June 6, 1979 ~ November 3, 2018 — Army Major Brent Russell Taylor, age 39, was killed in action on November 3, 2018, while training an Afghan Army commando battalion, near Kabul, Afghanistan. He loved his fellow American soldiers, his NATO colleagues and the Afghan people.
Brent was born on July 6, 1979 in Ogden, Utah, the second of eight children of Stephen and Tamara Jones Taylor. Five of his brothers joined him in his military service in the Army National Guard. The Taylor family lived in South Ogden and Clearfield, Utah; North Highlands and Garden Valley, California; and then settled in Arizona in 1991. Brent showed an early passion for business and politics. During his senior year at Chandler High School, Brent earned his Eagle Scout Award and was elected student body president. He graduated in 1997.
Brent was a man of faith, and Jesus Christ was the foundation of all he did and all for which he stood. He was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spent two years serving as a missionary for the Church in the Brazil, Maceio Mission from 1998-2000. This time of full-time service largely impacted the course of the rest of his life.
After his mission, Brent attended Brigham Young University, where he met Jennie Kristin Ashworth on a blind date–less than a month after she returned from her own full-time service as a Church missionary in the Chile, Santiago North Mission. They enjoyed a sweet courtship and were engaged on a Saturday in June of 2003. Brent enlisted as a soldier in the Utah National Guard the following Tuesday, with Jennie proudly by his side. They were married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on September 18, 2003.
Brent spent most of 2004 completing his Basic Training (Fort Leonard Wood, MO) and Counterintelligence Training (Fort Huachuca, AZ). He then joined the ROTC at BYU, and was commissioned as an officer in July of 2006 (Fort Lewis, Washington).
Brent received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from BYU in 2006 and a Master’s of Public Administration from the University of Utah in 2012. He was nearing completion of a Ph.D. degree in International Relations from the University of Utah at the time of his death. The University will award him this degree posthumously in the spring of 2019.
Brent felt compelled to serve wherever and however he could. Brent was honored to have served three previous Army deployments: Mosul, Iraq (2007); Baghdad, Iraq (2008); Kunduz, Afghanistan (2012); and He was awarded a Purple Heart Medal and a Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was loved and respected by those with whom he served and by those who he was serving. And he genuinely loved and respected them.
In November of 2009, Brent was elected to the North Ogden City Council after his two consecutive tours of duty to Iraq. He quickly earned the respect of the residents and city staff alike, and was elected to the office of Mayor in November of 2013. He ran unopposed for his reelection in 2017.
Brent often spoke of the three great loyalties in his life: God, Family and Country. For him, service to any one of these, was service to all three.
Though Brent’s death truly caught everyone off guard, all who know and love him know that he died for his country without regret.
Brent is survived by his wife, Jennie; their seven children, Megan, 13; Lincoln, 11; Alex, 9; Jacob 7; Ellie, 5; Jonathan, 2; and Caroline, 11 months; parents, Stephen and Tamara Taylor (Ogden UT); siblings, Matthew (Natalie, of Orem, UT), Bryan (of South Ogden, UT), Michelle Moore (JD, of Mesa, AZ), Derek (Janel, of Gilbert, AZ), Devin (Haley, of Pleasant View, UT), and Travis (Jordan, of Clearfield, UT); parents-in-law, David and Kristin Stroud (No. Ogden UT); siblings-in-law, Kenneth Ashworth (Lindsey, of Layton UT), Michael Ashworth (Kristen, of Farr West UT), Kristy Ashworth Pack (Jared, of Pleasant View, UT), Brandon Stroud (Melanie, of Alpine, UT), Jamison Stroud (Shelby, O’Fallon, IL), Shane Stroud (Andrea, of Cumming, GA) and Brittany Atkinson (Erik, of Milton, GA), and 49 nieces and nephews.
Family wasn’t just something to Brent; it was everything. Busy as he was, he always made time for them. He could regularly be found working with his children in their “Mini Farm” or chasing them around the backyard. He enjoyed hunting and fishing with his brothers and sons. Skype made it possible for him to enjoy family discussions and scripture study with his wife and children, and to witness the first steps of his baby girl Caroline.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Troy Taylor; grandparents Benjamin and Ruth Taylor and Douglas and Gene Jones; father-in-law, Rod W. Ashworth; sister-in-law, Ashley Stroud; and nephew, Hunter Taylor.
MAJOR BRENT TAYLOR FOUNDATION
Help us carry forth the legacy of service-oriented leadership that was exemplified by US Army Major Brent Taylor, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on November 3, 2018 while having taken leave from his elected position as the mayor of North Ogden City, Utah.
The Major Brent Taylor Leadership Legacy Foundation aims to:
TRAIN current and future leaders through leadership workshops and scholarship opportunities.
HONOR local military members and their families through telling their stories and celebrating their service.
ENGAGE community members through cultural and performing arts events.
Our initial project in TRAINING service-oriented leaders is to fully fund the Memorial Scholarships in Brent’s name at each of his Alma Maters–Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. Additional funds will be used to sponsor leadership training opportunities for youth and adults alike.
Our initial project in HONORING military members and their families is to have a Gold Star Families Monument installed in North Ogden City and another one near the Utah State Capitol grounds in Salt Lake City. Similar monuments are being built all over the nation, through the Hershel “Woody” Williams Medal of Honor Foundation. These will be the first such monuments in the state of Utah. Learn more at http://hwwmohf.org/.
Our initial project in ENGAGING individuals, families and businesses involves spreading the word about this new Foundation, and creating an uplifting and inspiring presence on a variety of social media platforms.
We hope you’ll join us and make a donation today!