Tears of sorrow were pervaded by bonds of unity as family and friends came together to mourn California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Thomas Taylor.
Taylor, 28, died last Thanksgiving Day after being struck by a car while issuing a traffic citation along Interstate 10 near Cathedral City.
Taylor, a Cathedral City resident, is survived by his wife, Brenda, and 8-year-old daughter, Kristie Lee.
A CHP officer for two years, Taylor had previously been a sergeant in the United States Marines.
Taylor left a deep impression among his fellow officers, said CHP Sgt. Jerry Thomas, who delivered Taylor’s eulogy to a standing room only crowd at the First United Methodist Church.
“From that first day, Mark was a morale builder. He was a fast learner, always ready to help, no matter how hard the job or the task might be,” Thomas said.
Taylor was the second CHP officer from the Indio office to die last year. Officer Michael Allen Brandt, a close friend of Taylor’s, was killed April 6 when his patrol car spun off Highway 74 just south of Palm Desert while Brandt was pursuing another driver.
When Brandt died, Taylor took it upon himself to act as a liaison between Brandt’s family and the California Highway Patrol, assuring the family’s needs and concerns were taken care of following their loss.
Following the memorial service, Taylor’s flag-draped coffin was carried from the church past ranks of saluting law enforcement officers by an honor guard of United States Marines – in attendance to honor Taylor’s six years of service as a Marine.
Before his remains were placed in a waiting silver hearse, the flag was removed from the coffin by the Marine honor guard, folded, and given to Taylor’s widow.
Dozens of law enforcement officers were in attendance.
Further services were scheduled in Taylor’s hometown of Benton Harbor, Mich. Burial was at North Shore Memorial Gardens, Hagar Shores, Mich.
The CHP sent an honor guard back to Benton Harbor, Mich., to attend the funeral.