WEWAHITCHKA, Fla. (WMBB) — Gulf County residents showed up in large on Wednesday at David Taunton’s funeral service.
He was a well-known resident and respected former Gulf County judge.
Gulf County’s veteran services and ship director, Joe Paul, has worked for Taunton since 2002.
“Judge Taunton’s one of the reasons why I’m still here today, because of his ability to see things in people that other people don’t see,” Paul said.
He passed away on November 8 at the age of 80. According to wife Abigail Taunton, David had been battling declining health over the past year and a half.
Although he is gone, he leaves a tremendous legacy behind. Along with serving on the bench, Taunton served his community by taking in homeless children by the hundreds.
Through the Taunton Family Children’s Home, he and Abigail have fostered and raised nearly 400 children over the past few decades.
“The best thing about my dad was that he always saw the potential in everyone he met,” biological daughter Mary Taunton said. “He was that sculptor that saw more than just a slab of marble. He saw the imagine inside of that. And kids that came here would come from bad childhoods and all different situations, and he never once saw them for that. He always believed in what they could be.”
According to their website, their children’s home is a privately-owned haven with a mission of providing a stable, loving, Christian environment to children who need it the most.
Abigail says they’ll work to keep the doors open to the Taunton Family Children’s Home.
“He leaves us a mighty big hole to fill, but I think with all the kids’ support and all the community support – which has kept us going all these years – that we’ll be able to do it, and we promised him we would and we’ll do our best to carry on his legacy from here on out,” Abigail told News13.