Popular bartender dead at 28


By Josh Howald

Matt Taylor was a great person and a great bartender, say those who knew him best.

Taylor died last Monday, May 24, due to a suspected heart defect. South-Bruce OPP Cst. Kevin Martin said Friday afternoon, however, that an investigator had been assigned to the case.

Taylor was the head bartender and longest serving employee at the Bruce Steakhouse/Club Seven-50, said the establishment’s owner Craig Kirkconnell.

“It’s a devastating loss,” said Kirkconnell Friday afternoon. “He was a great employee, a great bartender and a great friend. He had been with the Bruce since we bought it - he was like family to us.”

Paramedics and the South-Bruce OPP were called to a Hunter Street residence at 1:16 p.m. on May 24, said police Monday. Taylor was transported to the Kincardine Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. A post mortem has been conducted, and police say the investigation into his death is continuing. The OPP is using the assistance of the OPP Forensic Identification Unit and the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch under the direction of Detective Inspector Avery. Police said this is an isolated incident and there are no concerns for public safety.

Kirkconnell said that Taylor, a graduate of Kincardine District Secondary School, would go above and beyond to make strangers feel welcome at the Bruce.

“He would have done anything for anybody. He made people comfortable and wanted to know who everyone was and why they were there. He always had great stories, but good bartenders know how to listen – and he knew how to listen.”

Both customers and staff have been hit hard by the loss.

“People are taking it pretty hard,” said Kirkconnell. “It was so unexpected, and way too soon.”

People packed the Davey-Linklater Funeral Home Saturday for the memorial service.

Taylor is survived by his parents Kathleen Kilmer of Toronto and Kincardine’s Richard Taylor (Terry Moulaison), as well as sisters Sarah and Hannah of Toronto, grandparents Christine Kilmer of Port Elgin and Tiverton’s John Taylor.

“He loved his family,” said Kirkconnell. “We heard so much about them all the time. He had a big heart, that’s the way he was.”

Memorial donations to the Women’s House Serving Bruce and Grey are being accepted as expressions of sympathy.

“We’re just really going to miss the guy,” sighed Kirkconnell.

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