Vail Daily obituary: Robert Bonfoey Taylor, 1952-2014
Robert Bonfoey Taylor died peacefully at his Denver home on Friday. Born Oct. 21, 1952, in New York City to Vernon Jr. and Ann Bonfoey Taylor and raised in Denver, Robert was an avid skier, pilot and accomplished businessman in the oil and gas industry.
Robert received degrees from University of California, Berkeley (B.S.), and Columbia University (MBA), and moved back to Denver to form TATEX Energy in the early 1980s following an early career on Wall Street. He built TATEX Energy into a successful oil and gas exploration and production company in the Western United States. In the late 1980s, TATEX Energy became active in international exploration, with ventures in the North Sea, Eastern Europe and Yemen. Robert formed TATEX Thailand in 2002 and, with a handful of fellow investors, APICO LLC, to commence oil and gas exploration and production activities in Thailand. In 2003, APICO drilled a natural gas well that led to the discovery of significant natural gas reserves now known as the Sinphuhorm Field on the Khorat Plateau in Thailand. Today, natural gas from the Sinphuhorm Field provides clean fuel for electric power generation for rural communities and cities in northeastern Thailand.
Robert split his time between Denver, Vail and Thailand. He loved to travel and was frequently abroad with family, friends and colleagues. He was known for his quick wit and marvelously mischievous sense of humor, which included playing pranks on his travel companions. Although he traveled throughout the world, he reserved his deepest love for Thailand, a country he visited over 80 times. He dedicated the last months of his life to the creation a foundation, the Robert B. and Suwaree A. Taylor Foundation, to leverage the wealth of his lifetime into an organization to provide educational resources to children in Thailand. Yet Robert was quietly generous, never one to make a big deal when he helped others. This includes the time he jumped into the Gore Creek to save a child who had been swept away from the bank — saving his life.
A lifelong denizen of Vail, he was also a longtime member of The Denver Club, Camp Robber’s of Vail, The Brook Club in New York City and The Racquet and Tennis Club in New York. He remained close to friends and colleagues in New York City throughout his life.
He is survived by his loving wife, Suwaree A. Taylor; his two children, Zachary and Elizabeth; his brothers, Vernon Taylor III (Naomi Marks), of Long Island; Douglas Taylor (Monica), of New York City; Craig Taylor (Michelle), of Pacific Palisades, California; and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; stepbrother James Negley Cooke III; and stepsister Diann Cooke Coombs.
A funeral service will be held at The Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 19 Vail Road in Vail on Saturday at noon. Interment at the Minturn Cemetery will follow the service. Robert wished to be buried in the mountains near Vail. In lieu of flowers, an organization where memorial donations may be made in Robert’s name will be announced at a later date.