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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Gallery of Memoriams >> In Memoriam - CDR Tom Vellanti, USCGR Retired > In Memoriam - Commander Tom Vellanti, USCG (Ret.) - obituary
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In Memoriam - Commander Tom Vellanti, USCG (Ret.) - obituary
2/13/32 - 12/27/08

In Memoriam - Commander Tom Vellanti, USCG (Ret.) - obituary

Vellanti, Commander Thomas Anthony

VELLANTI, COMMANDER THOMAS ANTHONY He was born the son of a World War I fighter pilot and housewife in Brooklyn, New York on February 13th, 1932 and passed away on December 27th, 2008. He attended high school in Bay Shore, NY and finished at Miami Edison Senior High. He graduated at the top of his class from Civil Engineering School with a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Miami.

He then went on to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy Officers Candidate School in New London, CT. He held these commands during his long and distinguished career with thirty four years of service in the U. S. Coast Guard Active Reserve. He retired at the rank of Full Commander.

He also continued to work as a builder and real estate developer for fifty plus years in Homestead and the Florida Keys. He and his father, Frank Vellanti, Sr., brother Frank Vellanti II, and brother-in-law George Busher, Sr. together developed many homes is Hialeah, and The Sun Tan Village Shopping Center. They later relocated their operations to develop and name what is known as the community of Leisure City for a retirement community in South Dade County. Their company, Sun Deck Homes, developed the concept of a solidly poured concrete home which was virtually hurricane proof as a testament in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. He also developed Royal Colonial Mobile Home Park, Leisure City Stores, Coconut Palm Trading Post, Treasure Village in the Florida Keys, and Twelve Oaks RV Park in Sanford FL.

He was married to his wife and soul mate, Velia, for over fifty two years and they resided in the Florida Keys. It was a true love story for many years. The city boy meets the daughter of a Sheep Rancher from Roswell, NM and the rest is history. He was the Commander but she was always the Commander-In-Chief, and that was just the way it was. In fact, he used to call her the Chief. He was her whole life and she was his. He was a true family man in every sense of the word. He must have done something right when all of his four children thought of him as their best friend and hero.

Wow, what a man! His most important priority during his life was his being and speaking with his wife and family, and knowing that they were alright. He had a lot of personality. What a character - a unique combination of charisma, charm, and just good ole common sense. He was always the life of the party and he loved to be around people to laugh, joke, and eat good Italian food. He had a passion for the sea and all the peace and enjoyment it gave him. He was an avid fisherman throughout his life. From his early years growing up in Sheepshead Bay, NY to his later years on the Keys.

He had many more accomplishments during his lifetime, and helped many people along the way. Through his actions, he loved and received love. He respected and received respect. We will all surely miss this wonderful man, loving husband, devoted father and grandfather, and even greater human being that made this world a better place for those who knew this wonderful man.

He is survived by his daughter Maria Berry; his sons Thomas II, Joey, and Chris; son-in-law Dennis Berry; daughters-in-law Tina, Ziggy, and Helen; grandchildren Andrew Anthony, Regina, Marina, Matthew, Nicholas, Rocky, and Tommy III; sister Nina Busher, sister-in-law Lucy Vellanti; cousins Joe and Marie Valicenti; and all of his loving nieces and nephews; we would like to mention a very special thank you to his long time bookkeeper and confidant Ms. Jane O'Brien, his foreman and right arm for many years Mr. Rudy Bawel, and his manager for twenty years Mr. Sid Bennet, and Dr. Raymond Crissey. Lastly, his great friends Ms. Jeanine Ianni and Ms. Elsie DuBois. And the list goes on with all of his wonderful friends. Wow! What a man! We are gonna miss you ole boy!

Love Ya Pop! Your Best Friends, Maria, Tom Jr., Joey and Chris

Visitation on Friday, January 2nd, 2009 from 5:00 - 9:00pm at Branam Funeral Home in Homestead. A mass will be held on Saturday, January 3rd, 2009 from 11:00am til 12 noon at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead. Internment to follow at Palms Woodlawn Cemetery in Naranja. Please send donations in lieu of flowers to Sacred Heart Church in Homestead, FL or San Pedro Church in Islamorada, FL Thank you so much to Father Jim McCreanor for being such a wonderful priest and friend to our family. We appreciate you.

To visit this Guest Book Online, go to

Published in The Miami Herald on 12/31/2008


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