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Carrying On Taylor's Legacy

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Couple Honors Son Through Connection With His ISU Fraternity

By Joe Foreman, Editor

“Make a difference in the world.”

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The message inscribed on a courtyard bench near the home of Iowa State University’s FarmHouse Fraternity serves as a memorial for Taylor Williams, a 2015 ISU graduate, who passed away unexpectedly from a recent cardiac procedure in December 2016 at the age of 25.

The memorial bench is one of many ways Roger and Georganne Williams are honoring the legacy of their son, a young man who made a difference in the world adhering to the values he learned as a child growing up in Glenwood and embodied during his time as an ISU student and active FarmHouse member.

In April, Roger and Georganne traveled to the fraternity’s Founders Day program in Ames to present the Taylor Williams Memorial Engineering Scholarship, given annually to a qualifying FarmHouse member in junior or senior class standing. At the same program, Roger was inducted as an associate member of FarmHouse and Georganne was presented the Friend of FarmHouse Award.

“It was very humbling and emotional for us,” Roger said.

Roger is also an ISU graduate, who studied farm operations and agricultural mechanization in the early 1980s, just as the Farm Crisis was unfolding. He had many friends who were FarmHouse members, but never joined the fraternity himself. He went on to have a highly-successful career in banking before joining Georganne in management of their family mortuary business.

When Taylor became an ISU student in 2010 and  became involved with the fraternity, Roger recognized the names of many of his son’s fraternity brothers. Some were the sons of friends Roger had made during his time on campus.
“It’s 30 years later and a lot of people I was familiar with had sons in FarmHouse,” Roger said.

Roger and Georganne immediately developed a strong connection with the fraternity during Taylor’s first year at Iowa State. They saw the positive impact the FarmHouse experience was having on their son and they fully embraced  the values the fraternity strived to stand for – Faith, Ambition, Reverence, Morality, Honesty, Obedience, Unity, Service and Excellence.

 

“We emphasized faith, family and giving of yourself in life as Taylor was growing up,” Roger said. “FarmHouse developed Taylor to the next level. It helped him grow and continued to be important to him after he graduated.”

 

Georganne, who helped coordinate numerous special events and activities for FarmHouse while Taylor was attending Iowa State, said she was caught off guard and brought to tears as she was recognized with the Friend of FarmHouse Award.

 

Roger and Georganne plan to stay connected with FarmHouse and continue to carry on Taylor’s legacy through the engineering scholarship.

 

“What we decided to do (through the scholarship) is to fulfill his destiny of helping others,” Roger said. “Taylor once told me, ‘All I want to do is make a difference in the world.’”