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Family, giving right up Dean Taylor's alley

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By Robert Villanueva

For more than 48 years, a sense of family and giving has been the driving force inspiring Dix-E-Town Lanes co-owner Dean Taylor.

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Those values have translated into helping start high school bowling leagues and offering children free games, among other efforts.

“It was Mom and Dad; they just ingrained in us boys: family,” Taylor said. “We were blessed.”

Taylor’s parents partnered with three others and purchased the bowling alley in 1962, the year after it opened its doors.

Between the ages of 6 and 11, Taylor spent as much or more time at the bowling alley as at home, he said.

In 1984, the Taylors bought out their partners and offered 20 percent of the business to their sons Dean, David and Denny.

At the time the boys were told they could keep their outside jobs while helping at the family business pay off the $1 million cost of the bowling alley. They worked at the bowling alley when they weren’t working their other jobs.

“That’s what’s kept us alive,” Taylor said. “People know we’re a family business.”

Though his parents and brother Denny have since died, that sense of family remains. Taylor even credits his mother with instilling another value.

“In life, if you don’t give, you don’t receive,” Taylor recalled his mother telling him.

North Hardin High School bowling coach Dan Robbins said that philosophy of giving defines Taylor.

“I think that’s exactly who he is,” Robbins said.

To that end, Taylor offers children in Hardin and surrounding counties free bowling when school is out for summer break.

Taylor drives a special-needs bus for Hardin County Schools and cherishes the children on his route.

Working with athletic directors and coaches from three high schools, Taylor also helped get high school bowling leagues rolling last October and helps coach the teams. He also gives credit to Hardin County Schools Superintendent Nannette Johnston for supporting the leagues.

Robbins gave Taylor credit with being greatly supportive himself. Taylor, Robbins said,  “never says ‘no’ to anything.” He even has made special dollar food menus for students when they arrive at the bowling alley to practice.

Taylor wants to do what he can to make the leagues successful, hoping to help reach out to middle schools that feed the high schools.

“We’re learning, all of us, because it’s our first year,” Taylor said.

That doesn’t deter his overall goal, though.

“I want to see Hardin County kick butt in bowling,” he said.

That might happen in a brand-new facility, too, Taylor said. He’s been approached about building a new bowling alley on part of his property at a cost of about $6 million, but no deal has been made. If he does agree to it, the new bowling alley likely would be up in 11 months, he said.

Regardless, Taylor said, bowling has come a long way since it was mainly supported by league nights. These days, open bowling is the backbone of the business, he said.

More often than not bowlers participate in groups or couples, rarely alone unless it is someone practicing, Taylor said.

Bowling attracts seniors, church groups and families, he said, the latter especially on weekends.

The accomplishment he’s most proud of, Taylor said, is seeing the business improve each year.

“And hard work does that,” he said. “And it’s not me; I’m surrounded by good people. But it goes back to family.”

Promoting the sport while maintaining the family business and giving to the community dominate Taylor’s life.

Robbins called Taylor first and foremost a “fantastic guy” and said his pleasant personality was infectious.

Taylor said it all goes back to family values, a philosophy of giving and the sport that has been his lifeblood.

“You’ve heard of cutting someone and Wildcats fall out?” he said. “You cut me, bowling balls come out.”

A FEW SPARE FACTS ABOUT DEAN TAYLOR:

Town of residence: Elizabethtown

Family: Wife of 30 years, Karen; daughters, Krissy, Deana and Dana; six grandchildren.

Favorite music: All genres; jazz; Yanni.

Favorite movies: “The Champ;” “Armaggedon.”

Hobbies: Shooting rifles and pistols.

Trivia: At about age 19 or 20 wanted to become a professional bowlerand, and beginning at age 24 in 1982, has bowled 21 perfect games of 300.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com

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