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Akiko Talbot

January 31, 2021

Akiko Talbot, or Aki as she was known to her friends and family, passed away at home on January 31, 2021 while holding hands with her devoted husband of 64 years, Andre (Andy) Talbot; Aki was 92 years old at the time. Right up until her passing, Aki was a force of nature: she was strong and stubborn, passionate and opinionated, and fiercely proud of her family.

Aki was born and raised in Shizuoka, Japan. She met and married Andy in Japan in 1956; he was recovering from an injury at the end of the Korean War. According to the stories, Andy was smitten with Aki the first time they met at a USO dance. Shortly after getting married, they returned to the U.S. and settled in Western Mass, building a house together and raising a family. Aki is survived by her three biological children (Kim, Donna, and Keith Talbot, and their spouses) and one “adopted child” (Motoko Lavallee), six grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. She is also survived by three siblings, a brother and sister in Japan, and a sister in the states, as well as many nieces and nephews.

While Aki never worked full-time, she worked many different part-time jobs over the years to assist with family finances and opportunities to improve her English. When her kids were young, she worked and/or volunteered in the schools as a cafeteria, classroom, and library aide–this way she could keep an eye on her kids and develop an understanding of the U.S. school system, and be home when her kids were done with school. When her kids were older, Aki used her skills as a seamstress altering clothes for an upscale department store, Steiger’s in Springfield, MA; known for her directness and strong opinions, she ruffled some feathers when she would give clients her honest opinion about their alterations. Demonstrating her amazing skills, just from a picture and a person’s measurements, Aki could make any garment someone wanted.

Aki was naturally athletic, and an avid baseball fan (Red Sox, of course). She attributed her love of baseball to watching her brother play ball when he was at the University (in Japan). Her love of the sport extended to practicing and coaching her kids when they played little league baseball and softball.

In retirement, both Aki and Andy worked and volunteered with the RiverMills Council on Aging for many years. In her 80’s, Aki attended exercise classes there, occasionally sharing proudly that she was asked to lead the class when the regular leader was absent. She was very honored to and committed to volunteering/contributing as long as she was able.

Aki lived a long, full, meaningful life. She will be missed by her family, friends, and community. Given the current COVID situation and with the family spread out across the U.S., the burial and celebration of life will be held at a later date (probably end of summer or beginning of fall 2021). Information will be shared in the newspaper closer to the date of the event.