In Memory of



Obituary for Milton Taylor

Milton Taylor, 90, died on July 1 from complications following a heart attack.

Milton was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 10, 1931. Enthusiastic about the idea of a Jewish homeland, he dropped out of high school and went to live in a Zionist commune in the south of England. He immigrated to Israel in 1951 and spent seven years there, mostly on Kibbutz Ami’ad; he also served for two-and-a-half years in the Israeli army. He married Miriam Reifer in 1957 and they came to the United States in 1958, living at first in New York City, where he studied at CCNY. After a year he transferred to Cornell University, receiving an undergraduate degree in agriculture, focusing on poultry genetics.

While at Cornell he became interested in microbiology and obtained a fellowship for graduate study at Stanford University. There he earned his Ph.D. in Biology while working in the laboratory of Charles Yanofsky on viruses that infect bacteria. Milton then did research as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California at Irvine, and in 1967 became a professor of Microbiology at Indiana University, where he researched and taught for 41 years.

Milton Taylor had a large influence at Indiana University, both as a teacher and as an internationally renowned research scientist. A large number of his graduate students became lifelong friends and colleagues, and his dedication to teaching and research affected the lives of all his students. He started a virology program and he also reached out to non-major undergraduates by designing a course on human history and viruses.

After retiring in 2008, Milton wrote two books, Viruses and Man: A History of Interactions and A 20th-Century (Jewish) Life: From Shepherd to Professor of Virology. He is survived by his wife Miriam; his sons Yuval and Jonathan; their wives, Karen and Etsuko; four grandchildren: Thalia, Jacob, Rina, and Alex; his sisters Beatrice and Adelaide; and his brother Maurice. A graveside service will be held at 1:30 pm on Sunday, July 3, at Valhalla Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the JDC or Magen David Adom.