Imogene Talley

Published 2:23 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Imogene Wilson Talley Barrios departed this life on Feb. 2, 2021.

Imogene was 97 years old on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2021. She was born on that date in 1924, as Imogene Wilson, the fifth of seven children of Charles W. and Maggie Schroeder Wilson. She was born in Picayune, Miss., but the family moved to Bogalusa shortly after her birth. She grew up in their family home in Denhamtown.

Immediately after completing high school, she got a job at a local law firm. To receive a work permit, she had to inflate her age. At the law firm, she caught the eye of a young lawyer, Bascom D. Talley Jr. After a respectful courtship, including their first date to the Washington Parish Free Fair, they married in June of 1943. She was 19 years old. The following April, she gave birth to the first of her four children, Bascom III, whom they called “Dit.” Eighteen months later, her daughter Jean was born in October of 1945. Morris Wilson Talley (now deceased) was born in January of 1948, and James Edmund Talley was born in September of 1951. She leaves behind one remaining sister, Lois LaMerle Patten of Bogalusa. They remained the dearest of friends throughout her life.

Imogene raised her children, having left her job at the law firm. She always maintained her paperwork skills, insisting on balancing her checkbook each month until she was well into her 80s. Imogene remained active in Bogalusa civic affairs and the ESM United Methodist Church’s work in Bogalusa throughout her life. She lost her husband, Bascom, in July of 1971, just before their 28th wedding anniversary.

In 1981, Dr. Gerald Berenson, a native son and nationally known cardiologist, asked Imogene, his classmate and long-time family friend, to assist him with a community-wide research initiative. Imogene said yes, and became the Community Coordinator of the Bogalusa Heart Study Research Project. This research studied an entire stable population beginning at birth through high school. In the annals of cardiology research, that landmark study was to determine how early one could identify the five cardiovascular disease risk factors from the Framingham Heart Study program in a stable population. The answer turned out to be at quite a young age. Imogene led the community effort that included every child born in the city for that period. She led a small army of local volunteers, including nurses and social workers, who conducted the examinations and interviews. She coordinated with the research staff based at the Tulane-LSU Medical School in New Orleans for over 10 years.

During that assignment, she met and married Harry Barrios of Lockport. She spent the next ten years of her life in Lockport with Harry. After his death in November of 1990, she returned to Bogalusa, where she lived until she came to live at Christwood in Covington, shortly after Hurricane Katrina. During her time at Christwood, her son Morris served and the primary caregiver for the family. He visited her regularly and assisted her with basic errands. He even lived there for a two-year period during a time she was recovering from a broken leg.

Imogene knew significant losses in her life. In addition to losing her two husbands, she lost her son Morris in August of 2018. She lost a grandson, Bascom IV, in July of 2012 and a great-grandson, Drew Joseph Boswell, in March of 2014.

Imogene was an elegant, southern lady who always had a kind disposition. She was the consummate hostess, and she was an outstanding cook. Her family and dear friends cherish and still use her recipes. Her family has much to celebrate about this long, remarkable life of service. For more than 20 years she hosted the twice-annual Wilson Family picnics on the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends. All who could travel from far and wide to be present and all her family have fond memories of those days in the Cabana and by the pool. Grandma Maggie was always the winner of the all-day Scrabble tournament. Always!

Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home will be in charge of final arrangements. She will be buried next to her husband in Ponemah Cemetary on the Talley family plot. Plans for a memorial service are incomplete at this time. The family will announce those details once it is possible to make them.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in her name to the Christwood Employee Christmas Fund, 100 Christwood Blvd., Covington, LA 70433. Her family is grateful for the care the Christwood Employees provided to Imogene for the last 15 years of her life. Christwood’s No Tip policy means those hundreds of employees who provide the basic services depend on this fund. Alternatively you may donate to the Education Fund of the ESM United Methodist Church, 510 Ave. B, Bogalusa, LA 70427.