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Former Mustang football player celebrates 85 years of memories with friends and family

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MEADOWLAKES — John “Sonny” Taylor started his 85th year with a bit of a surprise.

His wife, Rosemary, had told the former Marble Falls High School football player she was taking him to Fredericksburg on his birthday Jan. 26. But he must have realized something was amiss when a limousine pulled up at his Granite Shoals residence.

Instead of Fredericksburg, Rosemary, his family and friends threw a surprise party at Hidden Falls Country Club.

As Taylor ate a plate of beef tips and vegetables, he scanned the room.

And he reflected on his life.

“Well, I feel younger than (85), I feel like I’m about 28,” he said with a chuckle. “I am really surprised, more so than the biggest surprise I’ve ever had. I’m very fortunate to have those kind of good friends.”

Taylor played for the Mustangs during high school and graduated in 1946. He scored five touchdowns in a win against Burnet. During his playing years, Marble Falls won four district championships.

Taylor earned a scholarship to Texas Lutheran, where he studied to become a coach. Once he finished his undergraduate work, he returned to Marble Falls to work but decided to pursue a master’s degree at Southwest Texas State. After completing his master’s degree, Taylor began working at North East High School in San Antonio. From coaching and teaching, he eventually moved to the administration side. Thirty-seven years later, he finally retired and returned to the Highland Lakes, where he settled in Granite Shoals

“It was a good move for me (to go to North East) because I was there as a coach a year or two and became an administrator and went on up the ladder,” Taylor said.

Attendees represented each phase of his life: high school chums, professional friends and church buddies.

He said he’s always tried to treat people the way he wanted to be treated.

“Try to help everybody else, and they’ll come through for you like this,” he said. “I’ve always tried to give people help. Look at all the friends I have. All real close friends.”

jfierro@thepicayune.com