Au 'we, Haulelau is upon us. With a broken heart I announce the passing of my beloved husband, Jim Talbott, on November 7, 2020.
Born James Marion Talbott on December 14, 1953 in the bustling sugar cane town of Puunene on Maui, Hawaii to George and Jane Talbott, he was the youngest of three children and the adventure was about to begin...
His mother being a nurse for Maui Sugar and as this was a true company town, he and his siblings lived in a company cottage on the main road in town before his parents purchased an ocean front bungalow in Kihei where they stayed until work moved the family to the Big Island.
Jim was very young when the family moved to Hilo so his childhood memories really start at this point. The rain forest on the windward side of the Big Island became the playground of this young boy, his siblings and friends. Jungle, rivers and waterfalls were part of the backdrop for many an adventure driven by an imagination fueled by the calls of exotic birds and the forest canopy. Jim recalls one afternoon when his brother and sister coerced him into a shopping cart and set him off down the hill in the backyard of the house. Thankfully, he survived the incident and the two older siblings learned a thing or two about gravity.
When he was 12, he and his neighborhood friends did a Kau wela camping trip at Hapuna beach on the opposite side of the island with no adults. One hippie in particular would visit the boys' campsite each night and ask if they needed anything and if everything was alright. They found out at the end of the trip that his father had scouted him out and paid him to keep an eye on them. The Lt. Colonel doing his job...
Having been relegated to St. Joseph's High School in the hopes that the nuns would straighten him out, he learned the first day that the petite penguins running the school were not to be toyed with. Chatting away with a good friend in homeroom he was baffled when he was suddenly engulfed in a thick white cloud of chalk, his ear burning from the impact of the blackboard eraser. Jim never lost track of those nuns and as recent as earlier this year had communicated with the aged gladiators that reside at a Franciscan home on Oahu. He always reminded them about the difference they made in his life and how thankful he was to them.
He made lifelong friends during these first few chapters of this life, to include Albert Ha'a, a direct descendent of King Kamehameha the 3rd and a fierce protector of his brother from another mother, Kimo. Albert introduced him to some of the most authentic Hawaiian foods and experiences throughout their youth together.
Jim was a star athlete and excelled at basketball, baseball and volleyball. At 6'3” tall, he truly was the big man on campus.
The next chapter in his life took him away from the confines of home and across the great Pacific to Washington where he earned his college degree at the University of Puget Sound. (UPS) in Tacoma. Interestingly enough, many a ka'maaina ended up going to college in the NW part of the mainland. Perhaps simply a desire to get off the islands to see the rest of the world or more than likely some persistent and convenient college recruitment. His friend Kurt Grimmer, whom he's known since he was 12, made the trek with him.
Great and enduring friendships were created in his college days. I have had the pleasure of interacting with this group for decades now and continue to be amazed at how much respect and love these intellects share amongst each other. I can only say WOW. Oh, the stories...I've heard them all; they consider me one of the boys...and many I dare not repeat.
One of my favorites, and there is photographic evidence to back it up; is a story where the group ended up on the roof of Todd Hall and proceeded to consume the beverage du jour and took photos of the BEFORE, DURING and AFTER. Oh, my...Heavy, heavy leaning toward the end of the session. All smiles the entire time. THE BOYS...
Another funny story was a time he and some buddies did a hitchhiking trip during spring break. During part of the trip, these naïve young men from Hawaii became completely fed up that trucks from their college were not picking them up for rides. They went so far as to attach their student ID cards to a large piece of cardboard along with the words “We're from U.P.S, too! We need a ride to Tacoma”. They never did get picked up by any of those big BROWN trucks that were United Parcel Service (UPS) not the University of Puget Sound (UPS). There was no UPS delivery service in Hawaii back then so they didn't know any different. Silly, sweet boys...
He eventually moved back to Hawaii and ran a popular restaurant in Hilo called Rosie's Boathouse for a few years where he hosted a few celebrities. Tom Selleck was a natural for a visit as he was active in Magnum P.I. but a particular visit from Goldie Hawn is what really sticks out in his memory. She and her guests came into the restaurant one night and as the night progressed, Goldie got up and started to dance. Well, the restaurant did not have a permit for dancing so it was explained to her and the suggestion was made that she “chair boogie”. She could “dance” all she wanted, as long as she stayed seated. She thought this was the greatest idea ever and eventually had the entire establishment dancing in their seats. Good times, brah.
A few years later and Jim was back on the mainland, this time in California and eventually ended up in Santa Maria and ultimately met his ku'uipo, soul mate and the love of his life, Cheryl. The adventure continued. The two were inseparable, both understanding how priceless their relationship was. They did not call each other by their first name, they called each other Honey. Terms of endearment were just the beginning of the many blessings of this enduring love affair. Each day pau hana they met for “Jacuzzi-talk” to discuss, over a glass of wine of course, how each other's day had gone. No distractions were allowed. They were keen on listening to each other an attribute that as being one of the reasons they had such a wonderful relationship. Jim loved to cook for Cheryl and he was always creating some new gourmet recipe to try to impress her. On her birthday in August, she came home to a multi course meal that she later learned he had been planning for weeks. He was going through cancer treatments so they dared not go out to eat because of Covid but he was determined to make it special. He succeeded massively. They traveled on a regular basis with seemingly the only pre requisite for a destination was warm weather and the beach. Hawaii, the Caribbean (Soggy Dollar anyone?), Cabo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and their favorite, Tahiti. Nothing on the planet can prepare you for the clear crystal waters in a Bora Bora lagoon, lazily snorkeling around the reef or swimming with the dolphins in Moorea. Close your eyes and you can feel the sun and smell the ocean. Jim liked to say to Cheryl “Look at how beautiful the sky is.” Jim loved to hold her hand and would do so at any chance he got. Sweet kisses, big bear hugs and holding hands...perfect. They attended a Celine Dion concert for Jim's 50th birthday and were pleased to get middle seats even though they couldn't get their hands on the very front row. They learned why, when Donald Trump and his GIRLFRIEND, Melania sat down in front of them. Jim decided that Donald really knew how to impress a girl when Celine brought roses to THEM, not the other way around. The hopeless romantic thought that was really great.
Another trip they took that left him awestruck was Yosemite. Cheryl had been there before but the boy from Hawaii had not. Growing up in Southern California, it was just one of those places you ended up at eventually if you did any amount of camping or Sierra trekking. She tried to describe to him how incredible it was and made a point of going to Glacier Point before heading down into the valley so he could get the full picture. He was rendered speechless by the vast beauty that lay before him and continued to be wide eyed for the remainder of the journey. One of those endearing things about Jim is that he still had that boyish wonder about him and Cheryl would often refer to him as her “large child”. Never grow up, never grow old.
The other loves of his life were his children, Maile and Hazen. He adored both of them and loved being their “Dadah”. He loved telling stories about Maile and Hazen growing up, the amazing adults they have turned into and how incredibly proud he was of both of them. The love he felt for the two of them can't be adequately described in a few short words. HE LOVED THEM SO MUCH. He was also thrilled to become a Grandpa and was so proud of the parents that they and their spouses turned into. Jim really loved having the family all together. Thanksgiving at the Talbott home was an epic event as well with the headcount varying between 25 and as high as 50! Jim and Cheryl both loved to host it and there will be a hole in many a heart this Thanksgiving as we all scramble to fill a void that simply can't be filled.
Back in 2000, Jim went on a job interview with Harry Watson at Smooth Transportation and ultimately signed on to help shape the company for the next 20 years. Harry retired after a few years and Jim stepped into the role of Executive Director for the remainder of his career but not before Jim gleaned from Harry the many intricacies of this dynamic position. Jim never stopped thinking of Harry as a mentor; he had the luxury of having him on the board of directors even after Harry retired. Jim was extremely fond of all of his Board of Directors and was fortunate enough to have an active and engaged group of truly dedicated individuals who cared about Smooth and the people that they served. Jim also felt extremely fortunate to have the team that he worked with at Smooth. It is important that they all know that he considered them Ohana.
Jim is survived by his loving wife, Cheryl, daughter Maile (Kevin), son Hazen (Tiffani) along with three grandchildren, Dagny, Oliver and Clyde. He is also survived by his sister Barbara and brother Jefferson.
Cheryl would like to personally thank Dr. Dichmann, head RN Michelle and the rest of the amazing nursing staff and team at Mission Hope Cancer Center in Santa Maria for their unwavering and compassionate treatment of Jim. We were both inspired by your positive attitudes which I'm sure helped him achieve his summer of remission. It gave us a few more precious months together and I will FOREVER be grateful to all of you for that. Mahalo.
Due to the Covid 19 virus, no funeral or memorial will be held at this time. We look forward to announcing a Celebration of Life (hopefully in the summer) to gather in a fashion that would truly suit this man and give him the Aloha he deserves. He would not want to see tears in your eyes or a somber look on your face. He would want you to look at how pretty the sky is and smile when you think about him.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Smooth Transportation of Santa Maria (a non profit organization that transports seniors and the disabled) would honor him best.
To leave a condolence for the family, visit www.dudley-hoffmanmortuary.com
Mortuary & Crematory
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