Obituary: Jack C. Taylor, trustee emeritus, 94

Jack Taylor

Philanthropist Jack C. Taylor, founder of Enterprise Holdings Inc. and a trustee emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis, died Saturday, July 2, in St. Louis, following a short illness. He was 94.

Taylor was a longtime, generous benefactor of Washington University. In 2001, along with his family and his company, he established the Enterprise Holdings Scholars Program, making it possible for some 60 to 80 deserving students to attend the university each year. Taylor bolstered that support in 2011 with a $25 million gift on behalf of his company, the largest ever pledged for scholarship support at the university.

“We are forever grateful to Jack Taylor and his family for their many enduring contributions to the university,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “Because of his dedication and their generosity, hundreds of students have had the opportunity to come to Washington University, where they have developed into the leaders of today and tomorrow.

“We have lost a friend and a member of the university family, and we will always remember Jack as a great citizen of our community.”

Jack Taylor, second from the left, meets with Enterprise Holdings Scholars in 2011.
Taylor with Enterprise Holdings Scholars in 2011.

In 1957, Taylor founded Enterprise Holdings, the most comprehensive service provider and only investment-grade company in the car rental industry, operating Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental, as well as its flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand.

Taylor was enrolled as a student at Washington University in 1940 as the United States entered World War II. He left school to serve in the U.S. Navy, where he distinguished himself as a Naval aviator, flying F6F Hellcat fighters and earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Navy Air Medal. Washington University recognized him in 2001 with an honorary doctor of humanities degree.

“The term ‘Greatest Generation’ was coined for men like Jack Taylor,” said William Danforth, chancellor emeritus of Washington University and founding chairman of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, in a company statement shared with the Associated Press. “He served his country with distinction in World War II, came back home, raised a talented family and built a world-class organization that has remained family operated, providing jobs for St. Louis and the nation.”

Taylor is survived by his children, Andrew (Barbara), a current member of the university’s Board of Trustees; and JoAnn Taylor Kindle (Tom Caruso), as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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