EULOGY given by Anthony Talbot on 25th January 2018.
One of my best friends wrote: "I’ve had the luck of knowing him for pretty much 40 years and always gravitated to him at a party because he was really good company, charming, bright, kind, interesting and uplifting to be with".
David was born in Wiltshire, and Mummy and Daddy, Jan and John, were there because our father was a serving officer in the Royal Artillery. We were aware that our Grandfathers had distinguished themselves, sharing between them 3 knighthoods, 2 DSOs and 1 Military Cross and bar, alongside many other honours, and a strong line before each of them. Perhaps this is where David’s sense of duty originated.
I was born in Germany and then Peter in England, just before our father was sent to Aden for a year. We stayed behind and Mum showed us how to cope independently.
Our father’s career developed into a diplomatic one, as he was attached to NATO, and we lived in Holland and then in France, before moving into a family home in Hythe, Kent. Here David met William, his oldest friend, at pre-School. Daddy then served in the British Embassies in Bulgaria and then Austria and as a family we went with him; David became comfortable in different environments. When we moved to Bulgaria David developed his resilience at boarding school in Folkestone and we became very experienced Unaccompanied Minors on some fascinating journeys to and from home for the holidays. Never a great speller, some school teachers couldn’t work him out, but we always knew he was clever, and scoring 99.5% in a maths exam showed the school where his natural talents lay.
Secondary school was at Radley College and David had a go at pretty well everything. He won the Sword of Honour in the Cadets, earned his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and was part of the climbing fraternity that put Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck faces on the Clock at the top of a 50 foot high tower, which they scaled in the middle of the night without being caught. (Im sure Rory can tell you more about that ). David was not one to turn down a challenge!
He played lots of different games, at school and later on. As a fencer he was the County u-14 foil champion. He was a Sailor and a Skier, played Squash and Hockey, went Climbing and Orienteering. Croquet, Basketball, Volleyball, Badminton and Golf all featured. He was always competitive, but he didn’t have to win; it was about playing the game and enjoying the companionship.
He went on to Edinburgh University where he studied what was at that time pioneering stuff - the rapidly developing field of Electronic Engineering. He also met and fell in love with Margret and I was privileged to be his best man at their wedding in 1983.
A hard worker, David’s first job was in a micro-engineering start up in Edinburgh, before he was sought after by bigger more established businesses. He took the challenge from Motorola to work in Geneva (his french was not good), where Charles was born. Here he and Margret also pursued their love of the outdoors, summiting Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. Notable other climbs of his included the Old Man of Hoy and the Matterhorn. From Motorola to AT&T, and from Geneva to Munich (his German was also not good!), and the arrival of James and then Sholto, and then ultimately to live in this area, continuing in the same industry.
One boss had this to say about him:
"David was a great engineer. He was selfless, working to the last drop of his abilities always, and had a great spirit that will be remembered forever. He always saw the big picture and yet had the ability to foresee many issues detail that may not be easily seen by a regular engineer. He was always dedicated to the success of the team and our business, and never wavered from taking responsibility to execute to the best of his and our capabilities in anything he touched. His recent work was stellar.………………".
As a father David was active, fun, kind and emboldening - and I bet he never told you three boys how proud of each of you he was. He embraced his sense of duty; so the boys went to school and David became a Reading School governor, for many years.
Margret gave David his Comet sailing dinghy one year, and he renewed his love of sailing from our childhood, taught his boys to sail and went on to Chair the Combined Comet Class Association until only last year.
At 45 he started playing hockey again, and then became Captain of the Camberley and Farnborough Fours
He started Scottish Country Dancing in Geneva, and ultimately became Chair of the Camberley Reel Club.
David’s life changed when he met Kathy. We were all so excited when they announced their engagement, he had found love again and what could be better? With Kathy at his side another new world opened up before him. They were not only favorite dancing partners and best friends, but their deep love was the foundation for growing and flourishing as human beings in new ways.
And then, so soon after their wedding, the dreadful diagnosis: MND, I cant imagine worse. He never lost his sense of humour, even when it became difficult to make his clever, amusing quips. Always keen to have a go, he lived the remainder of his life to the full (with Kathy by his side) and with bravery. He and Kathy must have covered all of Britain in Maddie, the motor home. He took every opportunity to pursue his passion for genealogy, visiting spots connected to our family history, as well as embracing those good walks and quality time with Kathy. He was skiing with us a year ago. He was climbing last June. He was sailing in August and he was dancing only a month before he died.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of you who were with David through these trying times, and particularly those of the NHS and the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice. On behalf of my mother, Charlie, James, Sholto my brother Peter and I, what can I say to you, Kathy? You were first his love, you brought a new energy into his life, and then you became his carer, and interpreter reading not only his lips but knowing his mind. Thank you so very much.
My brother was an unassuming man. He was small, quiet, looked young, could be awkward and some found him easy to underestimate. He wasn’t good at everything (though he did excel at what he was good at). But all of you who knew and loved him recognise these many character traits that I hope I’ve illustrated for you,
He was Caring, Kind, Gentle, Resilient, Unassuming, Never Grandstanding, Confident in his knowledge and Generous in his sharing of it, Fun, Playful, Loving, Loved, Witty, Engaged, a Team player. He contributed to his communities, Led when appropriate, and did it all with great Integrity and Enjoyment.
David led his life in a way that we can all learn from. Let his example be our inspiration. We will be better people for it, and that way he will forever remain a part of us. May he Rest in Peace.
|1983||Married Margaret CAMERON in Edinburgh (Diss 2007)|
|1987||Birth of son Charles E Cameron TALBOT|
|1990||Birth of son James TALBOT|
|1993||Birth of son Sholto Richard John TALBOT|
|2011||Death of father Lt Col John TALBOT RA|
|2016||Married Kathleen (Kathy) Mary McCAFFREY in Warbrook House, Eversley, Hook, Hampshire|