Today was a great day to be a fifth-grader at West Side Christian School, especially for Kyler Berghuis.
As the sound of the drumroll echoed throughout the library, Life Story Funeral Directors Matt Hollebeek and Lee Karelse announced Kyler the winner of the 8th Annual Heritage Life Story Writing Contest.
“Yay!” “Go, Kyler!” “Nice work!” And other cheers erupted around the room as he made his way to the front to claim his oversized check (a highlight for all the kids!). The prize? A $500 scholarship toward Kyler’s tuition.
Kyler interviewed Dr. Joseph Taylor for the contest. Dr. Taylor worked as a pediatrician at ABC Pediatrics for 44 years and now lives next door to Kyler.
“He’s really good,” said Kyler, adding that Dr. Taylor was “one of the doctors when I was born.” “And he was in the Army.”
Kyler’s family was in on the surprise and also showed up for the award presentation.
“You told a really good history and we could tell you learned some important things about Dr. Taylor,” Matt said. “We’re excited to have you be the winner.”
After reading his life story aloud, Kyler and his family stuck around for pictures, hugs and more congratulations, while we treated his classmates’ (and Kyler, too!) to ice cream sandwiches.
“As Life Story Funeral Directors, we see the value of stories—telling life stories and preserving life stories,” Lee said. “This contest is meant to encourage kids to ask qood questions and to learn about both storytelling and listening.”
The winner of the All Saints Academy Life Story Writing Contest will be announced Tuesday. Stay tuned!
Read Kyler’s winning story below.
Dr. Joseph Taylor
Dr. Joseph Lee Taylor (known as Doc), is a man with many big stories and a big life. He has many passions including raising ponies, planting trees, spending time with family, and University of Michigan football.
Dr. Taylor was born on February 3rd, 1937 in a small town called Hudson, Michigan. At that time, the Great Depression was coming to an end, gas cost ten cents/gallon, a new home was around $4,000, the Golden Gate Bridge opened and Snow White came out in theaters.
Dr. Taylor’s father was a dentist, but they also had a family shetland pony farm, and at one point had around 200 ponies. He and his brother would display the ponies in shows. However, his brother Tom was much better with the ponies, and became a veterinarian. Along with his brother Tom, he also had a sister Kay. The three of them enjoyed many great times on the farm. One of their best memories was trying to travel with a pony in the backseat of their car, and driving it around town with its head out one window and its tail out the other! His favorite gift was a John Deere Tractor and a hay bailer.
Dr. Taylor graduated from high school with a class of only fifty students, and only four of them went to college! He went to college at Albion, and played football and ran track and cross country. After Albion, he went to the University of Michigan to become a doctor. Dr. Taylor cares greatly for small children, and became a pediatrician. Shortly after graduating, he was called to be in the Air Force during the War on Vietnam, working as a doctor. His most intense job was “moonlighting” at a hospital in California while in the Air Force. He was the only staff member working through the night, and wasn't able to sleep. In 1961 he married his wife Janet, and was married to her for 57 years. She recently passed away from Dementia. They had four children together, Tracey, Tammy, Mary and Trent. Dr. Taylor loves land and has purchased many acres of land over the years, and loves to plant new trees. He planted almost all of the trees on his land that he now lives on. He retired as a pediatrician at the age of 75.
Dr. Taylor loves the verses Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that says “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...” These verses are special to him because they remind him of his wife that passed away, and that God is with us through all trials in our lifetime. Dr. Taylor loves God, and is convinced he met his wonderful wife through God’s grace. He and Janet were able to attend church together at school and he says his wife had a great connection to the Lord. Dr. Taylor is an amazing role model, as he displays his love for God in everything he does..