Al was the youngest of four children born to John and Marie Talbot. He was born on October 22, 1930, and raised at 44 Brookside Road in Springfield, PA, where he attended Saint Francis of Assissi School and graduated from West Catholic High School in 1948.
After graduating from Villanova University in 1952 with a degree in chemical engineering, Al worked for the Houdry Processing Corporation. He later applied and was accepted to the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He completed the Academy in 1955 and married Mariann “Nancy” Matthews on July 30, 1955, at St. Stephen’s Church in Philadelphia, PA.
Al was stationed in New Orleans, LA, and Gulfport, MS, where Al and Nancy welcomed two daughters: Marianne (1956) and Bernadette (1957).
After his service in the Coast Guard, Al and Nancy returned to Pennsylvania, eventually settling into a new home on Scott Lane in Wallingford. Al began a long and successful career in the oil refining industry first returning to Houdry (1958-1966) and then at Sun Oil Company (SUNOCO) (1966-1997). Al worked in Research + Development and was granted several patents for his work. He was invited to testify before Congress and traveled the world to present his research to international engineering and scientific bodies.
After returning to Pennsylvania, Al and Nancy would welcome 6 more children: Paul (1959), Kathleen (1961), Michelle (1963), Teresa (1964), Michael (1966), and Peter (1974). It is no wonder that Al’s most frequent birthday wish was for “peace and quiet.”
Al and Nancy were both active in the St. John Chrysostom community from the very beginning. Al was part of the liturgical committee that developed the first Penance service, and in the church’s early days taught CCD and served as a lector. Al and Nancy would also serve as Pre-Cana facilitators for many years.
Al, with the mind of an engineer, might have taken his parenting inspiration from the book Cheaper by the Dozen, always finding ways to efficiently and equitably distribute resources and manage his large brood. His children recall 4 ounces of orange juice being measured precisely and uniformly at breakfast; their allotment of 10 grapes per child; and a two-minute shower limit. Al was also a loving and devoted father, finding time to build wooden play ovens and cradles, coach softball and soccer, play countless card and board games, and wrestle on the living room floor while his children tried to remove his slippers to tickle his feet.
Vacations were usually to visit family in Vermont or New York, go “down the shore” in New Jersey, enjoy the beach in Delaware, or camp in national parks. A family road-trip to Chicago for the wedding of Al’s niece prompted him to construct a large wooden car-top carrier which he painted bright pink. (He claimed it was for visibility, but we all knew it was because there was paint left-over from another project). His children saw their Dad as “Mr. Fixit,” perpetually involved in a home or auto repair project or tinkering with a broken appliance. There was seemingly nothing his keen and inquisitive mind could not break-down to discover how it worked. Much of his “free time” was spent maintaining the family home in Wallingford or beach homes in Delaware, where he himself seldom indulged in traditional R+R, instead selflessly devoting his time to make sure others could enjoy themselves. Today his grandchildren fondly recall the family beach weeks together with their cousins where they formed deep bonds and wonderful memories that they will cherish for a lifetime. When Al did allow himself time to relax he loved listening to music (especially classical), drinking fine wines (and cheap beer), reading the newspaper or Time magazine (often months out-of-date), playing tennis, or traveling the world with Nancy.
Perhaps Al’s greatest legacy (besides his eight children and fourteen grandchildren) will be the way he connected with his friends, family, and all those around him. Al could be a man of few but precise words — he had a gift for always picking the exact right word for the moment. His letters were meticulously crafted exemplars of a forgotten art that recipients treasured and saved. But he was particularly gifted in conversation, putting anyone he spoke to at ease, always genuinely more interested in asking questions and listening to them than talking about himself. Inevitably, no matter where Al went, he would run into someone he knew. His children would groan when they would hear someone shout “Hey Al!” in a restaurant or airport, knowing that Dad was about to engage in lengthy conversation with some acquaintance. What they now realize is that this was a testament to how special Al could make the people who knew him feel.
Anyone who met Al remarked on his warm and broad smile, his twinkling and often-times mischievous blue-eyes that revealed a dry, but keen sense of humor. Al was famous for “pulling the leg” of those around him. Dinner guests had to be forewarned, and telemarketers who called the house were in for a particularly disorienting experience. When a telemarketer would call, rather than hang up, Al would engage them in lengthy conversations about the weather, their present whereabouts, or their plans for marriage and children, anything but the reason they actually called, frequently forcing them to try to find some way to escape the call. Al’s sense of humor and fun-loving spirit was particularly on display at parties and his children’s wedding receptions where he loved to do the chicken dance, sometimes donning a purple wig and rubber chicken nose.
After returning to school to earn an MBA from Drexel in 1992, Al finally retired from paid work in 1997. His retirement years were no less active or productive than the years that came before. Al continued to devote himself in service to family and others. He continued to sing in the St. John Chrysostom “Faithful Band” a vocation he began at the age of 59 and continued for 31 years. He spent more than 20 years volunteering to prepare tax returns, free of charge to other seniors. In addition to donating 15 gallons of blood over his lifetime, he also spent many years transporting blood donations for the American Red Cross. Together, Al and Nancy supported a wide range of global charities and causes that advanced the welfare of those less fortunate than them.
He also spent his retirement years maintaining and deepening bonds with his family and distant relations. Al and Nancy were doting grandparents - attending sporting events, recitals, birthdays, First Communions, and graduations. Photos with his grandchildren are notable for Al’s beaming smile and the almost visible bond between Al and his grandchildren - even with infants and toddlers who could sense he was giving them his full and undivided attention. Al even maintained relationships with distant cousins in far-flung places, and in recent years, was the driving force in reviving the Gross family reunions of his youth. “Uncle Al” was also beloved by his many nieces and nephews, viewed by some as a surrogate father after the passing of their own fathers, one who played an active role not just in their own lives, but in those of their children. One niece commented, “His is a legacy of character, leadership, loyalty, kindness, and selfless generosity.”
Any remembrance of Al would be incomplete without also paying tribute to Nancy, his devoted wife and constant companion of 65 years. Together they raised eight children and built an enduring bond of marriage that is an inspiration and a testament to their love.
With Al’s passing, he joins his father John A. Talbot (1966), his mother Marie R. Talbot (1974), and his brothers George P. Talbot (KIA in WWII 1945) and John Talbot (2011) in eternal rest.
He is survived by his his loving wife of 65 years Nancy; his children and their spouses: Marianne and Joseph Beattie, Bernadette Talbot and Bruce Hayes, Paul and Barbara Talbot, Kathleen and Joe Coleman, Michelle and Frank Gallo, Teresa and Jeff Rougeaux, Michael and Margaret Talbot, and Peter and Amy Talbot; his grandchildren: Brett and Julia Beattie; Patrick and Sean Carney; Nicholas and Justine Gallo; Rachel Rougeaux Testerman and Ross Rougeuaux; Alex, Grace and Tess Talbot; Brendan, Zach, and Ellie Talbot; and his sister Marie Reich.
His passing leaves a void in all of our lives and an empty place in our hearts for a selfless man who always put his family and friends first and was a shining example of how to conduct oneself with dignity, humor, humility, and kindness in this world. He was deeply loved, and will be deeply missed.
The funeral service will be held on Tuesday April 20, 2021*
10 am Visitation with Family
11 am Funeral Mass
St. John Chrysostom Catholic Church
617 S. Providence Road
Wallingford, PA 19086
*Due to the tragic and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the family requests that well-wishers ask themselves, “What would Al do?” and exercise both good judgement in their decision whether to attend in-person and adhere to all recommended health and safety protocols for their own safety and the safety of others.
To allow those who can not travel or those who would rather not attend in person an opportunity to observe the service a livestream will be available:
Topic: Al Talbot Funeral Mass
Time: Apr 20, 2021 10:45 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 821 5263 2374
Al requested that in lieu of flowers, you honor him by making a donation to your favorite charity.
While Al loved a good party, and the family would like nothing more than to host a celebration of Al’s life to share our grief and favorite stories about Al, the risk represented by COVID has prompted the family to opt for a small private reception. We hope and pray that we may all be able to gather again soon under happier circumstances.