VCUarts professor, 49, dies of brain cancer

Kerry Talbott is credited with bringing comic arts, science fiction and fantasy art to the classroom. Photo courtesy of VCU Arts.

Cyrus Nuval
Staff Writer

A communication arts professor credited with bringing comic art to the classroom died last week of brain cancer.

Kerry Talbott, 49, died Friday, Oct. 4 in his home at North Chesterfield. Talbott had been suffering from brain cancer since 2010, but continued teaching at VCU through the duration of his disease, said Patrick Godfrey, owner of Velocity Comics and a close friend of Talbott’s.

“I would give rides to him from his home to work and back,” Godfrey said. “We lived close enough and the chemo and the other treatments made it difficult for him to drive his own car.”

After receiving treatment, Talbott’s cancer went into remission, but in August doctors discovered the cancer had returned. Talbott continued teaching until the first week of September, then took medical leave.

He is survived by his wife, Christy, his son, Noah, his daughter, Lilah, and his parents, Sara and James.

Talbott was born in Staunton and graduated from VCU in 1988. He taught at the communication arts department of VCU’s School of the Arts for 15 years, and strove to make comic arts, science fiction and fantasy art a part of the department’s curriculum.

Without Talbott’s hard work, numerous students may not have chosen to pursue a major in communication arts, said Robert Meganck, director of VCU’s communication art department.

“He was a dedicated teacher,” Meganck said. “The students gravitated to him … He was the driving force for comic arts and science fiction and fantasy art in the department. He inspired many of his co-workers and almost all of his students.”

Students, too, remember Talbott’s dedication in the classroom.

“We were all nerds in that class, and Kerry understood that and loved that about us,” said Hannah Lazarte, one of Talbott’s former students and a senior communication arts student. “Comm arts can sometimes get a little too technical, but Kerry understood how to make it fun.”

A celebration of life will be held at Gallery5 on Oct. 20, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Family, friends, former students and former co-workers are invited to attend.

“He wouldn’t have wanted us to mourn his death … so we are going to celebrate his life and his importance to our lives and the comm arts department,” Godfrey said.

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