NEIGHBORING NOTABLE: Hickory attorney looks inward for strength

HICKORY N.C. — Terry M. Taylor believes it’s important to nurture the spirit as well as the body.

“If you’re strong within, you can be strong without,” says Taylor, a partner in the Hickory law firm of Young, Morphis, Bach & Taylor, LLP.

“I have a strong faith, and I always try to look for the good in every person and every situation. That, and a very solid support system, give me the strength I need.”

Taylor, a devoted family woman as well as a community volunteer and professional, credits her parents for much of the success she has experienced.

She grew up in Downers Grove, Ill., a small town near Chicago. Her father was head of maintenance for a chemical plant, and repaired televisions and radios as a side business.

“Dad, who was largely self-taught, has a deep love of science,” Taylor says. “He taught us that there’s nothing we were incapable of if we applied ourselves. Mom loved the city, and instilled in us an appreciation for the arts as well as science. Both of them believe in giving back to the community wherever possible. They are both very curious about the world and all it has to offer, and by planning and budgeting were able to introduce us to travel. And both had and still have a strong faith and a very positive attitude. I was fortunate to grow up that way.”

Taylor is a graduate of Western Illinois University, where she received an undergraduate degree and a Master’s Degree in Geography with a concentration in Zoning and Planning. She received her law degree from Wake Forest University in 1984.

She was employed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before getting her law degree, and has been with the same firm her entire legal career. Young, Morphis, Bach & Taylor, LLP is celebrating its 60th year.

Taylor is certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a specialist in real‑property law for business, commercial, industrial and residential transactions. Her law practice includes primarily commercial real estate law, business and corporate transactions, local governmental entities and authorities, tax-exempt organizations, wills and trusts, and estate planning. She is the attorney for the Hickory‑Conover Tourism Development Authority, the Western Piedmont Regional Transit Authority (Greenway Transit), and has served as the town attorney for Sawmills in Caldwell County since the town was incorporated in 1988.

Taylor says she has had several great mentors, including Morganton City Attorney Steve Settlemyer, for whom she once clerked; and the late E. Murray Tate Jr., a former Hickory city attorney.

“I’ve been blessed in my career,” Taylor says. “At this firm, I’ve been blessed with capable people who can step in for me whenever they’re needed.”

Taylor also feels blessed to have a supportive family. She and Doug Taylor, retired executive director of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary this year. They have two adult sons, Rick and Brad, both of Catawba County; a daughter, Ashley, a senior at Duke University; and five grandchildren.

“In addition to being my best friend and soul mate, Doug has been very supportive of everything I’ve ever wanted to take on,” Taylor says.

She has taken on quite a bit. Taylor’s community involvement includes the Frye Regional Medical Center Auxiliary Hospitality House, Women’s Resource Center, Western Piedmont Symphony, United Arts Council of Catawba County, Catawba Science Center, Through Healing Eyes, Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont, Hickory Downtown Farmer’s Market Association, and the Willard Chair Committee at First Presbyterian Church of Hickory.

Professional memberships include the American Bar Association, North Carolina Bar Association and Catawba County Bar Association, of which she is a former president.

Ask people about Taylor and the words “strong,” “fair” and “dedicated” come up repeatedly.

Sawmills Mayor Bob Gibbs says Taylor is an excellent communicator who is adept at handling the town’s legal affairs conscientiously while maintaining friendly relationships with just about everyone.

“She’s very aware that we’re a small town, a close-knit community,” Gibbs says. “Terry is part of our town, part of our family. She’s been there for me and for every mayor before me. She’s special people in my book.”

Mark Sinclair, retired executive director of the Catawba Science Center, agrees.

Taylor headed the Science Center board of directors in 2004-05, when the organization was preparing to add its now-celebrated planetarium and aquarium.

“Terry helped create a conservative but exciting path for the Science Center,” Sinclair says.

“She’s a powerful but understated professional woman who tends to have a calming influence on the people around her. She certainly had that influence on me, and I’m grateful for that. I have nothing but the utmost respect for her.”

Taylor enjoys traveling, reading, writing poetry, playing golf, following college sports, and has become an avid practitioner of yoga.

“Yoga has become my release mechanism,” she says. “It’s good for the soul and spirit as well as the body, and it puts you in contact with some great people.”

She says there are plenty of great people and institutions in the Hickory region, which makes it a fine place to live, have a career and raise a family.

“For a small city, Hickory offers some phenomenal opportunities, including an art museum, a choral society, a symphony and the Catawba Science Center,” Taylor says.

“The people here are generous. Even in the downturn, people have been very giving.

“And they are creative, which I believe is important, especially now. We have to use our creativity to reinvent ourselves. I have faith that we can do that if we all pull together.”

NOMINATE A NOTABLE NEIGHBOR

If you know of someone who might make a good person to profile because of their contributions to the community, tell us who they are and why they are special. Email the information to news@hickoryrecord.com with neighboring notable in the subject line.

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