Thomas Vincent Vitale
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Thomas Vincent Vitale
  • February 17, 1945 - January 3, 2018
  • Virginia

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Thomas Vincent Vitale, 72, died at home on January 3, 2018 after a hard-fought, five-year battle against cancer. To his friends, he was a loyal and candid confidante full of positive energy. To his nieces and nephews, he was the wild and crazy uncle they adored. To his children, he was the fun-loving, generous father who loved to talk story and always treated their friends like family. To his wife of 39 years, he was the loving and supportive partner who could make dreams come true.

Thomas was the second oldest of four siblings born to Vincent and Marie (Neumon) Vitale in Bridgeport, Connecticut on February 17, 1945. While still a teen, he joined the Marines, served a tour of duty in Vietnam, and was awarded a Purple Heart. In 1973, he earned his B.A. degree from Central Connecticut State College.

Tom met his wife, Nancy when they were introduced by mutual friends in Wichita, Kansas, and they married in 1978. That same year, Tom joined the Navy. His first duty station was Corpus Christi, Texas, where he served as an EKG tech at the Naval Health Clinic. While in Texas, he earned his Master of Arts degree from Webster College.

Three years later, as a hospital corpsman, he was assigned to a Marine Battalion in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He enjoyed a special rapport with his Marines, since he had once been one of them. At his second duty station in Hawaii at Camp Smith, Tom filled an administrative role in support of the Pacific fleet. The couple treasured their time in the islands, and took every opportunity to enjoy the food, music, dance, and geography. Tom twice completed the Honolulu Marathon. Seven years in Hawaii also afforded Tom and Nancy the opportunity to indulge their passion for travel, and they explored the Hawaiian Islands, as well as Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, and Nepal, the later trips including daughter Meriden who was born in Hawaii in 1987.

In 1990, the family relocated to the Kansas City area, where Chief Vitale served as a medical recruiter of Navy doctors, dentists, and nurses. He was so successful in this role that he was named Officer Recruiter of the Year in 1992. Kansas was also the birthplace of son Vincent, who was born in 1991.

In 1993, the family made another military move, this time to Sicily, where Tom helped open the new hospital at Sigonella. As the primary person in charge of medical records, Tom was proud of his role in the JCAHO accreditation awarded to the hospital under his watch. The Vitales loved the Italian food, sites, and people of Sicily, and the close relationships that formed among the military families stationed there. Again, the family took advantage of travel opportunities and made trips to France, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Malta, Tunisia, and Egypt.

Tom's final military assignment was Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, where he helped the base clinic convert to a hospital. With two active children, sports, camping, school, and church absorbed the family's time. Tom was proud to be a founding member of the Father Vincent Capodanno Council of the Knights of Columbus at the Marine Corps Base chapel. In 1998, Tom retired from the U. S. Navy, then worked for Home Depot in Stafford for another ten years.

Tom loved travel, music, action movies, orchids, eggplant parmesan, laughter, and helping others. His children were a constant source of pride. He believed that, even if he had never accomplished anything else, he had contributed two beautiful and exceptional people to the world. Without Tom, there will be less joy, humor, and kindness in the lives of those he knew.

Tom is survived by his wife, Nancy, children Meriden Vitale, Eugene, OR and Vincent Vitale, Yulee, FL; sisters Susan Zimmer (David), Stratford, CT and Rosemary Gillespie, New Canaan, CT; brother Vincent Vitale (Margie), Stratford, CT; brother-in-law Bill Congdon Jr. (Candi), Wichita KS; sisters-in-law Sharon Congdon, Wichita KS, and Mary Ann Pose (Jeff), Stony Brook, NY; and beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.

The family will receive friends at Mullins & Thompson Funeral Home in Stafford on Saturday, January 13 from 5 - 7 PM. A memorial Mass will be said at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Triangle, VA, at 10:30 AM on Monday, January 15 following a 9 AM honors ceremony at Quantico National Cemetery. Donations may be made in Tom's name to S.E.R.V.E., Stafford's emergency relief organization, 15 Upton Ln, Stafford, VA 22554 or Virginia Knights of Columbus Charities, 6427 Battle Rock Drive, Clifton VA 20124.