Eugene “Gene” D. Talford, 85 passed away on February 6, 2020 after a long illness. He braved his illness in the same way he lived his life – with unparalleled dignity, poise and strength. He beat the odds for over two years maintaining an extraordinary quality of life with his family and friends.
Born in Lowell, the son of George and Margaret (O’Shea) Talford, he earned a B.S. in Management Science from UMass Lowell and an MBA from SNHU. He was a disabled decorated Air Force Veteran of the Korean Conflict having served in the Air Rescue Services.
Gene was a Principal Planner for Itek Optical Systems, Lockheed, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, BAE Systems and Raytheon where he collaborated on projects with NASA, the CIA, and the Department of Defense on numerous Aeronautical Programs. Some highly notable projects included reconnaissance camera systems for Lockheed’s legendary “Skunk Works” that built the U-2 and SR-71 (Blackbird) Spy Planes, Star Wars Telescopes, the Apollo Lunar Landing and Mars-Viking Lander Space Missions, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the Keck Telescope, and NASA’s Chandra Deep Space X-ray Observatory Station.
Gene was an avid athlete and sportsman. He was a coach in the South Lawrence West Softball League for many years. He was a music enthusiast of the big bands, ballads, and Jazz Era. He was a seashore and nature lover, enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family and friends.
He leaves behind his two daughters Ginamarie Talford and Lynn (Talford) MacGill and her husband Jeffrey MacGill of Salisbury Beach, MA; former spouse Sarah (Pappalardo) Talford and several nieces and nephews.
Gene will be included in Memorium at the Saturday 4pm Mass at Immaculate Conception Parish in Newburyport on February 15, 2020. Interment will be privately held at a later date. Calling hours have been omitted. He will be missed by all but his mantra of “teach peace’ will live on in all who knew and loved him.
Gene Talford spent a rewarding career in providing expertise to world-class, advanced mission planning which have supported our nation’s vital defense and peace keeping operations that include homeland security, aerospace and deep space explorations beyond our solar system.
He was a Principal Planner for Itek Optical Systems, Lockheed, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, BAE Systems and Raytheon.
His pursuits have been filled with exploring the unknown, focusing on planning assignments and management control oversight on the following major initiatives:
The CIA’s U-2 spy plane (the Deuce, Dragon Lady).
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird top secret spy plane that was the fastest and highest flying jet in the world. It was critical in winning the Cold War.
Other (top secret) high altitude stealth surveillance sensors (drones, wing aircraft, satellites, telescopes, mirrors) for tomorrow.
The Keck Twin Telescopes on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii.
The NASA Apollo Mission – Deep Space Exploration (man’s first space landing and walk on the moon).
The focus repair to the Hubble Space Telescope which remarkably continues to send data to the earth.
The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chandra Great X-Ray Observatory (advanced deep space program that developed and delivered the world’s most powerful x-ray telescope system).
That pair of telescopes, Hubble and Chandra, are currently exploring and orbiting the Black Hole and distant planets many light years beyond our solar system.
Our protection systems are carried aboard Presidential Air Force One.
Aside from the high technology and scientific arenas, his interests have focused on coaching in career growth, motivation and life style situations as well as an advocate to seniors, youth and needy. He was recognized as a successful sponsor and partner for seniors and had advanced to the position of Chair of the Board at the Salisbury Hilton Senior Center. Additionally, he hosted and co-hosted talk shows ‘The Chat Works’ and ‘The Men’s (Discussion) Group’ which are enlightening forums in which attendees advocate for services and programs within the Community as well as discussing issues, events and daily headliners.
His seminars and speaking engagements include:
Rebuild Your Life - After Separation and Divorce; Get Your Life Back on Track –Become the New You; Work on Your Life Styles and Career Growth Situations; Unlock Your Issues; Cultivate and Capture Your Dreams; Teach Peace; Planning Your Final Arrangements - Do It Your Way; The Resume Doctor; Is There an Intergenerational Gap between seniors and the young?; Making Project Management Succeed; NASA Blood Runs Through My Veins.
He is a decorated, Air Force, Korean War veteran who has served with The Headquarters Air Rescue Service within the U.S. and Japan.
He earned a master’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and baccalaureate from the University of Massachusetts (UMass Lowell). His concentrations include: Program and Engineering Management plus Corporate Strategy and Policy.
Supplementary education includes Journalism and Speech at Rollins College, FL and Public Relations at Merrimack College, MA. The following specialties: English Instructor, Flight Training, and Personal Affairs were acquired at The Air Force Training Academy; the completion of Itek Corporation’s Senior Management Development ‘Charm’ School; and from SCORE: ‘Start Your Own Business Program Certification.’
He was inspired by ‘The Dash’ on gravestones between one’s date of birth and date of death. That engraved dash line inspires individuals to make a positive difference in his/her life. His mission is to live an inspired and loving life, to touch individuals with kindness and to embrace ‘The Dash.’ His dash reads: “I never gave up.”
His aspirations were to live his dreams, to explore and to define where others dare not plan, to live his life on his own terms, share the good life, spend ‘prime time’ with my family, to continue to love my neighbor, to cruise along the seashore in my Miata, to enjoy listening to big band ballads and vocals, and to teach peace.