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Jamie Taylor is publishing a book about husband Dave

U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Jamie Taylor

Laughter is the Best Medicine

United States Army Veteran Sgt. Jamie Taylor (42) has recently gotten back into stand-up comedy, and won a competition at The Frozen Lounge in Owensboro on Saturday evening, December 9th.
She has also been working on a book about Dave Taylor, her late husband, who passed away in September of 2022, and was a gifted writer and wrote for the Clarion.

“What’s funny is, I don’t really want to so much return to comedy or pursue it as anything serious,” Jamie said. “What I really want to do is, I’m working on Dave’s book with all of his columns and everything. My vision is to start doing public speaking engagements regarding the book, once I get it published.

My little brother, James, had a year long cancer battle, and ended up having his leg amputated. He went through everything and he still passed away. And so, between my brother having cancer and passing away, and my husband having cancer and passing away, along with having Dave’s book as something that is solid that I can share with people, really what I envision is doing public speaking at maybe churches or for small groups.”

The Book, The Letters, and God

The majority of the book will focus on Dave’s award winning column titled What I Learned from Dying, and also letters. “For Christmas of 2021, I wanted my present to Dave to be letters from people who knew him just saying what an impact he had on their lives,” she said. “For instance, one guy that Dave met in college at a Bible study group talked about what an impact Dave had on him. There were dozens of letters like that about how Dave was the best Christian and best role model of a Christian that anyone could’ve had, and how non-judgmental and forgiving he was. And, I’m including stories of me and him, some of our text messages from when we met and some of our emails and how God was always a part of our relationship.”

Jamie works from home and lives in Hawesville half the time, and at her home in Indianapolis the other half. She has been a Financial Analyst working for the U.S. Department of Defense for 11 years now. “The past year or so, I’ve just been grieving and dealing with Dave’s estate and all of his possessions,” she said, “but now when I’m in Hawesville, I have a lot more free time. My main goal is to just tell Dave’s story and encourage people in their darkest times with the message of God and God’s love. That’s why comedy is an interesting challenge, especially if you are a Christian. It’s hard to combine those 2 worlds – comedy and Christianity; It’s a difficult thing.”

Getting Back On Stage and Family Roots

She hadn’t performed on stage for 4 years until recently at the competition against 6 other comics. Her stand-up, she said, isn’t based on her own life, although she does sometimes add a seed of truth in. She said she’s always loved making people laugh and is a natural at it. One of her favorite comics is Jerry Seinfeld. Jamie grew up in Indianapolis. Her parents are John & the late Jane Wagner. Her mom was an LPN, and worked with critically ill children in their homes. “My dad was a Marine in Vietnam,” she said. “I’m a third generation veteran. My little brother was a marine too.”

A big part of her family’s culture, she said, is comedy. “I used to stay up real late with my dad and watch shows like Johnny Carson. Something about making my dad laugh was always the biggest joy for me as a kid. I had always been a funny jokester growing up. Laughter was always natural to me. I had a rough teenage couple of years with my mom passing away and some other tragedies and so I joined the Army right out of high school. I remember thinking I wasn’t funny anymore. I just felt like that part of me had died. For a long time, I didn’t really laugh or anything.

Learning the Craft

Once I got old enough to go to comedy clubs, I thought that was the coolest thing ever. I went a couple of times but then ended up being in very remote locations with the Army and so there weren’t any around. Later, I started going to comedy clubs again because I was living in Indianapolis and there were lots of them to go to. I ended up meeting a comic who owned a comedy club. I was becoming friends with local comics. We’d all sit together in the balcony and I got to see amazing comics like Arsenio Hall and Sinbad. I went to a couple of local open mics and I was naturally really good. I didn’t practice anything. I was just going up there. I took comedy improv classes, which was different. Then, out of the blue, Neil Snyder, comic and manager for a pretty big entertainment company, Mad Hatter Entertainment, contacted me. He said he had a show coming up in Carmel, Indiana and would like to get me on the ticket. I was super nervous because this was going to be my first, official paid gig. I went and did a really awesome job. Shortly after that, he said they were having a lot of big names coming up and that they were trying to build their brand and wanted to make a podcast. They bring a lot of big name comics to rural areas that don’t get comedy, and do shows in American Legions, VFWs, etc. They were booking names like Pauley Shore and Kevin Farley (the late Chris Farley’s brother).”

Dave knew Neil because he had done photography work for Mad Hatter, and that’s how he and Jamie first met online in 2020. Jamie was Neil’s co-host on 5 podcasts and the first episode had 20K views. On the day of the first podcast, Dave was listening in but they hadn’t met in person yet. Soon after, they went on their first date.

Still Very Much in Love

“I’m still very much in love with Dave,” she said. “I am grateful to God for meeting him and all of the beautiful moments we had. I carry that love with me. It gives me a confidence and a peace I could have never imagined. Even though he’s in Heaven and I’m down here, I still feel married to him and so much in love with him. I feel like he’s with me doing all of this awesome stuff, to be honest. If I had a dream and a wish, it would be to have a movie made about Dave and what we experienced with his cancer journey. With the connections I’m making and the information and experience I’m gathering, I could see that being a possibility as far as a hope.

I’m the number one project reviewer for Angel Studios, and part of the Angel Guild. Anyone can join. It costs a yearly fee but you get to review every project that is going through and vote on whether you believe that it has a positive, truthful message, and on whether or not you want it to be produced. Being a part of that over the past year has really given me a lot of hope, confidence, and it made me feel like I had a place back in the entertainment industry, as a Christian. I didn’t want to participate anymore because the entertainment industry was not Christian. It was anti-Christian. My name is in the credits for Sound of Freedom, After Death, His Only Son, and I’m going to be an extra in a movie coming out next year called Pharma, based on a true story of a woman who worked for the FDA. I’m just hoping that all these weird things about my life and how I’ve kind of been in the entertainment industry, come together to really get a message of hope out there and to help bring more people to God.”

When and Where to Get the Book

Dave’s book could be published as soon as in the next 3 months, and Jamie is going to self publish through Amazon. It will be available in hard copy and e-book kindle version. Jamie graduated from Ben Davis High School in 1999. She served 4 years in the U.S. Army, and is a retired sergeant. She earned her Associate’s of Science in Human Services, a Bachelor’s in Business Administration with emphasis in Marketing, and a Master’s of Science in Management. She’s a Dave Ramsey certified Financial Coach and a board certified Human Services Professional. She has served as Treasurer of her Home Owner’s Assoc. since September 2019. Her book club, Brownsburg Ladies’ Book Club, currently has 12 members. They have met every month since August of 2015, and have read 101 books as of this month. Jamie is blessed with one son, Jackson, who is 17 and a high school senior in Brownsburg, Indianapolis.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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