Zachary John Taylor was born on June 14, 1992 to Tom Taylor and Kristin Millis in Salt Lake City.
Zach spent most of the years of his life in Moab and was a proud sixth-generation Moabite, with his great-great-great-grandfather Norman being one of Moab’s first settlers. He graduated from Grand County High School in 2010. He followed in his father’s and big brother’s footsteps and played football and wrestled. In football he was a team captain and led his team up through the semi-finals. In wrestling he placed in state three years in a row where in his senior year he placed second in state. He was considered by many as the second-best wrestler in the 215-pound weight class in the entire state of Utah. Zach was also on the varsity soccer team, where his team went to the state championship his senior year. He was relatively new to soccer but excelled in it and enjoyed it very much.
Zach also enjoyed drama, which culminated with his starring role as King Sextimus in the play “Once Upon a Mattress.” He shined in this non-speaking role as the mute king because he was so good at using facial expressions and body language to captivate the audience. He really stole the show.
Zach had the privilege and honor to be voted both Mr. GCHS and Male Athlete of the Year his senior year. Despite all the accolades and successes, Zach never thought himself above anybody else. He never had anything bad to say about anybody, and nobody ever said anything bad about him. He also attended the University of Utah.
Zach loved anything outdoors from a young age. He enjoyed hiking, biking, rock climbing and rappelling, swimming, shooting guns and exploring the country. Early on, Zach discovered his love for river running, a bug he caught from his mother, Kristin, and his uncle, Zane. He soon became a proficient river runner and was a river guide for two seasons.
He was a consummate funny guy, from wearing a luchador mask at his high school graduation, to screaming like a sasquatch, without warning, on a night hike to Delicate Arch (almost soiling the pants of his hiking companions and other hikers down the trail). If you saw a kayaker riding down the Colorado River wearing a gorilla mask, it was Zach.
Last year, Zach decided he needed to “find himself” and in the fall went on an extended four-month trip living in and exploring the jungles of Mexico. It was the best time in his entire life. He went there as a boy with questions, and came back a man with answers.
Zach was a defender and champion for the underdog and a natural mediator. He always gave sound advice to friends or family with a problem.
Zach is survived by his father, Tom and step-mother, Jeanette Taylor, and his mother, Kristin, and step-father, Bruce Millis. He is also survived by his sister, Allyssa (Nathan) Keogh, brother, Zane (Kemrey) Taylor, sister, Abigail Taylor, sister, Emma Millis, and step-brothers, Christopher and Aaron Foster. Also surviving are his grandmothers, Adrien Taylor and Ruth Johnson.
Zach is also survived by the lights of his life, his nephew, Liam and niece, Kemzey. They both loved playing with their Uncle Zach immensely. Unfortunately, Zach’s nephew Tyr was born just days after Zach’s passing, but to celebrate, Tyr was given the name Zachary as his middle name. He is also survived by a niece, who will be born in May, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Zach was preceded in death by his grandfathers, Sam Taylor and Ken Johnson, whom he both loved and admired.
Zach, we will miss and mourn you more than we ever imagined. But we all know how the last thing you would want is for us to be sad, but rather happy to have had the honor of knowing you. The world is at such a loss without you. You deserved to have such a long life to shine your light on everybody who knew you.
Services will be on Saturday, March 23, at the Grand County High School auditorium, at 1 p.m. Interment will follow at the Grand Valley Cemetery. There will be a viewing at Spanish Valley Mortuary on the Friday night before from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a potluck dinner at the high school cafeteria following the interment on Saturday.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the GCHS high school sport of choice or Grand County Search and Rescue.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.SpanishValleyMortuary.com.