Dedicated to Friends, Past and Present


Memphis - Robert Taylor Abernathy III passed away on December 9, 2022, in Memphis, Tennessee at age 90. Taylor was born in Memphis on November 23, 1932, to R. T. Abernathy Jr. and Nell Beard Abernathy.

Taylor graduated from Messick High School and Memphis State University. He married Nancy Riggs Abernathy, his wife of 64 years, on June 6, 1954. After college Taylor enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he served as an aviator until his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel. During his career as a commercial airline pilot, Taylor flew for Southern Airways, Republic Airlines and retired as Chief Pilot of Northwest Airlines.

Taylor and Nancy had many interests and loved to travel together. A true craftsman, Taylor enjoyed woodworking, growing roses and bonsai, and cooking gourmet dishes from around the world. Taylor was an avid collector of antiques and American Brilliant Cut Glass and was a longtime member of the American Cut Glass Association. Fishing was Taylor's favorite hobby, and some of his most cherished memories were taking his family on an annual fishing trip to Lake El Salto in Mexico. Taylor loved spending time with his four granddaughters and showing them the world. Taylor enjoyed celebrating diversity and was a lifelong student of history and international cultures and cuisines.

Taylor is survived by his sons, Robert Taylor Abernathy IV (Amy) of Germantown, Tennessee and Lee Abernathy (Kathryn) of Denver, Colorado; grandchildren, Lauren Abernathy (Darragh), Emily Marino (Thomas), Anna Maneclang (Gil) and Allison Abernathy; and great-grandchildren, John Marino Jr., Lucille Maneclang and Mary Taylor Marino. Taylor was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, his parents, and his sister, Gene Abernathy Graham.

The family will receive friends and family at a memorial service on Saturday, November 11, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Parkside Event Center at Memorial Park Funeral Home, Memphis located at 5668 Poplar Avenue.

​Memorials may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Robert Taylor Abernathy III
​November 23, 1932 - December 9, 2022