On Thursday, June 24, 2021, Richard “Dick” “Tappy” Andrew Tamanini lost his last great health battle and passed away in Venice, FL at the age of 82, leaving behind his loving wife, daughter, stepdaughters, and grandchildren.
Dick started life in a Brooklyn enclave of northern Italian immigrants on July 5th, 1938 as the beloved child of Richard (Ricardo) and Mary (Maria) Tamanini. Despite being an only child, he considered his many cousins as brothers and sisters, especially once they all moved out to Walden, NY and created another family enclave, this time with farmland.
Never one to sit still in his younger years, he played all the sports, most notably making state championships in the Catholic Youth Organization basketball league, where they were soundly defeated by a team from the Bronx, but they did earn the experience of being beaten in Madison Square Garden, which he bragged about for the rest of his life. Not just a jock, he excelled in math and science, starred in school plays, and raced cars down rural roads. During his junior year he asked freshman Mary Beth Mulqueen out for a picnic, and found the perfect sparring partner for his quick mind, even if they didn’t quite realize it for many years. Off to Manhattan College he went after graduation, and there he started his enormous collection of lifelong friends in earnest, a proud Jasper forever. After a stint at Purdue University, he returned to the east coast to finish his studies, join the Air Force and later Reserves, and propose to Mary Beth.
Their wedding ceremony was almost thwarted by the bachelor party, however, when Dick got into a car accident in the West Village and woke up in the hospital with a broken leg. In a valiant show of the stubbornness that would define his entire life, Dick refused to get his leg set until after the wedding, and refused to use crutches to walk down the aisle, resulting in absolutely perfect pictures and a rather painful and dull honeymoon.
They poured the next few years mostly into Mary Beth’s PhD, moving as needed for her academic work, before settling down in NJ to pursue parenthood and build highly successful careers. Unfortunately, that was the one area where brains and work ethic could not help, and their desire for a child went unmet until they applied to adopt a baby in 1976. In July they got almost no notice to come pick up their new bundle of baby girl, Lisa Kathleen (today known as Kassandra), and Dick threw himself into parenting like few dads of the era, from teaching her to throw and hit balls and ski to exposing her to endless Broadway musicals, ballets, and operas and rushing her through as many museums as possible around North America and Europe.
In February 1992, while on a couple’s vacation in St. Martin, tragedy struck in the form of a drunk taxi driver, resulting in the death of Mary Beth and an extraordinary amount of injuries and an airlift home for Dick. To everyone’s amazement, especially his doctors’, he made a heroic comeback in mere months, and even managed to fall in love again, with the woman who would become his second wife and new intellectual sparring partner, Brooke. Immediately, he considered her daughters part of his family and they enabled him to become the doting grandfather he was meant to be.
Dick and Brooke moved South, spent years exploring the world together and finally got to retire to his dream of living in Florida, where they loved to host family and friends, cook wonderful food, take in the culture of Sarasota, and show off the local beaches. He was endlessly proud of Brooke’s ballroom dancing and would send videos to his kids of her in competitions and shows and brag about her achievements, just like he did with the activities of the kids and grandkids. They made a beautiful pair, turning heads everywhere they went. He even fell in love with his new retirement job as a deli man, slicing cold cuts the way they did back home in NY. The man always loved a good salami and loved sharing it even more.
Sadly, after beating his first round of cancer, he developed chronic cancer and was doing quite well right up until he wasn’t anymore, and did his best to hide any pain or strife from his loved ones. On his last trip to a hospital, he became unresponsive, and his wife, daughter, daughter’s longtime partner, and stepdaughters gathered to support him right up until the end. He passed away with his daughter and her longtime partner beside him, and found peace at last.
The family would like to thank Venice Regional Bayfront Health and Tidewell Hospice for all the care and support they have shown every member, not just the patient.
Dick is survived by his wife Brooke Tamanini, his daughter Lisa Tamanini, her partner John Wood, his stepdaughters and their husbands Branwyn and John Ridgway and India and Eric Coulson, and his stepgrandchildren Chloe, Colin, Kieran, and Jack.
A memorial service will be held in the northeast in the near future, announcement to come soon. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his name at Manhattan College.