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Shirley Talbot, 92, of Stockbridge

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By Wednesday, Jan 2, 2019 Obituaries 1

Shirley Ruth Talbot, 92, of Stockbridge died peacefully at her home surrounded by family Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Born Feb. 26, 1926, in New York City, the daughter of Abraham and Paula (Moro) Hyman, she practiced couples therapy in Pittsfield and Stockbridge for 30 years with her husband of 71 years, Eugene Talbot. Contrary to the customs of the time, Shirley insisted on attending college after graduating from high school in New York City. While at the City College of New York, from which she graduated in 1947, she met her future husband at a dance. As they both said, the music never stopped for the next seven decades.

Theirs was a love story of the times. After a three-month college courtship, Gene joined the U.S. Navy as World War II was winding down. After the war, they became engaged and, after Shirley graduated from CCNY and, just shy of their 21st birthdays, they wed Feb. 1, 1947. The next week they left for California so Gene could go to UCLA to pursue a degree in psychology. Intrigued by what her new husband was learning, Shirley went back to school to pursue her own degree in psychology and used it become a kindergarten and elementary school teacher. While in Los Angeles, they also began their family with their eldest child, Jo Anne, born in 1951.

While pursuing his doctorate at UCLA, a renowned psychologist from the Austen Riggs Center gave a guest lecture, and soon the Talbots moved to Stockbridge where Gene became a fellow at Riggs. Gene was offered a staff position and Shirley and Gene put down roots in Stockbridge. Their sons, Andy and Bill, were born in the succeeding years. Although she often confessed to not being able to boil water when she got married, her move to the Berkshires coincided with her becoming a gourmet cook and “a foodie before there were foodies.” As the children grew, Shirley joined Gene in a couples therapy practice first in Pittsfield and then at their home in Stockbridge. In addition to their couples therapy practice and Gene’s private psychotherapy practice, Shirley was active in Stockbridge town issues. She retired in 1988. Her avid, lifelong love of books led to her volunteering for many years with Recordings for the Blind.

She is survived by her husband, Eugene Talbot; her children: JoAnne Ginsberg and husband Benjamin Ginsberg of Washington, D.C., Andy Talbot and wife Amy Johnson of Stockbridge, and William Talbot and wife Andrea Talbot of Lee; her niece, Karen Shreefter and husband Christopher Blair of Monterey; and grandchildren Josh Ginsberg and wife Joahn Ginsberg of San Francisco, Rebecca Rutkoff and husband Robby Rutkoff of Brooklyn, New York, Jessica Talbot of Brooklyn, New York, and Hannah Talbot of Chevy Chase, Maryland; great-grandchildren Zachery, Ella and Henry; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A burial gathering will be held in the spring. In lieu of flowers, those wishing may make donations to the Berkshire County Meals on Wheels program or the Stockbridge Library through FINNERTY & STEVENS FUNERAL HOME, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances to the family, go to http://www.finnertyandstevens.com.


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  1. Karen Shreefter says:

    Shirley was the best aunt one could have. She and Gene set the standard for what true love could be. Both she and Gene were grateful and loved Elder Services Meals On Wheels Program.
    She is, and will always be missed.

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