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William S. Talbott, a retired educator whose career spanned both city public schools and Stevenson University, dies

William S. Talbott, a seasoned educator who enjoyed a dual career teaching in city public schools and later at Stevenson University, died March 15 of heart failure at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Glen Arm resident was 87.
William S. Talbott, a seasoned educator who enjoyed a dual career teaching in city public schools and later at Stevenson University, died March 15 of heart failure at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Glen Arm resident was 87.(Courtesy photo from family)

William S. Talbott, a seasoned educator who enjoyed a dual career teaching in city public schools and later at Stevenson University, died March 15 of heart failure at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. The Glen Arm resident was 87.

“He was a great supporter of the university and was always positive and concerned about his students and excited about their learning,” said Kevin J. Manning, who was president of what became Stevenson University from 2000 until his retirement in 2016. “I always enjoyed our conversations about our students and the university. He was the kind of faculty member who made Stevenson special for our students and faculty.”

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William Stanton Talbott, son of William S. Talbott Sr., a lawyer, and his wife, Louise Talbott, a registered nurse, was born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton.

After graduating in 1951 from City College, Mr. Talbott enlisted in the Navy and served aboard the USS Grouper, a submarine, in the Atlantic until being discharged in 1953.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1958 from what is now Towson University and a master’s degree in education and an advanced graduate specialist diploma in science education from the University of Maryland, College Park. He also pursued graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University and Arizona State University.

Mr. Talbott began his career in 1958 teaching physics and general science at Patterson Park High School. In the 1960s he joined the faculty of City College and later Polytechnic Institute, where he taught biology, physics and physical science.

Subsequently, he became an adult education teacher, science department head and assistant principal at Southern High School, positions he held until 1976, when he was appointed to the city public schools’ Office of Science as an educational specialist at school headquarters.

In addition to his work with city schools, Mr. Talbott held adjunct teaching positions at the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore, Towson University, the University of Maryland, College Park and what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University.

He retired from city public schools in 1986.

At the national, state and local levels, Mr. Talbott had leadership roles in several professional and educational organizations. He was a past president of the Maryland Association of Science Teachers and was the founding president of the Maryland Science Supervisors Association and a former president of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association.

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He also served twice as president and as treasurer, board member and chapter delegate for the University of Maryland chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

Mr. Talbott returned to teaching science in 1989 when he joined the faculty of Villa Julie College, which was renamed Stevenson University in 2008.

Joseph A. Brusini, a Fallston resident, was assistant dean and head of the science department at Stevenson University.

“I had gotten to know Bill at meetings when I was a science supervisor for Harford County public schools, and he was in the same position with the city. Later, I was assistant dean and head of the science department at what was then Villa Julie College and I hired him in 1989," Dr. Brusini said.

“When I came to Villa Julie, physical science was part of a general requirement for graduation, and when Bill was teaching it, he brought a meaning to the students and why they had to learn it,” he said. “He had a unique way of posing questions. He didn’t want memorized or rote answers — he wanted them to think.

"He was a very personable man. The kids were very positive when it came to Bill, and he made science interesting for them,” he said.

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Claire E. Moore, an alumna of Villa Julie College, worked there from 1982 until retiring in 2017. She was vice president of student affairs for more than a decade, and after Dr. Manning retired served as Stevenson’s interim president until Elliot Hirshman assumed that role.

“I really, really liked Bill and while I didn’t work directly with him on an everyday basis, I knew I could always count on him,” said Ms. Moore, an Eldersburg resident.

“He was very welcoming to students, loved his profession and Stevenson,” she said. “He had a smile that would light up a room and bigger than life. He was just so friendly,” she said. “I never heard one negative thing about him from anybody. He was just a good man.”

"Bill loved Villa Julie,” said his sister, Dr. Mary Lou Thoms of Towson.

Mr. Talbott retired in 2011 from Stevenson University.

One of Mr. Talbott’s scientific interests was marine education. He devoted countless hours in community service to this area, working with the educational staff at the National Aquarium in Baltimore in developing grant proposals, instructional materials and in-service staff development activities.

He also served as a member of the Baltimore Maritime Museum’s coordinating committee and as a crew member of the Lightship Chesapeake’s annual goodwill cruise.

Mr. Talbott and his wife of 26 years, the former Jane Lenderking, a registered nurse, enjoyed spending summers entertaining family and friends at their cottage in Bayside, Maine.

“Bill was a very family-oriented person,” Dr. Brusini said.

Said Dr. Manning: “We have a cottage in Cape May, and I liked listening to Bill’s stories about Maine.”

The former longtime resident of Murdock Road in Rodgers Forge was since 2014 a resident of the Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm.

His first wife of 38 years, the former Jean Siegrist, a real estate appraiser, died in 1992.

Plans for a memorial service to be held at Ascension Lutheran Church in Towson, where he was a longtime active member, are incomplete.

In addition to his wife and sister, he is survived by three sons, Drew Talbott of Anneslie, Jeffrey Talbott of Northwood and Randy Talbott of Perry Hall; a daughter, Dara Hicks of Hampden; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

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