Sherman J. Talkington, (known to friends as "Jerry", to his granddaughters and beloved Wife as “T”, and to his devoted sons simply as “Dad”), died at his home in Auburn, Alabama on September 4, 2020 after a lengthy illness.
Dad was born on November 24, 1937 on his Grandfather's farm outside of Corning, Arkansas. Dad's parents were Robert Leslie Talkington and Ella (Glass) Talkington. Dad's Grandfather and Grandmother were Sherman Talkington and Mary F. (Esmond) Talkington. Dad was the first child born to his parents, and the first grandchild born to his own Grandfather and namesake, Sherman. (Dad's Grandmother died in the same farmhouse in which Dad was born a year before Dad's birth).
Dad attended Coming High School, where he lettered multiple years in track, football and basketball, graduating in May 1955. Although Dad lettered in multiple sports, he excelled in basketball, and indeed, held the Arkansas High School single game scoring record, (scoring 43 points in a single game in 1954), a record that stood for nearly two decades.
After Dad's High School graduation, he attended what was then Northwest Mississippi Junior College in Senatobia, Mississippi, where he was awarded both football and basketball scholarships. Dad graduated from Northwest Mississippi Junior College in May 1958, and thereafter, attended Arkansas State University, from which he graduated on May 28, 1960 with a degree in Business Administration, being the first in his family to either attend or graduate from college. Upon his college graduation, Dad briefly worked for Brown Shoe Company in St. Louis, Missouri before being drafted into the United States Army in 1962. After being honorably discharged, Dad was hired by Ely Walker Company in Heber Springs, Arkansas, where he was employed as a production manager at Ely Walker's Heber Springs men's shirt manufacturing plant.
In 1966, Dad was hired by the newly appointed President of Stahl-Urban Company, Norville E. Wilson, Jr., as a Senior Plant Engineer in Stahl-Urban's Brookhaven, Mississippi outerwear manufacturing facility. Dad was Norville's first managerial hire after becoming President of StahlUrban. At the time, Stahl-Urban manufactured NFL-style “Letter Jackets” in its Brookhaven facility, those jackets being sold in America's leading retail stores. Although it was the first time Dad and Norville's paths crossed, it would not be the last, nor the last time they would find themselves in the jacket business together.
In 1974, Dad left Stahl-Urban, (where he was then employed in Senior Management), to start his own apparel manufacturing business. First manufacturing ladies' blouses in Notasulga, Alabama, Dad again later teamed up with Norville, when they started what became Auburn Sportswear, Inc., which was headquartered in Tallassee, Alabama.
Dad and Norville's principal products were satin baseball jackets and unlined coaches' jackets, which were immensely popular from the late 1970's throughout the 1980's and even to today. By the mid 1990"s Auburn Sportswear had risen to dominate the imprinted and embroidered United States jacket market, even manufacturing jackets for Walmart Stores, Inc., (which ironically, were manufactured in the same garment plant in Brookhaven, Mississippi where Dad and Norville had first worked together in the 1960's, a plant which Auburn Sportwear acquired after Stahl-Urban went out of business). Later, Auburn Sportswear even exported unlined jackets as far away as Europe and Japan, where they were embroidered and sold to overseas snowboarding enthusiasts.
Although Dad and Norville sold Auburn Sportswear in June 1996, the “Auburn Sportswear" label bearing the same iconic “Auburn Eagle” trademark, (which Dad always thought symbolized the greatness of America), remains in existence today, (although the Auburn Sportwear labelled jackets of today are now imported). And indeed, Dad's satin imprinted and embroidered jackets “Made in the USA" during the late 1970's through the 1990's in Tallassee, Alabama, Tylertown, Mississippi and Brookhaven, Mississippi are still for sale today, and can be found both online as well as in a number of vintage clothing stores.
Dad was a devoted husband, father, son to his own departed parents, and grandfather to both of his much beloved Granddaughters.
He is survived by his loving Wife of sixty-one years, Rebecca Phelan Talkington; two sons: Scott R. Talkington (Elizabeth) of Montgomery, Alabama and Wade B. Talkington (Juliann) of Tucson, Arizona; the two granddaughters he so loved and cherished, Catherine Lauren Talkington, (an Auburn University Geological Sciences Graduate Student), and Amelia Ryann Talkington, (a Stanford University Undergraduate Chemical Engineering Student), as well as many nieces and nephews.
Dad's graveside funeral service is set for Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 11:00 am at Town Creek Cemetery Columbarium in Auburn, Alabama, followed immediately by a reception at Mom and Dad's home in Auburn honoring Dad.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Auburn United Methodist Church in Auburn, Alabama, where Dad and Mom were members for more that forty-five years.
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