Remembering Jack Taylor

by Joe Reagan | Jul 05, 2016
This past Saturday, our region lost one of the best of us – a father and veteran, a pioneering entrepreneur and philanthropist who loved St. Louis and who gave selflessly to make his home a better place to live and work.

Jack Taylor was an inspiration for today’s entrepreneurs working to realize their dreams and create the next great St. Louis company. He took a tiny car rental business from the lower level of a Cadillac dealership and turned it into the world’s largest car rental provider, which now owns the Alamo, Enterprise, and National Car Rental brands. The company and its subsidiaries employ 91,000 people in more than 80 countries.

Jack was a great philanthropist and was especially generous to his hometown. We should remember him every time we walk through Forest Park, visit the Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, or the Saint Louis Science Center. His support was vital for us to enjoy the refurbished grounds at the Gateway Arch, attend a Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra performance, or read about a discovery at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

He placed an emphasis on supporting underserved communities and youth. Cumulatively, he and his company's foundation contributed many millions of dollars in support of local hospitals and universities, as well as groups ranging from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis to the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to the Black Repertory Theatre, along with hundreds of other St. Louis charities. For his selfless support of our region, the Chamber recognized Jack and his son Andy with our Right Arm of St. Louis Award in 2001.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “the purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” By any definition Jack Taylor demonstrated his compassion for others, his honor serving our county, and made a huge and useful difference in the lives of thousands of his fellow St. Louisans. He will be greatly missed.