John Banks Talley, 91, built a Wilmington country house where he grew most of the food he ate

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John Banks Talley
John Banks Talley

John Banks Talley died June 17, 2015, at his home. He was 91.

John was the son of the late Dr. John Samuel Talley and Edith McLaughlin Talley. He was born May 31, 1924, at Statesville hospital, delivered by his father, the beloved “Dr. Sam” Talley. John grew up in nearby Troutman at a large old house that is now the very popular Talley House Restaurant.

John was baptized and grew up in the American Associate Reform Presbyterian Church. He joined St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wilmington when he married his wife Melissa. At St. Paul’s he served as a Christian caregiver and on an usher team.

John was a graduate of the 1941 class of Troutman High School. In 1943, John joined the U.S. Navy where he served his country with honor in WWII. He was selected to be in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps and was embedded with U.S. Marines in the Pacific. John served as a medic on ships traveling to the Pacific and on the islands of Guam, Roi and Namur. He also served at hospitals in Hawaii.

Following his service to his country, John returned home and attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earning a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. John returned home to Iredell County and founded a contracting company. He supervised the building of several large chemical and electric plants in the south.

John served his hometown, Troutman, as a city alderman and also as mayor pro tem. While living in Charlotte, John served as a Boy Scout leader for Troop 6 of Mulberry Presbyterian Church, for which he received several leadership awards including The Order of the Arrow.

John was an accomplished craftsman who built four houses with his own hands, including the country house he built as his Wilmington home. He was also an avid boatman and fisherman.

John was very interested in agriculture and gardening from a young age, encouraged by his parents. While living in the country, he grew much of his food. When he married Melissa and moved to her garden on Metts Avenue, he became very interested in camellia culture. He was a member of the Hobby Greenhouse Club where he met his wife Melissa and The Tidewater Camellia Club. For his work in both organizations, he was awarded life memberships. He was also a member of the Wilmington Cape Fear Rose Society, The American Camellia Society and The American Hemerocallis (Daylily) Society.

John was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Frances Elizabeth Bailey Talley; and his brother-in-law, Ralph Mullis.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Melissa Lee Beale Talley; daughter, Patricia “Patty” Lynn Talley Hollifield, of Wilmington; stepdaughters, Elizabeth Robertson Padgett and Jennifer Melissa Padgett-Hemsley, of Atlanta; three grandchildren, Jonathan Fox Hollifield, Katherine Talley Hollifield and Nicholas McCrae Padgett, all of Wilmington; son-in-law, Mark Hollfield; and sister, Julia Rebecca Talley Mullis, of Statesville.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2015, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 6th and Market streets, followed by committal of his ashes at Saint Paul’s Memorial Ash Garden. The Rev. John Misenheimer and the Rev. Mark Opgrand will be officiating. A reception will follow at St. Paul’s Keever Hill Hall.

The family wishes to especially thank Richard Hollenbeak and Kaitlyn Graham, CNA for their loving care of John. They also wish to thank the wonderful care to John by Liberty Home Hospice, including Crystal Harrelson, R.N.; Yvonne Young, CNA; Matthew Walker, R.N.; Kelly Wheat-Rivers, chaplain; Sally Showers, CMSW; and Theresa Hall, volunteer coordinator.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, The Boy Scouts of America or a charity of your choice.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Wilmington Funeral & Cremation.

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