Thousands of law enforcement officers and grateful citizens paid their respects to fallen CHP Officer Nathan D. Taylor at his funeral Tuesday in Roseville, with friends, co-workers and family extolling his exemplary service to the public.
Taylor, 35, died of injuries suffered when he was hit by an SUV on March 12 while investigating a traffic collision during a snowstorm on Interstate 80 in the Sierra Nevada.
His memorial service Tuesday morning at Hillside Christian Church was attended by scores of California Highway Patrol officers and law enforcement personnel from all over the country.
Also in attendance was Gov. Jerry Brown, California’s first lady, Anne Gust Brown, and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
A procession last week brought Taylor’s body to Roseville.
Officers from states as far away as New York, Minnesota and Florida attended Tuesday’s service. Taylor’s virtues as a highway patrolman who went above and beyond the call of duty were recited by CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow, Taylor’s own colleagues in the small Gold Run office, his wife and one of his brothers.
“Officer Taylor touched the lives of many,” Farrow said.
Taylor grew up in Loomis and graduated in 1996 from Del Oro High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Brigham Young University. He worked as a machinist after college, before joining the CHP. He completed cadet training in 2010 and was assigned to the San Jose area. He transferred to the Gold Run area in 2013.
He is survived by his wife, three sons, his parents, a sister and three brothers.
“Nathan was truly the love of my life,” said his wife, Becky Taylor. Taylor’s widow said it was her late husband’s nature to help others.
Speakers at the memorial service spoke about how Taylor would sit with a stranded motorist until a ride arrived, how he would comfort the injured in accidents and once even loaned one of the spare tires from a Taylor family vehicle.
He was not without fault. He might have bought too many video games and maybe he swallowed too many sob stories from motorists.
However, even his faults, in a way, were virtues – such as his habit of dipping into his own wallet to buy parts for cars of motorists whose vehicles had broken down on I-80.
His help and compassion would not stop there: Taylor would use the newly purchased parts to make roadside repairs for the motorists, dirtying his pressed CHP uniform and seeking nothing in return.
His payment came in the form of glowing letters sent to his CHP superiors from the public for his good Samaritan works along Sierra highways.
“He was an amazing, amazing person,” said fellow Gold Run Officer Matthew Sprague.
A private interment followed Tuesday’s memorial service.