John Tillman Talbert Jr. died Tuesday, October 14, 2003. He was born October 23, 1922, in Allendale, S.C., a son of John Tillman and Fannie Knight Talbert. He was a graduate of Allendale High School and The Citadel, Charleston, S.C. He was a veteran of World War II, having served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army Engineers on Monas Island and Trinidad from 1943 to 1945. Upon leaving the Army, he worked with the Federal Aviation Administration in Raleigh, until the office was moved to Wilmington in 1947. After six years in Wilmington, Mr. Talbert became assistant director of the S.C. Aeronautics Commission in Columbia, S.C. He returned to Wilmington in 1955 and founded the engineering firm of Talbert, Cox and Associates with William Cox of Charlotte. This firm soon became a leader in the field of airport aviation, with five offices in four states and, at one time, Ethiopia and Iceland. They designed airports in the U.S., Africa and Iceland. He was an accomplished pilot. As Mr. Talbert s firm evolved from 1955, he was responsible for educating many young professionals in the field of airport engineering. Many of them remained with his growing Wilmington office where he continued as a mentor. Others left to open satellite offices, expanding the company. Their loyalty was due in large part not only to his extensive engineering knowledge, but also to his leadership and integrity. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church where he served for many years, first as a deacon and then as a ruling elder. He was moderator of Presbytery in 1961 and 1962. He served on innumerable church committees until illness forced him to retire. He was a volunteer for Hospice and Second Helpings. Mr. Talbert was a long-standing community leader, having served as campaign chairman of the United Fund in 1971 and president of the Cape Fear Area United Way in 1974. He served on the Board of Directors at First Union Bank for several years, acting as chairman in 1980-1982. He was a member of the board of the YWCA, the Wilmington Historic Foundation, the Thalian Hall Board of Trustees from 1976-1993, serving as president from 1979-1981. He was also president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1972. He served on the board of Oakdale Cemetery for 26 years, serving as president from 1986-1990. He was a member of the American Association of Airport Executives, the N.C. Society of Engineers, the S.C. Society of Engineers, the Georgia Society of Engineers and the Tennessee Society of Engineers. In October of 1995 he was inducted into the S.C. Aviation Hall of Fame. He was a member of the Cape Fear Country Club, the Carolina Yacht Club, an honorary member of the Cape Fear Club and the L Ariosa German Club. Surviving are his wife, Gretter Duffy Talbert; two daughters, Margaret T. Davenport of Wilmington, Catherine Snead and husband, Ben, of New Bern; two sons, John T. Jay Talbert III and wife, Cindy, of Wilmington and James Duffy Talbert and wife, Karen, of Columbia, S.C. In addition, Mr. Talbert is survived by eleven grandchildren, Harris Talbert, Charlotte Talbert, Carrie Talbert, J.T. Talbert IV, Simms Davenport, Duffy Davenport, all of Wilmington, Madeline Talbert and Rhett Talbert of Columbia, S.C., Tillman Snead, Lizzie Snead and Charlotte Snead of New Bern. In addition, he is survived by two brothers, Dr. O. Rhett Talbert of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., and Francis Talbert of Columbia, S.C.; a sister-in-law, Peggy Talbert of Jacksonville, Fla.; several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be conducted at First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington at 2 p.m. Thursday, October 16, 2003, by Dr. Ernest Thompson and Dr. O. Rhett Talbert Jr. of St. Petersburg, Fla. Interment will follow in Oakdale Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Alzheimer s Family Relief Program, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871. Andrews Mortuary, Market Street Chapel, is in charge.
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