Thomas J. Vuono, of Westerly, RI, passed away in the comfort of his home with his beloved wife Stella at his side on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at the age of 96 after a brief period of declining health. They had recently celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary. Tom’s greatest joy was to have his family join him and Stella for dinner at their table in their home.
In addition to his wife, Tom leaves daughter D’Ann May and her husband David, daughter Jeryl Menard and her husband Roland, daughter-in-law Colleen Vuono, son Jeffrey Vuono and his wife April, brother Joseph and his wife Nancy, 7 grandchildren (Russell May and his wife Christina, Randall May and his wife Kerry, Brian Menard and his wife Annick, Julie Oakley and her husband Bryan, Douglas Menard and his wife Kate, Mark Vuono, and Andrea Vuono), and 11 great-grandchildren. Tom was predeceased by son Kevin Vuono, his parents, Cosimo Vuono and Nunziata (Marchese) Vuono Durante, and brother Benjamin Vuono and his wife Dorothy.
Tom was born in the village of Montagnola near the town of Acri, Italy. In 1923, he, his mother, and his two brothers came to the United States to join his father who had been working in New York City. After his father passed away, the family resettled to Bradford, RI. His friends and family affectionately knew him as “Duke,” a nickname given to him by his childhood buddies, as he told the story, simply because everyone in his gang needed a nickname.
Tom was drafted into the U.S. Army at the outbreak of World War II. By his skill and good fortune, he was selected for training in aircraft radio electronics and spent three years serving in Europe as an Army radio repairman. Upon his return from the war, he saw an opportunity in the emerging technology of television and enrolled in the Delehanty Institute’s radio and television program in Manhattan, NY.
He used his electronics skills to begin a new career at Montgomery Ward and eventually became Regional Television Service Supervisor. At the same time, many in Westerly and Bradford knew him in his part-time role of local television repairman. Next, Tom accepted a civil service offer from the U.S. Coast Guard to repair radios at lighthouses along the East Coast. From there, he transferred to the Electromagnetics Department of the Underwater Sound Lab in New London, CT. He retired from the Naval Underwater Systems Center in 1985 after a long career in radio and satellite submarine communications. In addition to working and raising a family, Tom also received his Senior High School Equivalency Diploma from the State of Rhode Island and the Associate of Science Degree in Engineering from Mitchell College in New London, CT.
Tom’s family would like to express many heartfelt thanks to the HopeHealth Hospice team for the wonderful kindness and compassion shown to him while he was under their care.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, calling hours are omitted. All services will be private at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a memorial donation to HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative Care, 1085 North Main Street, Providence, RI 02904, or to St. Pius X Church, 44 Elm St, Westerly, RI 02891.
The Rushlow-Iacoi Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with the arrangements. For online condolences, please visit rushlowiacoifuneralhome.com.
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