Notes From The Coast

The beach does funny things to the brain

On a Final Note – An obituary for my Dad, John Talick

Dad having an Bell's Oberon at the Town Pump Tavern before the Tigers Game

Dad having an Bell’s Oberon at the Town Pump Tavern before the Tigers Game

John Hal Talick, loving husband, awesome dad, avid golfer and devoted Red Wings fan, passed away on March 13th, 2015 in Redondo Beach, CA.

John worked for the United States Postal Service for 38 years and, as if thumbing his nose in the face of every flu warning ever, he never took a sick day. At 18, John and his excellent work ethic started unloading mail trucks on the nightshift. Even after he broke his collarbone, he showed up for work the next night. It was no surprise that he ended up running the place as District Manager of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit. Quite possibly because he never took a sick day.

He loved his work. He loved his people, too. He genuinely cared. He knew somehow that life wasn’t fair to those who needed fairness the most. So, he became justice personified for the people on his team. He didn’t see gender or color, he saw potential, he gave people opportunity, guidance, and encouragement, which led to something far greater than money. It led to their own long-term prosperity. As a result, his fans arrived in droves to his retirement party.

John gave money to the homeless in the conventional ways of supporting shelters and other charities but also in the actual boots-on-the-ground way. He learned the names of the people he saw on the street, talked to them, and handed over tens and twenties in parting. Every time he went to Joe Louis Arena he met up with Max who was in a wheelchair after having lost both his legs. They talked about the Wings’ playoff chances, while he slipped Max a twenty and a pint of whiskey. Then, they shook hands. It’s a safe bet Max would have been at his retirement party if he could have found a ride.

After he retired from the USPS, Netflix came calling. Netflix, notorious for hiring rock star performers, soon realized they hired a legend who changed the game. He fielded phone calls at 3am, flew all over the country at the beck and call of Reed Hastings, and before he left on his own accord, he managed to institute a change in how employees are compensated. This policy was affectionately and privately referred to as “The Talick Raise.” He then took his last swig of scotch, his last bite of filet mignon, and waved a fine farewell to his Netflix family, heading back to the 1st tee on the Nicklaus Private course in La Quinta, CA. He was always happiest when he was within tapping distance of the pin.

He married his wife, Gail, in 1976, and together they spent many happy years at Leon’s on Saturdays for breakfast, at their cottage on Lake Chemung, golfing on courses around Michigan and California, and caring for a giant, furry black cat named Captain whom they adopted after he was abandoned.

He adored his daughter, which might explain why no man was good enough for her until she met Mike, his soon-to-be son-in-law. Dad and Mike spent many hours sitting on the couch together quietly reading their phones and making occasional sports remarks. The mutual affection was downright overflowing.

He was a big fan of the Quarter Pounder with Cheese, SNL episodes from the 70s, Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas Special, and happy hour at Shanghai Red’s on Fridays.

He loved Tom Petty, Jackson Brown and War to name a few, and hated pretty much any music written after 1972 with the baffling yet sweet exception of Sarah McLachlin, for whom he took the extreme measure of buying tickets to Lilith Fair so that he could see her live.

John loved Red Wings hockey like some men love their country. With unwavering loyalty, steadfast support and always yearning for victory. He loved the players like family, and knew their stats, their hometowns, and their best plays on the ice. He died harboring a deep, abiding grudge against the Colorado Avalanche’s Claude Lemieux for breaking Kris Draper’s jaw during Game 6 of the Western Conference finals in 1997. And he was there in person for every single Stanley Cup the Red Wings hoisted over their heads in the modern day era. When that ticker tape fell, he stood in the stands with his arms crossed and a big smile on his face, nodding along, proud of his boys.

In 2010, after he moved out to La Quinta, CA to live happily on the sun-splashed, perfectly manicured grounds of PGA West, he constantly cursed Time Warner cable for not broadcasting the Red Wings games in HD in the desert, a curse we hope Time Warner hears.

John lived on his own terms. He had goals and he reached them and loved helping other people do the same, although he could never quite help his daughter fix her golf swing, a regret she’ll have to live with.

He is survived by his beautiful and loving wife, Gail; his adoring, opinionated daughter, Carrie; his soon-to-be son-in-law Mike Ayotte; and his soon-to-be granddaughter Charlotte Ayotte, who loved accompanying him on morning walks in Hawaii to get coffee, as long as he also bought her a hot chocolate. He is also survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Kopf, his nieces Carolyn Kopf and Sandra Burch, and his cousin Shirley Ostholm.

Intelligent, kind, generous and loving, John will always be missed and he will remain an inspiration to his wife, daughter and countless others.

May the fairways be greener than you imagined and may your drives be forever right down the middle. We love you. Go Wings.

Join us on April 19th at 10am, for a mass at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit where John’s named will be mentioned in Memoriam. Immediately following the mass, we will convene at The Town Pump Tavern to celebrate John’s life. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Maldo E. Talick Scholarship fund at Wayne State University.

Condolences can be sent to Gail Talick at 57690 Interlachen, La Quinta, CA 92253 or gtalick@yahoo.com or to Carrie Talick at ctalick@yahoo.com

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