David Wilson Talmage ’41

A life begun in 1919 ended peacefully on March 6, 2014 as David W. Talmage died at home on his own terms. David was an intellectual giant who was determinedly practical. At 94 years, he knew he was failing in health and resolutely planned his passing. He was pleased to have seen all five of his children and their spouses as well as most of his ten grandchildren and their significant others in the few weeks before his death.

Born of Presbyterian missionaries, he was raised in Korea by his parents and his beloved Grandmother Emerson. He was the sixth of seven children and spent his entire young life in Korea, including attending high school in Pyeng Yang, North Korea at a mission boarding school. He had little formal school until high school and was educated at home and in small mission schools.

His was an interesting young life in the countryside of South Korea in a small town of Kwangju. His first visit to the United States didn’t occur until he was 13 when he spent a few months in Decatur, Georgia when his father was on furlough from his mission work. After his return to Korea, he did not visit the United States until he returned to attend college. He attended Maryville College for one year and then transferred to Davidson College where he graduated in 1941. He attended Washington University for Medical School during World War II. He graduated from Washington University in 1944 when the War required an accelerated path for graduation. From 1945 to 1947 he served as a medical adviser to the Korean government for the United States Army. He served two internships: Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia from 1944-1945 and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri in 1948-1949. He served a residency at Barnes Hospital from 1949-1950 and a fellowship at Washington University from 1950-1951.

 He married the love of his life, LaVeryn Talmage, in 1944 and stayed devoted to her until her death in 2013. Together they raised five children who all reside in the Denver area. They are Janet Lynn ”Jenny” Bock (Jim), Marilyn Talmage-Bowers (Kent), David Hall Talmage (Ellie), Mark Talmage (Karen) and Carol Talmage. In addition, he has ten grandchildren: Timothy Bock, Christopher Bock, Kaitlyn Talmage-Bowers, Melissa Auell (Patrick), Madigan Talmage-Bowers, Steven Talmage, Garrick Talmage, Morgan Talmage, Alexa Talmage and Zachary Talmage. With LaVeryn, he raised their family, travelled the world and distinguished himself in his career. In late life, he supported her painting career and took care of her while studying a new interest, physics.

He had a distinguished career at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh. He was a distinguished professor at the University of Colorado from 1986 to the present. He also served as the Associate Dean for Research Affairs at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) from 1983 -1986. He was the director of the Webb Waring Lung Institute from 1973 to 1983, the Dean of Faculty at UCHSC from 1969-1971, Acting Dean of Faculty at UCHSC from 1968-1969, Professor and Chairman of the Microbiology Department at UCHSC from 1963-1966. He was a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the UCHSC from 1960-1986. He was a Professor in the Department of Medicine at UCHSC from 1959 -1960. He also served as Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh.

His professional work earned him much acclaim. He was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1976 and on the Council of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases from 1974 to 1978. He was president of the American Association of Immunologists in 1978 and President of the American Academy of Allergy in 1965. In addition, he was honored to be the editor of the Journal of Allergy from 1963 to 1967.

He earned many honors for his professional work. He earned the prestigious Bonfils-Stanton Award in 2003, the Sewall Award from the University of Colorado in 1996 and the Sandoz Immunology Prize in 1995. He earned the University of Colorado Faculty Research Lectureship (1979), the Fulbright-Hays Senior Scholar Award (1977), an honorary Doctor of Science at Colorado State University (1980), an honorary Doctor of Science from Buena Vista College (1970) and an Alumni Recognition Award at the University of Chicago. He was a Markle Scholar from 1955 -1960 and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha.

David was a research scientist and prolific writer. He was the author of more than 150 articles in scientific journals. Three weeks before his death, he submitted a paper to a physics contest with an essay on physics related to gravity and inertia.

Personally, David was a peacemaker above all. He was remarkably patient and loving. He disliked conflict and advised forgiveness and lack of judgment. He gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and counseled respect for all humans. He was seldom critical and was empathic and concerned about others. He was a humble person despite his many accomplishments. He was pleased to support his church and a homeless coalition with considerable financial support. He was a steadfast supporter of education and provided significant support for his children and grandchildren’s higher education.

He is survived by his children, his grandchildren, his sister, Mariella Provost of Black Mountain, North Carolina and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his other siblings: John, Franklin, William, Janet (Keller) and Roy.