Howard C. Talbot Jr., 89, Cooperstown, former Hall of Fame director


Calling Hours Tuesday, Funeral Wednesday

For Retired Baseball Hall Of Fame Director

Howard C. Talbot Jr. (Milo V. Stewart/Baseball Hall of Fame)
Howard C. Talbot Jr. (Milo V. Stewart/Baseball Hall of Fame)

COOPERSTOWN – Howard Chase Talbot, Jr., retired National Baseball Hall of Fame director – the equivalent at the time of today’s president – from 1976 to 1993, passed away with his family by his side Saturday evening, July 18, 2015, at Bassett Hospital.  He was 89.

Born Oct. 6, 1925, in New Berlin, Howard was the son of Howard C. Talbot, Sr. and Gladys Jacobs Talbot.

Raised in Edmeston, “Juney,” as he was known to his parents, attended Edmeston Central School and later Manlius Military Academy.  He spent many summers of his youth on the shores of Otsego Lake as an attendee and counselor of Camp Chenango.  Howard would go on to share a lifelong enjoyment of the outdoors with his family and friends.

On Dec. 15, 1943, he was inducted into the Army, serving his country during World War II with the 426th Field Artillery Battalion.  Upon receiving his Honorable Discharge from the Military on May 6, 1946, Howard returned home and obtained a degree from the Utica School of Commerce.

On Sept. 11, 1948, Howard married the former Alice Losee in a ceremony at the Second Baptist Church of Edmeston.  They met in a youth choir and their shared fondness of music continued throughout their marriage.

Soon after they wed, Howard and Alice moved to Cooperstown and made their home, raising their family on Pioneer Street. His role of “Sweetheart” or “Dear” to Alice, “Dad” or “Pappy” to his children, and “Grampy” to his granddaughter, Teresa, and great-granddaughter, Fiorenza, was the ultimate joy of his life.

In 1949, Howard joined the Leatherstocking Management Corp. in Cooperstown and served as an accountant in the Clark family’s offices until 1951, when he was named assistant to the director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 1976, he became director – the title has since been changed to president – and served in this capacity until retiring in 1993.  During his tenure as director, he supervised a 52-member staff, made education his main focus, and oversaw three major expansion and renovation programs, including the enlargement of the Gallery of Plaques and National Baseball Archive and Library.

While at the Hall, Howard also served on the Foundation Board of the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum, and made many trips, often with his granddaughter, Teresa, to Williamsport, Pa.  He also met three sitting presidents of the United States, as well as many luminaries from the baseball world.

Always humble, he loved his work and felt it was a privilege to share responsibility for one of the most important sports related destinations in America. “The National Baseball Hall of Fame mourns the loss of Howard Talbot, whose leadership was instrumental in guiding the Museum in becoming the world class institution it is today,” said Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark.  “He has always been an important part of our Village, and we will miss his wisdom and sense of humor.”

Howard was an active and dedicated member of the Cooperstown community.  For several years he was a village trustee.  He served as mayor in the early 1960s and was also on the Doubleday Field Committee and the local Draft Board.

Since 1952 he was a member of the Rotary Club of Cooperstown and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of the Native Sons of Cooperstown, The Mohican Club, and the Clark F. Simmons American Legion Post No. 579 in Cooperstown. A Freemason, Howard was raised in Farmers Lodge No. 553, F. & A.M. in Edmeston on April 14, 1948, and a few years later affiliated with Otsego Lodge No. 138, F. & A.M. in Cooperstown.

He enjoyed volunteering at local festivals, serving Winter Carnival guests at the annual Baptist Church Soup & Chili Kitchen, and helping press apples for Cider Fest at the Fly Creek Cider Mill. Howard welcomed hard work and was not afraid to get his hands dirty.

He maintained a beautiful home at 95 Pioneer St. for his family for 60 years. For over 20 years, he volunteered, often in the Gift Shop, at Bassett Hospital, where he came to know and be known by many people.

Howard never forgot his roots and enjoyed staying active in the Edmeston community as well. He served as chair of the Pathfinder Village Foundation Board of Trustees  in 1991-1995.  Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Howard was the third generation of his family to sit on the Board of Directors of New York Central Mutual.

Perhaps most important to Howard was his Christian faith. Raised a Baptist, he was confirmed into membership in the Second Baptist Church of Edmeston.  After moving to Cooperstown he and Alice became faithful and dedicated members of the First Baptist Church of Cooperstown and through the years he served as a deacon and trustee of the church, and as a member of the choir.

A true gentleman, in every sense of the word, Howard will be fondly remembered for his kind and warm spirited nature and by greeting everyone he met with a smile.  He cherished close friendships and will be greatly missed by all who knew him in the Cooperstown community and beyond.

In addition to his wife of 66 years, Alice, survivors include their three children, Julia T. DeLaurentiis and husband, Thomas, of Morris, Judy Talbot of Liverpool, and James C. Talbot of St. Petersburg, Fla.; one granddaughter, Teresa M. DeLaurentiis and her husband, William C. Burdick, of Morris; a great granddaughter, Fiorenza Marie Burdick; two brothers-in-law, Edward Losee and wife, Jean, and Graydon France; a sister-in-law, Nellie Losee; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents, Howard was predeceased by a sister, Julia Anna Talbot, who died in infancy.

Calling hours are 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, at Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, when the Talbot family will receive friends.  The funeral serviced is at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 22, at the First Baptist Church of Cooperstown, with the Rev. Robert S. Turner, interim pastor, the Rev. Betsy Jay, Bassett Hospital chaplain, and the Rev. Douglas Deer, First Baptist’s retired pastor, officiating.

A service of committal and burial will follow at Lakewood Cemeter.  Military Honors will be rendered by members of the Cooperstown Veterans Club and state Military Forces Honor Guard.

In lieu of flowers, the Talbot Family respectfully requests that memorial gifts be directed to The First Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 19 Elm St., Cooperstown, NY  13326, or Cooperstown Emergency Squad, P.O. Box 322, Cooperstown, NY  13326, or Pathfinder Village Foundation, 3 Chenango Road, Edmeston, NY  13335-2314.

Arrangements are entrusted to Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.