Charles E. Taliefero’s passions in life were his family, his music and teaching, said Crystal Taliefero, his sister.
“If it wasn’t for my brother and his support, there is no way in the world I would be where I am today,” Crystal Taliefero, a member of Billy Joel’s touring band, said. “He has been so influential in my career. He was a great motivator.”
The siblings were in band together at Wirt High School and both attended Indiana University.
“He put bands together from nothing and made them something worth coming out and seeing,” Crystal Taliefero said. “He was a great showman.”
Taliefero kept in touch by phone with both his mother and sister after she moved away.
“We still wrote music over the phone instead of in person,” Crystal Taliefero said. “We always figured out some way to write.”
Taliefero, 52, of Bay Shore, N.Y., and formerly of Gary, had a successful career as a middle school teacher for more than 20 years.
“He was always teaching something since he was a little kid,” his sister said. “He brought himself up by his bootstraps.”
Taliefero was deeply involved in his children's education, shared his passion for music with them and was active in their extracurricular activities.
Taliefero could talk to anyone.
“I have not seen one person who did not like my brother,” Crystal Taliefero said. “He was never judgmental. He had his opinions, just like everyone else, but they were called ‘debates.’”
Each Sunday they would have a debate about current events.
“At the end of the debate, no one was upset as long as everybody knew the rules — if it is OK to disagree we can have a conversation,” she said.