In Memory

Cheryl Nancy Talbert (Belk) VIEW PROFILE

Cheryl Nancy Talbert Belk In the early morning on July 18th Redlands lost one of its most cherished daughters, a true woman of the community. She was born Cheryl Nancy Talbert on June 20th, 1954 in Grand Forks, North Dakota, to Dr. Myron, Mike to his friends, and Harriet Talbert. She moved to Redlands in 1956 when her father decided to move his Medical Surgical Practice to Redlands. The Talbert family was a wonderful addition to the community, their philanthropy can be seen all around town, on the hospital wall where Mike donated to hospital projects, and Harriet who gave time and money to many community organizations. Of note, Harriet played the piano for all of the rehearsals for Redlands High School musicals, for Billy Daniel the drama teacher, and for the Redlands Sing with Curtis Allen at the Bowl. Those who spend time at the Redlands Bowl have no doubt seen the Talbert Court Yard where many small community gatherings are held. I first saw Nancy at the University of Redlands soccer field just east of the Amphitheater, we were probably 11 years old. My father and Mike were tennis partners; my dad would bring me with my bicycle to the U of R to ride around the campus while he played tennis. On this particular day Mike had brought his daughter Nancy. As I watched from the upper terrace of the Administration Building she was, as she would explain later, riding her bamboo pony, a stick that she had pulled from the Zanja. She was throwing and tossing her hair like the mane of a horse, but what I saw was long black hair, long legs, dark eyes and the pretty face of a beautiful girl. Nancy would grow up to be an accomplished horse woman. A year later I saw her again this time hitting tennis balls on the wooden backboards behind Currier Gym. If I had been brave I would have gotten my racket, introduced myself and played tennis with her, but there was something about her that made her unapproachable, a regal demeanor in the way that she carried herself, not snobbish, but a certain graceful confidence. I deemed that she was way above my station so I watched from a distance. We both attended Kimberly Elementary School and I would see her around school with her friends and it seemed that even her friends gave her a certain deference. During our junior high years, she went to Cope and I to Moore. At Cope she was the first female ASB President. She explained this to me years later, that she had been commandeered by friends to run against a most popular boy who was the quarterback of the football team. He was a really nice guy but there were those who just wanted someone else. Her posters read "Nancy," to indicate that she was a girl and were covered with ladybugs. Nancy and I both attended Redlands High School, class of 72. I saw Nancy often making her way around campus though I don't believe that she ever really noticed me. I would come to find out later that she actually did. It was impossible to miss her, long legs taking long strides, with her piercing dark eyes and long dark hair sailing in the breeze as she was walking across the quad between Grace Mullen and Clock Auditoriums. She carried herself with such dignity. Her senior year she played the female lead in the school musical production of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man." The Music Man would become very special for both of us. My folks had taken me to see the original production and I had the sound track on a record, which I had listened to so often that I knew most of the score by heart. I went to every showing of the production so that I could watch a beautiful girl with a beautiful voice singing, "sweet dreams be yours dear if dreams there be, sweet dreams to carry you close to me. A star is shining its brightest light, so good night my someone, goodnight." The score of the Music Man would become our personal form of communication as we would pick appropriate lines with which to kid each other. After high school Nancy attended a year at San Diego State University and then moved back to Redlands to finish college, at the University of Redlands, with a degree in communitive disorders. After she graduated she married Michael Derr, a teacher who taught stage craft for the University. They moved to Eureka California and then to Norman Oklahoma following Michael's career. She and Michael divorced and she moved back to Redlands to have, what she considered her greatest achievement, her daughter Jennifer. I met Nancy again a few years after this. I had gone to a local nightclub, El Gato Gordo, with friends to celebrate a special event. I was at the bar when I was approached by an old classmate who requested my help in "running interference" as he was trying to make time with a certain woman. The one that I needed to interfere with just happened to be Nancy. Years later we would joke about having found our "someone's" that night. Nancy went from working in her father's doctor's office to becoming the executive secretary of the Inland Surgery Center. She furthered her education by going back to school for a graduate degree in Business. With that formalization she began consulting to Surgery Center startups all around southern California. When she got tired of driving to Orange County she began working in my family business as the Chief Financial Officer and later fulfilled the position of Corporate Vice President. In 1997 she made the announcement that she was going back to school to get a doctoral degree in Psychology. She had a fascination of Carl Jung's writing on "collective unconscious" and "archetypes," which she referred to often as a main reason for her own self-understanding and the drive that piqued her educational interests. She also came to realize that in understanding herself she was more able to help others understand their own internal conflicts. She only had one semester of school left when she was diagnosed with breast cancer which left her too tired to finish school. A professor that she had been working with told her that she had enough units to graduate with a graduate degree in psychology specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy. She worked for the Redlands Christian Counseling Center for a couple of years and then hung out her own shingle. For 17 years only a few people knew that while she was helping others she was fighting her own battle with breast cancer. Her philanthropy is not found on brass plaques identifying donations, but in the hearts and minds of those whom she helped. Her daughter Jennifer is following in her footsteps as the co-founder of Beloved Foundation, an organization that helps the families of terminally ill cancer patients pay their bills so that they can remain home to care for their loved ones. If you would like to memorialize Nancy I know that she would appreciate a donation to Beloved Foundation ( Nancy's greatest love were her four grandsons, Logan, Jon, Andrew, and Zach. For them she could always make time. She also left behind one unfinished reclamation project, her "someone," who has enjoyed being her husband for the last 30 years. In the words of the immortal Professor Harold Hill, "sweet dreams be yours dear if dreams there be, sweet dreams that might carry you close to me, a star has shone its brightest light, now good night my someone good night."


Published in Redlands Daily Facts on Aug. 26, 2018

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08/29/18 05:19 PM #1    

Janet Rushing (Szuszkiewicz)

Oh Curtis, I am so sorry to read this sad news.  Thank you for posting such a beautiful tribute to someone who is so deserving of honor. Her star will always be shining with her bright light.


08/29/18 07:49 PM #2    

Rudy Saldana


08/29/18 09:36 PM #3    

Olivia N. Clark

What a beautiful profile of Nancy Takbert.   It captured much of how I also perceived her, best described by the word “regal”.  I will always remember time together in Clock Auditorium, and later in the Redlands Bowl, rehearsing and performing “The Music Man” with her mother at the piano. My heartfelt sympathy to her family.  

08/30/18 09:23 AM #4    

Shawn Jezerinac

So sad. I remember you as a bright dear sweet woman open to making connection with others. My condolences to your friends and family for their loss is great.


08/30/18 09:43 AM #5    

Kay Miller (Reed)

Thank you, Curtis, for bringing back wonderful memories of Nancy. I met her at Cope and faintly recall the ladybug posters. Then high school where I remember  shared classes and, of course,The Music Man.  Finally at our 40th reunion, I really enjoyed our conversation catching up on the prior many decades. She seemed  so happy with her life. Now I know why. Much appreciation to you and others for your love and support of Nancy over the years. I hope that your memories of your life together will sustain you in the months and years ahead.

With warmest wishes, Kay Miller Reed

08/30/18 01:03 PM #6    

Elizabeth A. Phillips (Kelly)

With Deepest Sympathy, I offer my Condolences to, Curtis and Family for the loss of a very fine person, Nancy Tolbert. May you, RIP, Nancy! I haven’t forgotten the first time I met you after my transfer to, Cope Jr High School, the last few months of the school year of 1969. My folks had bought a house at, 304 S Buena Vista, there in redlands so we weren’t in, Moore’s district and got transferred to Cope. Changing schools so late in the year wasn’t easy and friends were at a different school but you came up to me, introducing diced yourself in such a kind and friendly manner that I didn’t feel so uncomfortable at the new school anymore. Thank You!  We didn’t ‘hang out’ and weren’t ‘best buds’ but had a mutual respect for one another and for that I am grateful. Then you played, Marion in, The Music Man. I was an extra until, Barbie couldn’t and Mrs Daniel told me, “You have to play Zanita...” Once again I was blessed to experience you and your amazing voice! I had no idea the talents you had until then. Wow! I’m so glad you found your “Someone!” You are surely missed! Thank You again for extending your kindness into my direction; you passed on my Birthday, Nancy. How very ironic that is to me. Blessings to you and yours. Yours Truly, Beth aka:Zanita “Ye Gods!”   (Elizabeth, or Mrs Scott Kelly)

08/30/18 02:53 PM #7    

David M. Hughes

Dear Curtis and the Belk and Talbert Families , 


May Nancy rest in peace . The Poet's could not  capture for us the meaning of such a person having come into our life but the presence of Demeter would be suspect whenever  Nancy was about . Forever will I remember the power of her glance , touch of her hand on my shoulder and the simple kiss placed on my lips as we all of us moved on  .Bless you Curtis for the most beautiful accounting of what we all witnessed as being the passing through of our lives  one Cheryl Nancy Talbert Belk who will be forever remembered .


My sincere Condolences to you Curtis and to the families of Cheryl Nancy Talbert Belk .


David Hughes

08/30/18 09:32 PM #8    

Catherine L. (Cathy) Laycook

I was so sorry to hear of Nancy's passing.  Curtis, your account of Nancy's life was truly touching.  I'm so glad you found eachother and had so many years together.  I did not know Nancy well but being in the cast of The Music Man (during the school year and the reprise after our graduation) was probably the highlight of my senior year at RHS and she was a very important part of that experience.  Nancy was a luminous presence as Marian and it sounds like the light continued to glow in the years that followed.  My prayers go out to you and all those who hold Nancy in their hearts.    Cathy Laycook 

09/09/18 04:30 PM #9    

Deborah Feenstra (Crowley)

Curtis, I am so sorr;y to hear of Nancy's passing. Your obituary was beautiful. Nancy was a very distinguished, elegant woman. Nancy and I spent quite a while talking at our last class reunion. We talked about getting together for lunch afterwards, but that never happened.

Prayers for you and your family. May Nancy rest in peace.

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