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PDF Mourns the Loss of PPAC Member Bruce Talbot

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) mourns the loss of Bruce Talbot, who died peacefully on January 23 after a year-long battle with cancer.

Mr. Talbot was a founding member of PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council (PPAC), a group that was created in 2006 to provide PDF with perspectives on research-funding priorities, community needs and ways to better serve people living with Parkinson's through information and education programs.

Mr. Talbot was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1994.  Among his various contributions to PDF, Mr. Talbot was perhaps best known amongst PDF staff and board members as the enthusiastic founding member of our team, the PDF Pacers, at the annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York City.  Dedicated to helping those living with Parkinson’s navigate its challenges, he was a contributor to the PDF newsletter, authoring the fact sheet, “Making a Move with Parkinson’s."

Mr. Talbot was also one of the PPAC members who lobbied PDF for the creation of and subsequently helped to develop, PDF’s first Resource List (published in 2009).  This 100-page comprehensive print and online guide lists more than 650 community resources located throughout the US and around the world.  Mr. Talbot and his colleagues expressed to PDF the urgent need for a centralized resource that would be used by people with Parkinson’s at any age and any stage of the disease and by their families, friends and care partners. 

Mr. Talbot was also the PPAC member who touched the staff and board by creating a “proclamation” thanking PDF for being the first organization to have an advisory board made up of people living with and affected by Parkinson’s.

Mr. Talbot was born and grew up in Wisconsin, but lived much of his life in Vermont. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts, and Northwestern University in 1973 with a Master of Science, both in Journalism.  During his career, he served as a free-lance reporter for Democratic and Republican national conventions, worked for United Press International, was a much-loved high school teacher at Montpelier High School and also worked for several corporations in Vermont.

Mr. Talbot established a lifelong daily meditation practice more than 30 years ago, believing that this practice allowed himself to see the beauty inside of himself, and therefore, of others.  He was a student of the Landmark Forum, which led him to co-produce concerts at the New Hope Baptist Church of Newark, a New Jersey 100-member choir, bringing their awe-inspiring gospel music to thousands of Vermonters and leading tours of others (including PDF staff and PPAC members) to Newark, New Jersey and Harlem, New York to introduce them to African-American culture and landmarks.  Mr. Talbot's book on his philosophy of life and his journey with chronic illness, The Heart of the Matter, will be published posthumously.

It was clear to those that knew Mr. Talbot that core to his life was his love for his family.  He is survived by his son Peter Fitch, his wife Judith Sutphen and their two children Alejandro and Sofia.  All of his family members were enthusiastic compatriots each year in Mr. Talbot’s leadership of the PDF Pacers at the Unity Walk.

In February 2010 Mr. Talbot was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor, a glioblastoma.   As his family shared with us, his reaction to his diagnosis was, “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

PDF Executive Director Robin Elliott noted, “Bruce is remembered for his kindness, enthusiasm and grace.  These qualities were infectious and inspired everyone around him, including our staff.  We will certainly miss him and our thoughts go out to his wonderful family at this time.”

You are invited to share your memories and online condolences by visiting or

See Bruce’s full obituary online.

Source Date: Feb 08 2011