Mason County News
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Gerald Tallent
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 • Posted March 14, 2012

Gerald Patrick Tallent was born on November 12, 1921, to Ruben and Mary (Wunsch) Tallent in Dallas, Texas. He passed away March 4, 2012, in Austin, Texas, at the age of 90. He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister (Margaret Wiggins) and his wife of 54 years, Helen Sell Tallent.Gerald grew up in Dallas and the Falls County farming community. He attended Adamson High School in Dallas and was a member of the football and track teams. He was the city and district champ of the high jump his senior year. He graduated from high school in 1940 and joined the miliary shortly thereafter.As a member of the U.S. Air Force, Gerald flew B24s and A26s with a combination of 90 combat missions in Europe during World War II and in Korea during the Korean Conflict. He was a decorated airman and had the rare honor of being awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses. After the Korean Conflict, he was a member of the elite Strategic Air Comman, flying B47s, America's first jet bombers, and the first designed to carry nuclear weapons.While stationed in Brady, Texas, Gerald was one of the few men on base who owned a car. Two fellow airmen needed a ride to a family dinner at Camp Air, so he drove his friends to the Sell residence. His generosity was rewarded when he met the love of his life, Helen Sell. They were married March 10, 1945, in Brady after dropping his proposal on a note tied to a rock as he flew over her home.They traveled extensively during his miliary career, from New York to California. Gerald's high test scores eventually landed him an instructor's job at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. While working and raising three children, he and Helen both earned their college degrees from Trinity University, and Gerald went on to earn a master's degree in education from Our Lady of the Lake University.Upon his retirement, he farmed and ranched in Mason, and Helen taught and coached tennis at Mason High School. He was very supportive of Helen's career, and even donated tennis balls for her players' practices when the school would not do so. He made many financial contributions to the tennis program through the years, and he regularly attended the state tennis meets with Helen. He was extremely proud of her legendary tennis career and her ground-breaking 15 state championships.While Helen built her tennis program from scratch and amassed state championships, Gerald became a highly successful peanut farmer. Few expected a city boy to be much of a farmer, but what he lacked in experience, he made up for in hard work and determination. He was intensely passionate about his crops and relished the success of his efforts. He also enjoyed helping his neighbors harvest their peanuts, and did so on numerous occasions.Helen and Gerald were strong advocates of education and generously contributed to the college educations of their children and grandchildren. Their generosity was affectionately referred to by some family members as the Helen and Gerald scholarship fund.Gerald was a life-long Democrat and consistently exercised his right to vote. He liked to joke that he was not rich enough to be a Republican yet.In the last thirteen years of his life, Gerald tended to his cattle, hauled hay, and made quilts. He sewed over 100 quilts. He gave most away to family and friends and donated some to charity auctions. He was a man of few words, but if he gave you a quilt, you knew you were special to him.Gerald is survived by his three children: Craig and wife Kathy; Drew and wife, Laura; and, Marta and husband Jim Boies, all of Mason; eight grandchildren: Bill Bob Tallent of Houston; C. J. Fulton and husband Paul, of Mason; Jennifer Conner and husband, Garrett, of Belton; Jeff Tallent and wife, Melissa, of Port Aransas; Jacob and wife Anna of Austin; Kassi Tallent of Washington, DC; Piper Boies; and, Ashley Watkins and husband Paul, all of Padre Island; and nine great grandchildren.As per his request, there will be no funeral services. Instead, he asked that family and friends gather at the Peter's Prairie school house for a celebration of his life. The family will host an informal gather on March 17th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Peter's Prairie School Community Association at 1528 Sandy Lane, Mason; or the Mason Tennis Association.

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