year to become Executive Director of Hospice of Chattanooga where he served eight years. In 1998 he was recruited to establish Alexian Brothers’ Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) where he served as CEO for 23 years until his retirement August 2021. Of particular importance to Viston was his staff family at PACE with whom he remained in close relationship even after retirement.

Viston served his community in many volunteer roles among which were

President of the Arts and Education Council (2001-2003) and Chairman of the

Conference on Southern Literature (1989). He was appointed by County

Commissioner Claude Ramsey as Chairman of the Regional Health Council 1999 and appointed Chairman of the Southeast Tennessee Council on Aging by the SE TN Development District Board of Elected Officials. He also served on the governing boards of St. Barnabas Nursing Home, Sequatchie Valley Emergency Services, HCA Diagnostic Hospital, Hamilton County Medical Foundation (the first non-physician to serve), Tennessee River Gorge Trust, Community Research Council, Hosanna Episcopal Community, Ryan White AIDS Consortium, Special Transit Services,

Metropolitan Council for Community Service, Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare, Tennessee Federation for the Aging, and was a member of Chattanooga Downtown Rotary Club.

Because of his expertise on matters of aging, Viston was called to appear before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging in 1976, and again in

1993 to appear before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging.

Viston was appointed by Circuit Court Judge T. W. Graham to serve as Foreman of the Marion County Grand Jury where he served for eight years.

Honors and awards include appointment by Governor McWherter for a six year service on the Tennessee Commission on Aging 1989 - 1995; appointment by President Clinton in 1995 as a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in

Washington, DC, and by Governor Bredesen as a Tennessee delegate to the 2005

White House Conference on Aging in Washington, DC. He received the statewide Professional Advocacy Award from the TN Conference on Social Welfare in 1996 for his advocacy on AIDS; the Champions of Healthcare Administrative Excellence Award by Blue Cross-Blue Shield/Times-Free Press (2019); and the first “Good and Faithful Servant” Lifetime Achievement Award from Ascension Health (2019). Viston achieved the status of Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. He completed the University of the South St. Luke’s School of Theology program of Theological

Education for Ministry, 1997.

Viston loved teaching as adjunct faculty at Chattanooga State and University of

Tennessee at Chattanooga where he taught undergraduate courses in English Composition and graduate courses in Gerontology and Health Policy in the departments of English, Social Work, Psychology, University Studies, and Political Science from 1977 to 1995. He also served on the Geriatrics Faculty in the

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Viston was a man of remarkable abilities. He was an accomplished poet, having published Poems: Volume I, II, III - the last in 2022. Having an insatiable appetite for knowledge, he was a voracious reader on subjects including science, medicine, philosophy, literature, art, music, and history. Playing music daily was essential to him. He played keyboard and guitar throughout his lifetime with family and numerous rock/ jazz groups. He loved sailing, boating, snow skiing, and following Vanderbilt baseball; traveling and learning the languages of the countries he visited; and he especially enjoyed playing Backgammon and Cribbage with his wife, Roses, on a daily basis. Viston will be remembered for his kind, down-to-earth recognition of the value of individuals at every turn. His wisdom, sense of humor, humility, and belief in the individual always shaped his many lasting relationships in every endeavor.

Besides his parents, Viston is preceded in death by his son, Josephus (“Josh”) Conn Guild Colmore, Jr.

He is survived by Roses Watson Taylor, his devoted wife of 44 years; three children: Viston Barrett Taylor (Katie Stout), Sarah Colmore McKenzie (Thorpe), and Louisa Colmore Hurst; ten grandchildren: Hazel, Freddi, and Alice Taylor, Robinson and May May McGee; Conn and Wills Jannerbo; Eliza, Colmore, and Adelaide Hurst.

Siblings include Pam Taylor Baker (Ed Lamar, MD) of Cambridge, MA; Jan Garvey

Taylor of Chattanooga, TN; Steve Taylor (Debbie) of Franklin, TN; Greg Taylor of

Marietta, GA; and a host of awesome nieces and nephews.

An open visitation will be scheduled and announced soon. The family will have a private celebration of Viston’s life at a later time.

The family is grateful for the assistance provided by Hearth Hospice. In lieu of flowers contributions in Viston’s honor may be made to Metropolitan Ministries, Inc., Humane

Educational Society, Songbirds Foundation Guitars for Kids, Chattanooga Girls’ Leadership Academy or charity of your choice.

Funeral Home in Charge

Lane Funeral Home – South Crest Chapel
833 Chickamauga Ave
Rossville, GA 30741