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Taylor’s clocks show up in prominent places

By Mike Helenthal

Of The Star Courier


     For Mark Taylor, time is not a thing to waste.

     Taylor, an independent businessman in Kewanee, has been using his spare time for the past few years making customized commemorative clocks for members of the community, as well as world leaders.

     At the end of February, Taylor received a letter from President Donald Trump thanking him for the clock he made and sent to the White House, and recently he received word that one of his clocks has made its way into the Pentagon.

     "Everybody told me he wasn’t going to get it," Taylor said last week of the presidential clock. "But he did."

     The president sent Taylor a thank-you letter on official White House letterhead, something that Taylor said he would cherish for the rest of his life.

     Taylor said he voted for Trump because "he’s trying to create more jobs and keep the U.S. safe. He’s helping a lot of people. The fact that I received this during Black History month was pretty special."

     Along with the clock, Taylor had sent him a note that said: "I think you can change America."


     Mark Taylor with longtime friend Charlie

     Summers over the holidays.


Summers at the Pentagon

with the clock Mr. Taylor

made for him.

     The 58-year-old clockmaker said he also recently received a note from Kewanee native Charlie Summers, who was a teammate of Taylor’s when they both attended Central School as seventh and eighth graders, and later at Black Hawk East College, where they were co-captains of the basketball team.

     The note from Summers, a Naval Reserve officer and former state senator of Maine, included photos of him holding the clock at various locations in the Pentagon. He told Taylor the clock was hanging in his office at the Pentagon.

     The two caught up earlier over Christmas after Summers returned for a visit home.

     "I was very blessed to see him and I still can’t believe I have a clock hanging in the Pentagon," he said.

     Taylor’s family is prominent in Kewanee history, hismother being the first African-American to graduate from the new Kewanee High School building in the 1950s, and his grandfather the owner of the Shell gas station in Kewanee from 1965 to 1980.

     It’s not the first time Taylor’s clocks have gained prominence. He’s also received notifications from former President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, both for whom Taylor made clocks.

     "I’ve got these clocks of mine all over the world," he said. But most of his clocks s tay local. In addition to his 13-year lawn and snow removal ! business, MT’s Service, Taylor sells the clocks to anyone wanting to memorialize a loved one or friend, or for sports teams. He said he’s made more than 250 memorial clocks.

     And he gives them away on special occasions, like for Star Courier Athletes of the Week. "I’m pretty sure I still give away more than I sell," he said.

     The clocks are not fancy, but they are unique. He buys an inexpensive plastic clock with a black frame from WalMart, removes the face, and then makes a cutout face from about 1,000 patterns he’s collected. The Trump clock had the president’s face and a "45" for being the 45th president. Summers’ clock had the Pentagon embossed on the face.

     "The first one I made was for my dad when he was in the nursing home," he said . "A friend told a friend and it just took off from there."

     It’s become a hobby and side business for Taylor, as well as a labor of love. I’ll get an idea at 1 or 2 in the morning," he said, noting that his clockmaking work is done from a station at his kitchen table.

     And when Taylor gets an idea, he follows through on it.

     "I just take a chance and see what happens," he said. "That goes for anything in life -- it’s all about taking a chance, and you’ve got to hustle and have ideas. You have to stay persistent and you can’t ever give up."

Please Share! 

Project time!!!!! KEWANEE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES....Missy Vail-Frakes, KHS Counselor, is looking for pictures of former Kewanee High School doesn't matter what year! Once a Boilermaker, always a Boilermaker! She would like pictures of the following: you on your college campus OR you working in your career. You can send the pictures to Kewanee High School, attn: Missy Vail-Frakes or email them to her at If you send your picture and would like it returned, please make note of that when sent. By emailing or sending her your post-secondary pictures, you are giving her permission to post them in our school to showcase our alumni! Thank you!


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