Michael S. Tallent, of Haverford and Bal Harbour, FL, CPA, Coopers and Lybrand, Washington DC and Miami, President of Storer Cable, Miami Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration, Comcast, died peacefully on Sept. 22nd., 2020 surrounded by family at the age of 71.
He was the beloved husband of Cynthia and devoted father of Craig (Jessica), Christianne and James; also survived by a grandson, Lincoln; and brothers, William, Robert and Patrick. Michael S. Tallent 1949-2020
Mike loved golf. He grew up in Eastern Kentucky playing a 9 hole course with sand greens. He loved the competition and the camaraderie with his father, his brothers, his kids, his best friend Dave Witte, and with many foursomes through the years at Indian Creek, Merion, Pine Valley, and international competitions with the Pine Cones and the Wart Hogs. He even played occasional Sunday afternoon Hit and Giggle golf outings with his wife Cindy. He had a couple of hole in ones and said you could see someone’s character on the golf course. In golf or in life, you DON’T CHEAT just because you think you can get away with it because YOU will know and you JUST HAVE to Do the Right Thing!
Mike loved music. He played bluegrass, John Prine and the Martha White self-rising flour theme song on the guitar. HE LOVED the Beatles, Hotel California and Beethoven and was the church pianist as a teenager in Maytown, an Eastern Kentucky town of 200 people named after his grandmother Viola May and her ancestors. Mike would be out late from playing high school tournament basketball but he would still get up early the next morning to practice the church hymns. Women would stick dollar bills in Mike's jacket pocket but his mother Irma didn’t like that one bit! The men liked Mike to play the piano in church because they knew the sermon would always end on time. He played those same church hymns at home for dozens of years. Mike loved lots of music but the music that made him the HAPPIEST was hearing son James play Clocks and Spoons and son Craig play Crossroads on the guitar.
Mike WAS musical but also VERY ATHLETIC. In high school, he was the starting guard on the Kentucky-Indiana All Star team when they played in Louisville and Indianapolis. He went to college on a basketball scholarship as did his three brothers Bill, Bob and Pat. Kentucky is of course a great basketball state and there used to be a road sign that said “Welcome to Maytown. Home of the Tallent Brothers.” As valedictorian, Mike was recruited to many colleges but he went to George Washington University in Washington, DC to play basketball for his older brother Bob, who was coaching the freshman team while he sat out one year after transferring from the University of Kentucky.
The dean at GW asked Mike what he wanted to STUDY and Mike said he wanted to PLAY basketball. The dean said you have to major in something. What do you like? And Mike said I like animals so his first bachelor's degree was in zoology. (Mike later got a second bachelor's in accounting after his card-playing buddies kept getting married). Mike always loved animals and sometimes he would drive Pinkie their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel around the neighborhood because she LOOKED LIKE she wanted to go for a ride.
At GW, Mike led the Southern Conference in scoring in the 1969-70 season, following in his brother Bob’s footsteps. Mike, Bob and Pat hold the 17th all-time highest NCAA scoring record for brothers and even though it was almost 50 years ago, you’ll still see their basketball stats in the GW media guide. At one point in the 1968-69 season, Mike and his brother Bob made 64 consecutive free throws. The three brothers were inducted in the George Washington University Basketball Hall of Fame and the All Century Team and it was important to Mike that their photos hang side-by-side-by-side at the Smith Center. Ironically, Mike’s brother Bob played for Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA final with Kentucky versus Texas Western at Cole Field House, Renamed the Comcast Center... Renamed the Xfinity Center. Small world!! That 1966 NCAA Final Four game was portrayed in the movie Glory Road.
After college, Mike played poker and bridge professionally and he took a pay cut when he went to work as a CPA. He continued to play bridge on a high level for the rest of his life, accumulating master points with international partners from the American Contract Bridge League, as well as playing on local bridge teams in the Philadelphia area. Cindy was not his bridge partner for long. One time she LOST a hand of bridge and he was SO PROUD of her! She thought he would be mad but he was actually excited because she had finally figured out the bridge convention he was trying to teach her. Even though she lost the hand she had made the right move. That was Mike. Just do the right thing.
Mike wanted to be a pro basketball player but he had a career-ending knee injury in college. The photo of Mike in the hospital after his knee surgery was on the front page of the Washington Post. (It must have been a slow news day :-). Mike was not easily impressed by meeting people but the day he came home from Comcast with a basketball signed by Oscar Robertson he WAS excited.
Mike worked as a CPA for Coopers and Lybrand (now Price Waterhouse Coopers) in Washington DC and then Miami. When he finished the audit of Storer Cable in Miami, they hired him to be their controller. He met his future wife Cindy who worked in the marketing department, but Storer had a nepotism rule. Although other married people worked there, Mike submitted his resignation because he wanted to do the right thing. Fortunately his resignation was declined but Mike had a clear conscience knowing that he had tried. One day in Miami after they were married Cindy wanted to make a few personal copies on the company copy machine and Mike was VERY MAD. That was not the right thing to do!! Mike was eventually named President of Storer Cable and Comcast bought Storer, which is what brought them to the Philadelphia area.
Mike loved to read, but not fiction. He wanted to know the FACTS. Before the internet, he read the World Book Encyclopedias cover to cover. One time when asked what he was reading, he answered “The letter D.” The only thing on his Christmas list was the new World Almanac, which his mother-in-law Anne gave him for 35 years. It wasn’t uncommon, especially in the UK, for tour guides to say they learned SO MUCH NEW about their own areas of expertise. There was always something new to learn and Mike loved to teach what he had learned.
Mike had INTEGRITY and he got that from his mother. One time as a boy he was riding with his mother Irma on a country road in eastern Kentucky when she realized that a clerk at the general store had given her too much money back for her purchase and she drove for miles to return it. Mike understood complicated financial transactions and the reason he chose to work for Comcast was because of the INTEGRITY of founder Ralph Roberts.
Mike loved all the kids, especially Craig, Christianne and James and grandson Lincoln, who he only knew for seven weeks. He took great joy in organizing prizes for the annual Thanksgiving family reunion in Myrtle Beach for the Tallent talent show, the Rook tournaments, the sandcastle contests and different divisions for putt putt.
Mike was a Christian. Not a pass-out-pamphlet person but a make-my-mother-proud, don’t-let-the-left-hand-know-what-the-right-hand-is-doing Christian. Mike cared. HE DID THE RIGHT THING even when nobody was looking. He did something because he wanted to do it, not because he wanted any credit. He always said you should give because you want to give, not because you expect to get anything in return. He considered his longtime caddie one of his closest friends and he lived his life above reproach.
Mike was loyal. He loved his family and his friends and would LITERALLY give you the shirt off his back. In Maytown, when his younger cousin Judy was being bullied, he gave her his letter jacket to make her feel special. He worked himself to a frenzy when he thought there was an injustice. When there was a move to cut down many beautiful trees on the golf course in Miami, he put on a full court press to try to stop it. He HATED irresponsible spending although he was BEYOND generous personally. Mike loved history, music, art and architecture and would be moved to tears by the beauty of a Bernini sculpture, his beloved obsolete currency and the love of family pets. Mike had a positive impact on many lives. He was SUPERLATIVE and he left us WAY TOO SOON.
The family will hold a private funeral service at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church and burial at Washington Memorial Chapel Churchyard.
You are invited to join the service via Zoom on Fri. Oct. 2nd., at 11AM. To join via video: Click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86991189951?pwd=MVk1WEFiQlFra1F6bXc4VmhZS1BLUT09 Meeting ID: 869 9118 9951 Passcode: 10022020 To join via phone: Dial: 301-715-8592 Meeting ID: 869 9118 9951 Passcode: 10022020
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to either St. Jude Children's Hospital or Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.
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