Robert E. Taylor, 65, a retired aerial photographic reconnaissance specialist with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a former jaz pianist and mortician, died Monday at the Veterans Administration Hospital following surgery for obstruction of the bile ducts.

Mr. Taylor was the son of the Rev. Halley B. Taylor, the last pastor emeritus of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington. He was born in Wilson, N.C., and moved to Washington in 1925. He served in the Medical Corps of the Army Air Forces in World War II.

After the war, he graduated from the Echolls School of Embalming in Philadelphia and established the Taylor Funeral Home here. He operated his mortuary business until the early 1950s, when a lung ailment caused him to change careers.

He joined the DIA in 1951 and remained there until retiring in 1971 with an award of special recognition.

Mr. Taylor earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University. He lived near the university and boarded students from Howard in his home. As a young man, he played the piano with several local bands.

Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Etta Coralessa Taylor of Washington; a daughter, Bettie L. Nash of Silver Spring; two brothers, Dr. Halley B. Taylor Jr. of Arlington and the Rev. H. Herbert Taylor of Philadelphia; a sister, Louise Primas of Broad Run, Va., and two grandchildren.