Former Rockhampton mayor Lea Taylor. FILE PHOTO
Former Rockhampton mayor Lea Taylor. FILE PHOTO

TRIBUTES: Former mayor remembered as a ‘visionary’

Former Rockhampton mayor Lea Taylor has lost his battle with cancer and died early Saturday morning.

Shannon Butterworth shared the sad news to Mr Taylor's Facebook page on Saturday.

"The family of Lea Taylor wishes to let all his family and friends know he lost his battle with cancer and slipped away peacefully in the early hours of this morning," Ms Butterworth's Facebook post read.

"We will post information for his funeral when it has been arranged."

Mr Taylor, who was 66 years old, served as mayor of Rockhampton City Council between 1991 and 1997.

He last ran for mayor in Rockhampton Regional Council's 2016 election, where the position went to former mayor Margaret Strelow.

Former Rockhampton councillor Rose Swadling said she had known Mr Taylor since he was 16 and a half years old.

Ms Swadling said she served with Mr Taylor as councillor when he was mayor in 1994 and had worked with him before that in the 1991 floods.

She said Mr Taylor was instrumental in the multicultural community, "bringing them together for social inclusion".

"He tried very hard to ensure people socially engaged in the community," she said.

She described Mr Taylor as a "visionary in his own right" and said she hoped people would remember him as a man who tried to make a difference.

"He was always a very hardworking man," she said.

"He only went for the best he had in his heart.

"He had some achievements and gave everything his best shot and when he left it was because he chose to leave.

"Graham and I offer our condolences to all during this very sad time."

Former Rockhampton councillor Rod Green worked as a councillor for Rockhampton City Council under Mr Taylor from 1994 to 1997 and said he witnessed a man that had the knowledge and respect of his counterparts.

"He was a wonderful statesman and I was proud to be part of his council as both a councillor and as a friend," Mr Green said.

"He was great as an advisor and really helped me through.

"He was a gentleman and I have nothing but respect for him.

"I offer my deepest sympathies for his family."

Mr Green said during Mr Taylor's term as mayor he started and delivered a number of projects that many people may not be aware of, "because a lot were underground".

"The northside duplication of the water and sewage allowed the Norman Rd area to develop," he said.

"Lea saw the need to expand Rockhampton, so he put the infrastructure in and that allowed for Rockhampton to grow.

"He also put water and infrastructure into the Parkhurst industrial area to allow that to grow too.

"He built the bridge out near the industrial estate in Parkhurst.

"It was a huge straight road that allowed trucks to go into the industrial estate and took all the commercial heavy vehicles away from the CBD area.

"It allowed the freedom and infrastructure to grow for the future as well as reduce the noise levels in residential areas.

"He also had the foresight to extend the water pipeline from Rockhampton to Gracemere for the southside reservoir.

"He did a lot of things people can't see that are underground, like water sewage and roads, that people take for granted but they are there now because of Lea and his determination to improve Rockhampton."

Readers have also commented their tributes on The Morning Bulletin's Facebook page.

Coreene White: A great person and singer. Fond memories. Taken way too soon. RIP Lea.

Leyland Barnett: RIP Lea, you will be sadly missed. You have been a good friend for many years. Condolences to your family and friends.

Paul Robinson: He was mayor when I first moved to Rockhampton in 1997. Great, larger than life bloke and will be sadly missed. Rest in peace.

Louise Huff: So sad to hear this, condolences to the family.

Elle Leahy: Condolences to the family. Lea was a very lovely man.

Amber Brennan: Very sad news, sending our thoughts and prayers to the Taylor family.

Daphne Franklin Murdoch: I went to school with Lea and he always protected me and others who were bullied. RIP Lea.

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