Resident Spotlight: Diane Talarico

Enjoying Life & Coming Home

Diane Talarico

Diane Stigall was born April 9, 19 – well, we don’t have to go there – in Memphis, Tennessee, the oldest of three. Her father, Terry Hiram Stigall was an electrician for Memphis, Light, Gas, and Water, and her mother, Marcelle Bobbe Stigall, was a homemaker who eventually went to work for the Corp of Engineers after the kids were grown. Diane attended Central High School in Memphis and after graduation continued her education at Memphis State University.

She was a journalism major and minored in education and history. She worked on the school newspaper, was active in sorority life and was even editor of the yearbook. She spent school breaks working at Sears Crosstown where she came to realize how strange, yet interesting, people can be.

Her sophomore year, a friend was dating a young man who had a friend on the football team. His name was Frank R. Talarico. Frank attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan before being drafted to the Army for two years. He ended up at Memphis State to continue his engineering degree when he was introduced to Diane. The two dated a year and on June 8, 1957, the end of their junior year, they decided to marry.

After graduation, they moved to Herkimer, New York, about 15 miles southeast of Utica. Frank was born in Herkimer and his father built roads and bridges. He took his knowledge to form a family business, named after Frank and his brother, Talson’s Contracting Corporation.

Diane Talarico
Frank and Diane in Baumholder, Germany in 1983

Diane stayed home and raised their daughter, Karen. After two years as a homemaker, Diane spent a year teaching junior high history. She then began studying language arts for the next several years, substitute teaching and raising their second child, Terrance. While in grad school she found completing her Masters would force her to choose a specific field of study, so she opted to continue her education as she decided and became eligible to teach K-12.

After Frank’s father passed, he and his brother continued running the contracting business and in 1980, Diane went to teach English full-time at Herkimer High School. Diane retired in 1995 when Frank’s brother died. Frank continued to run Talson’s. Diane then went to docenting at the Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute in Utica.

Becoming a docent required training, during which time she gave tours, worked special programs, taught children to appreciate art and helped immigrants staying in refugee centers prepare for citizenship. She found this work quite rewarding and meaningful. Diane was also very active in the Herkimer Garden Club, which she enjoyed for 46 years.

Diane Talarico Celebrating
Bobbe Stigall’s family surround her on her 90th birthday. From L-R; cousins Jerry Grilla, Gail Entrekin, Don Johnson, sister Cheryl Johnson, brother Terry Stigall and his wife Sandy, cousin Mike Grilli and his wife Martha, Diane and her husband Frank.

In 2005, Frank retired. Diane took up golf, which Frank already played, and they would spend their winters in Myrtle Beach or Florida. They had done some traveling over the years, and it was a trip to Germany in the early 80s to visit their daughter when Diane got the desire to see the world. The two took trips, but Frank wasn’t as impressed, so Diane and her girlfriends traveled the world while Frank and the other husbands held down their forts.

Frank passed away in 2015, and Diane decided after a year and a half that a four-bedroom house, was too much. She looked at several options, and in 2017 decided to go back to Memphis. Her father had died in 1987, and after “Hurricane Elvis” in 2004, she and her siblings moved their mother. Bobbe Stigall, to Kirby Pines. The upkeep on her house was just too much for an 86-year-old woman, so reluctantly she went, where she happily enjoyed life. Diane’s sister, Cheryl, was married to the Kirby Pines Chaplain, Don Johnson, so it made the transition even easier.

Diane followed in her mother’s footsteps and chose Kirby Pines as her home in June of 2017. She felt Kirby had so much to offer and the people were all very friendly and open. She enjoys the Book Baggers, the Travelers outings and is thinking of checking out the Photo Club.

Her mother passed away in December of 2017, just shy of her 100th birthday, and was loved by everyone. I know Diane was glad to spend her mother’s final months with her and, after getting to know Diane, I also know she will happily enjoy her life at Kirby Pines, too.