William Talmage, 89

April 19, 1923 - Nov. 13, 2012
William Talmage, 89

    William W. Talmage, who served under Gen. George Patton in the Third Army during World War II and lived in East Hampton for most of his life, died on Nov. 13 at Brookhaven Hospital in Patchogue. He was 89.
    Mr. Talmage was born in Springs on April 19, 1923, to James and Lois Talmage. In 1943, he was sent to Europe as a marksman and machine gunner in the Third Army. Under General Patton’s leadership, the Third Army advanced farther, captured more enemy prisoners, and liberated more territory in less time than any other army in history, according to Gen. Brenton G. Wallace’s 1946 memoir, “Patton and His Third Army.” The conflict took Mr. Talmage through Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Germany, said his daughter, Brenda Grodski of Riverhead.
    Mr. Talmage did not talk much about his war experience, his daughter said. “ ‘I was one of the lucky ones,’ were the only words he ever spoke to me,” she said. “He left his best buddy there, right beside him.”
    After the war, on Jan. 19, 1948, he married Florence Bye, who survives him. For many years, said Ms. Grodski, he was an employee of the Town of East Hampton. Initially a heavy-equipment operator, he rose to the position of deputy supervisor, his daughter said. Mr. Talmage was also a member of the American Legion post in Amagansett.
    To many residents, Mr. Talmage was also known as Farmer Bill, as he grew vegetables and flowers on land he rented at the Peach Farm in Northwest Woods. “He had a big following,” Ms. Grodski remembered.
    In later years, Mr. Talmage suffered from macular degeneration, and ultimately lost his eyesight. Seven years ago he moved to Riverhead, where he lived next door to Ms. Grodski and her family.
    In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Talmage is survived by two sons, Mark W. Talmage and William J. Talmage, both of East Hampton, and another daughter, Christine Talmage of East Hampton. He is also survived by six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A sister, Louise Gagne of East Hampton, died before him.
    “He loved his family,” Ms. Grodski said. “He loved his wife dearly. . . . He would do anything for anybody if they needed it.”
    A funeral was held on Saturday at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton, followed by burial at Green River Cemetery in Springs. The family has suggested memorial donations to American Legion Post 419, 15 Montauk Highway, Amagansett 11930, or to Talking Books, a free library service in which local cooperating libraries mail audiobooks and audio equipment, braille books, and magazines to enrollees.


John O'Brien here from Ireland, I often purchased trees from Bill in North West Woods, A true gentleman with a pleasant, refreshing, honest to goodness approach to life. I always walked away from him feeling a bit better about my lot in life and feeling that there are some good people out there if you were paying attention. Bill never lectured anyone either and was a breath of fresh air in the madness of the Hamptons. As they say in Gaelic: Ar dheis De go raibh a ainm