HERSHEY, Pa. — A luminary of the antique vehicle-collecting hobby, Richard Taylor of Mansfield, Ohio, lost his courageous 11-year battle with pancreatic cancer on March 13. Richard, or “Dick,” as he was known to his many friends, was one of the founding fathers of the AACA Museum Inc., in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was deeply dedicated to his family and their home-building business Taylor Brothers Construction, and to the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). He was the first person to serve as president of the club, library, and museum, in 1996.
In advocating for the museum, Richard brought both his antique automotive experience and construction knowledge to the table. His experience in the trades allowed the museum to maximize its financial resources during the building’s construction, which began in 2002, resulting in a world-class facility when the doors opened a year later. Constructed with built-in provisions for expansion, the structure was also among the first major museums in America to employ a geothermal climate control system.
Richard was a tireless advocate for the museum. He and his wife, Mary Lou, made significant financial contributions and gave generously of their time. In addition to countless hours in planning and fundraising, Richard served as a volunteer general foreman during the construction and move-in phases of the building. In this capacity, he made nearly weekly trips from Mansfield to Hershey to keep on top of the project’s many facets. Many nights were spent onsite in his motorhome.
In 2019, the museum established the William H. Smith Fellows Program to recognize those who have had a significant impact on the museum’s success in fulfilling its mission. Richard was the first recipient of this award. The AACA Museum’s statement following Richard Taylor’s passing says the institution is “forever grateful to Richard and appreciate[s] the Taylor family’s wishes to honor his life through the support of the museum. Those wishing to make a contribution in Richard’s memory may send a gift by mail to AACA Museum, Inc., 161 Museum Dr., Hershey, PA 17033 or make an online donation here. Please include “Richard Taylor Memorial” in your correspondence or online contribution.
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