Janelle Talkington, 85, of Dallas, Texas passed away peacefully on February 17, 2021, at home surrounded by family.
Janelle was born Nancy Janelle Winkler in Graham, Texas, to Clark and Beulah Dow (Boots) Winkler on May 4, 1935 along with her twin brother Jim. They would be joined by younger brothers Allen, Wayne, and Gary. The family later moved to a farm near Gruver, Texas in Hansford County about 100 miles north of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle near the Oklahoma border, eventually moving into the “Big City” of Gruver itself.
While she learned to love the kind people and hardy spirit of the West Texas Panhandle, she never quite adapted to the rural small-town lifestyle, the dust storms, and the blizzards. And so it was, that Janelle followed her heart and left Gruver and the Panhandle after graduating from Gruver High School in 1953. She moved to Fort Worth to work as a bank teller for a year before starting college. Ultimately, she enrolled in Texas Wesleyan College as a freshman in 1954, thoroughly enjoying her four years there and making many friends. She had an active academic and social life and was crowned the May Day Queen her senior year. She graduated with a degree in Education in 1958 and embarked on a first career as an elementary school teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District. She would follow this with teaching stints in Austin and Dallas.
It was at TWC that she also met her future husband, Fred Talkington. They married in 1959 while he was in law school at the University of Texas. They settled in Austin where they would live for the next 11 years. In February 1961, their first son Mark Maxwell was born followed by the birth of their second son, Clark Carr, in December 1961. In 1969, their third and youngest son, Robert Edward, was born in Austin. The family moved to Dallas in 1970 where Janelle would remain the rest of her life, most of it in the Oak Cliff section of the city near downtown. While Dallas became home, Janelle and Fred divorced in 1980.
Janelle continued her teaching career in Dallas until 1975 when she switched careers, going to work for the Dallas County Auditor’s Office where she was able to actively pursue her interests in accounting. She worked for the Auditor’s Office for 20 years before retiring in 1995, always treasuring the friendships she had made over those 20 years. While an employee and then as a retiree, she also served on the board of the Dallas County Credit Union.
Although working full time, she was always a very active and engaged parent for her three sons throughout their lives. She became a grandmother for the first time in 1993 when granddaughter Emma was born. As the sister to four brothers and mother to three sons, she was ecstatic that she was finally able to celebrate the birth of a female in the family. Of course, that special joy was short-lived as Emma was followed by three grandsons. But she was special to them all and they were all special to her.
In April 1985 Janelle’s life took an unexpected turn for which no parent can prepare. Her youngest son Rob, 15 years old and a high school student at that time, was seriously injured in a car wreck. He suffered catastrophic brain damage that left him permanently disabled. Despite the challenges of working full-time, Janelle took Rob home where she worked tirelessly to care for Rob for the next 21 years. Even after Rob transferred to an assisted living facility in 2006 and she moved in with her son Mark and his family, she visited Rob almost every day even as her health declined over the years. Even though she was told that, at best, Rob might live five years, he lived until 2019 almost 34 years after being injured in the accident. His long life and quality of life were due the care and commitment Janelle gave Rob all those years.
Janelle was an avid gardener and her yard and gardens were always a great source of pride to her. She also loved to read, consuming hundreds and probably thousands of books through the years. Although not a great sports fan, she still faithfully attended her children’s’ and grandchildren’s’ sports and academic events.
As she neared retirement and then for many years after retirement, Janelle realized her long-held dream of traveling to Europe. She visited England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, and several other countries over the years enjoying them all, but especially England and Ireland.
Following her divorce from Fred, Janelle never remarried. However, she enjoyed many years of close friendship with Carroll Graham. They enjoyed wonderful dinners together, nights at the opera and theater, ski trips and trips to Europe. Our family is forever grateful for the kindness and warmth he showed our mother and grandmother through the years.
Janelle is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Mark and Ruth Talkington of Dallas and son and daughter-in-law Clark and Kathy Talkington of Vienna, VA, granddaughter Emma (New York City) and grandsons Max (Dallas), Luke (Denver), and Peter (New Orleans). She is also survived by her youngest brother and sister-in-law Gary and Suzanne Winkler of Houston and sister-in-law Judy Winkler of Columbia, SC.
She was preceded in death by her son Rob who was so special to her and who passed away exactly two years to the day before Janelle on February 17, 2019. She was also predeceased by brothers Jim, Allen and Wayne and sisters-in-law Jo and Jacquie.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice, Equest or Cistercian.
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