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William H. Taft Jr

William Halsted Taft Jr., 86, died on May 14, 2015, after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.


Mr. Taft was born in Montclair, NJ, to Mr. and Mrs. William Halsted Taft (Janet Enger), and was a distant cousin of President William Howard Taft. He graduated from The Lawrenceville School in 1948, and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers University. Mr. Taft served in the U.S. Army, earning numerous medals during the 14 months he spent in Korea. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal with one Bronze Star, the United Nations Korean Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.


After his military service he joined the Prudential Insurance Company, located in Newark, NJ, rising through the ranks of the company to become a vice president of investments. Mr. Taft took part in organizing Asset Corporation of America, Inc., a minority-owned pension asset management firm in Alexandria, VA, after leaving Prudential in 1990.


A longtime volunteer at The Seeing Eye, the guide-dog school in Morristown, NJ, and a former trustee of The Harding Land Trust, Mr. Taft was an active resident of Harding Township, NJ, where he spent most of his life. In his almost two decades as a member of the township planning board, he was chairman for two years and a member of the township committee for 12 years, the last six of those years as mayor. In 1989, the township honored him with its Distinguished Citizen Award.


Mr. Taft is survived by his two sons, Timothy E. Taft and William P. Taft; his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Fawcett (Fay Taft), and their daughters Ashley Greene and Pamela Hynes. A memorial service was held on June 6, 2015, at The Lawrenceville School’s Edith Memorial Chapel.

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