William “Billy” Frank Tammelleo

William “Billy” Frank Tammelleo

William “Billy” Frank Tammelleo

July 18, 1941~January 24, 2024

William “Billy” Frank Tammelleo died peacefully at home on January 24, 2024, surrounded by the loves of his life, his daughters Nicole and Sarah Tammelleo, and his other favorites, a cast of rescue animals, including Roy the cat and Henry the dog. He is survived by his big sis, Marie (Tammelleo) Beaudet, loving niece and nephew in-law Nadine (Beaudet) and Donald Masur, an amazing grand-nephew Owen Diego Masur, and a whole bunch of wonderful cousins, friends, and colleagues.

Born in 1941 to Egidio and Adelaide Tammelleo, Billy grew up in the heart of the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence, RI, with a strong Italian heritage and a lot of good food.

From a young age, Billy loved reading about history and politics. A graduate of Rhode Island College (1964) and Queens College of NY (1966), he began his career as Mr. T., teaching history at Pilgrim High School in Warwick, RI. Billy’s unwavering desire to fight for what he believed in (and some convincing from an organizer) led him to serve for over 20 years as the president of the Warwick Teachers Union. In 1991, then-Governor Bruce Sundlun appointed him to serve as the director of labor for the state of Rhode Island. He ended his career back where he started, supporting public education at the American Federation of Teachers. He often said, “If you can teach 8th grade, you can do anything—teaching is the hardest and most important job in the world!”

He lived his life the way he wanted to: not wearing a seatbelt for over 82 years, burning brush (and other random stuff) in the backyard, and eating whatever he wanted. He was known to smoke cigars on the treadmill and sleep while driving, was always up for adventure and an excuse to travel and could often be found organizing birthday parties for dogs. Billy never met a person in need he didn’t want to help, and you could always count on him to have your back when you made a mistake.

Billy’s idea of “la dolce vita” was starting projects at the house he built on the beautiful island of Jamestown. He spent his other free moments trying out new gelato recipes and caring for his seaside garden. But most of all he loved to tell anyone who would listen about his daughters, whom he simply adored.

He was a big fan of democracy, so in lieu of flowers, how about you make a donation to the Biden Victory Fund? https://joebiden.com/ If democracy isn’t your thing, a donation to the Potter League for Animals is also a wonderful idea. https://potterleague.org/

A seaside celebration of his life will be held in the Ocean State when the weather warms up—Billy T. never liked the cold.


Kate Reilly

January 26, 2024, 6:50 pm

This is such a wonderful tribute and well deserved. Uncle Bill will be missed. Much love, Kate, Ava, Ian and Sam…

Allan Rubin

January 26, 2024, 7:26 pm

I am so glad that Billy passed away at home with his family and his dog with him at the end. In knowing him and terrific human being, that he was, he enhanced my life. He will not be forgotten no will he have nothing but the highest the praise for his family that granted him his final wish to go peacefully at home

Marybeth Reilly-McGreen

January 26, 2024, 8:41 pm

This is an absolutely beautiful tribute to a lovely man. My condolences, Sarah and Nicole. Uncle Bill will be greatly missed. I am so grateful to have had the privilege to know him a little in recent years. Much love to you both.

Joan Devlin

January 27, 2024, 6:39 am

Such a wonderful man! Strong, smart and caring, he would do anything he could to help people. Witty and insightful, he could tell great stories! If you needed someone to speak truth to power Bill was your guy. Bill was a great trade unionist, history buff and friend.

Egidio Tammelleo

January 27, 2024, 7:41 am

Addolorati per la scomparsa del caro cugino Billy diamo a tutta la famiglia il nostro abbraccio con commozione e affetto.
Egidio Angela Serena

Marie Ameigh

January 27, 2024, 5:36 pm

Bill was a great friend and handsome man. When he came to FL we had some good laughs. It was a privileged to know him. Condolences to his daughters whom he loved very much and their pets he adorored. He will be much missed by people he touched. Gone too soon.

Gail and Walt Jeschke

January 27, 2024, 5:36 pm

Mr. Tammelleo was one of my favorite teachers at Pilgrim from 1969-1970! Little did I know that our lives would still be connected to this day in 2024! My husband was his daughter Sarah’s 3rd grade teacher and we remained friends all these years later! Bill attended the Pilgrim class of 1970 reunion last June and I’m so happy I got to spend time with him in person. He was a remarkable man who spoke as he believed. I’m so sorry for your loss Nicole and Sarah as being your Dad meant the world to him. I truly will miss him. 🫂

Emily Ornstein

January 27, 2024, 7:18 pm

Sweet man who made everyone feel at ease and able to be their authentic self. You certainly made an impressive mark on the world and gifted those of us in DC with your amazing daughter, Sarah. For all of that we thank you, Sarah’s Daddy!
Love and hugs,
Jo, Iz, Em and Jason

Michelle Ringuette

January 27, 2024, 7:21 pm

This is a wonderful tribute and what an incredible legacy he has. Wishing you are all surrounded by love and finding comfort through your memories.

Carolyn Jenkins

January 29, 2024, 2:08 pm

Bill was the best supervisor I’ve ever worked for. He was always doing things for other people in addition to being a great cook! God puts people in your life for a reason and I do believe he was put in my life. He has touched so many people with his kindness, thoughtfulness, patience and caring along with many more great characters! You will be dearly missed and thanks for being a great person to me and others! I will always remember you and love you

Cheryl Teare

January 29, 2024, 3:51 pm

Bill was a friend to anyone he met. As a colleague he was generous with advice and a guide to staff ( at one time) newer to the union!
He was both blessed and a blessing in so many ways. May his light forever be bright.
Prayers of heartfelt sympathy to the family.

Carolyn jenky

January 29, 2024, 6:54 pm

Bill was the best supervisor I’ve ever worked for. He was always doing things for other people in addition to being a great cook! God puts people in your life for a reason and I do believe he was put in my life. He has touched so many people with his kindness, thoughtfulness, patience and caring alonguu with many more great characters! You will be dearly missed and thanks for being a great person to me and others! I will always remember you.

Linda Fitzgerald

January 30, 2024, 7:55 am

Dear Sarah & Nicole,
I was saddened to receive the news of your father’s death. My thoughts immediately turned to you & the lovely relationship you had with your father. Walter & I were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet your Dad several years ago- we liked him immediately & quickly learned we had very similar interests: politics, education, and teachers’ union associations.
Your Dad & the relationship you had with him no doubt shaped who you are today. I hope you find comfort in his memory & the gifts he gave you. Please know you are in my thoughts as you mourn the loss of your Dad.
Linda Fitzgerald

Janine Hightower

January 30, 2024, 8:54 am

Sincerest condolences to you, Sarah, Nicole and family. Sarah, each time we have a moment to talk, we always spoke of your Dad and his ability to be an “animal whisperer”, especially to your doggie. You always smiled and your eyes sparkled when you spoke about him, so, I could feel your love for him through your words and body language. I’ve never gotten a chance to meet him, but from what I’ve read in this heart-warming tribute, you are a carbon copy of him, and he will continue to live through you.

May God be a fence around you and your family as you continue with your lives with Billy as a fond, loving memory.

Peace & many blessings! Love, Janine (J9!)

Marcia Reid

January 30, 2024, 10:58 am

Bill always greeted you with a warm smile followed by a witty comment. Always made you think and smile. :^)
My deepest condolences to you Sarah, your sister Nicole, and all who loved Bill. He was a gem of a man! So grateful our paths crossed at AFT. Rest well Bill!

Love, Marcia Reid

Burnie Bond

January 30, 2024, 5:54 pm


He was blessed, Billy Tammeleo.

Too soon.

Debbie Koetje Kelly

February 1, 2024, 6:46 am

Bill was a lovely man and we were fortunate to spend some wonderful time with him through the years. He chose his stories and lessons as carefully as he planned and prepared his meals. He served the meals and stories with grace and generosity. Our sympathies to his dear daughters. Your tribute described the man he was to everyone in his wide embrace.
Joe, Debbie, and Tom Kelly from St. Louis

Alisa Gaffney

February 1, 2024, 12:21 pm

I’m so sorry for the loss of your father. I’m sending you big hugs and love.
Alisa Gaffney

Darold Johnson

February 2, 2024, 9:09 am

I will always remember Bill as a warm and caring strong union leader. My sympathy to Sarah and the family. His memory will be a blessing to all who knew him.

Darold Johnson
Ohio Federation of Teachers staff

Harlem Gunness

February 2, 2024, 11:20 pm

You were so kind, accepting, and inviting to us into your home, Grampy Bill. We loved visiting you over the summer, listening to your stories about growing up Italian, and watching you make the best home-made ice-cream ever! Your love for our daughters radiated through your smile and your heart. Therefore, we are forever grateful for the memories you have given us through the years. Love, Harlem, John, Rosanna & Marguerite

Jo-Anne Keane

February 7, 2024, 11:04 am

Sarah and Nicole, We are very sorry for your loss. Your Dad was the sweetest! We will never forget his kindness during the hot summer months when he gave us the Jamestown house for a few weeks. Great memories of your Dad sitting on the deck with my Dad, the player piano, jumping off the dock, Charlie the dog that loved sitting in the car, my sisters taking his cars over the bridge with no license and breaking down on the bridge! When my Dad passed away (his good friend Eddy) he came through the wake line and asked if I was the one that stole his car? I pointed to my two other sisters. We had a good laugh! Thinking of you!!!

Jo-Anne Keane Hannon.

John gazerro

February 7, 2024, 3:16 pm

My sincere condolences to Billy’s family and to his sister Marie. Since our path in life moved in different directions, I have the memories of when we were young. Your cousin, John Gazerro.

Tom and Candy Nichols

February 7, 2024, 3:54 pm

Tammelleo Family;Sorry for Bill’s loss.Going to miss our lunch dates in
St. Pete.We had great conversations about the good old days.No politics!
Condolences to Sarah and Nicole.

George Landrie

February 7, 2024, 5:42 pm

So sad to hear of Billy’s passing. Great union leader in Warwick in which he left a legacy.
George Landrie, Warwick Vets MS.

Stefano Andolfo

February 8, 2024, 5:35 am

As a rookie teacher in 1977, everyone revered
our Union President, Billy T. . He stood like an animated idol
in the rotunda as he calmly told us to “buckle up”
for the next strike that was ominously looming on the horizon.
Upon conclusion, he matter-of factly asked if there were any questions.
A anxious, rookie teacher in the balcony timidly shouted down, “But Mr. T.,
what happens if we don’t go back to work? Couldn’t they throw us in jail?”
I can still remember that trademark, lopsided grin as he gazed upward. The
crowd murmured, questioning the audacity of such an impudent novice.
“Cimb on my back, kid. It’s goin’ to be a Hell-of-a ride.”
Thanks for the lift, Bill.

Jack callaci

February 8, 2024, 7:37 am

As a young union rep (1984) Billy was, and is, to this day an inspiration to me. I remember him saying “you can’t be beaten if you won’t be beaten”. Over all of these years, I remember Bill and what he said to get me through my toughest times. There are countless examples of what Bill not only said but what he did that made him be what every union should want to be.

And was there anyone more fun to be around? Warm, irreverent, insightful,charming. I can retell his stories about his dog Charlie and laugh almost as hard as when Bill attributed human traits to his beloved Charles.

Cynthia Lussier

February 10, 2024, 2:08 pm

When I became a Local union president I was honored to sit at the same table with people like Bill who had paved the way for health professionals to become part of the AFT. I listened and learned from the best and enjoyed the stories and lessons that he told to the “new kids”.
I loved hearing Bill speak at conventions about legislation or candidates that were asking for labor support. His thoughts and opinions were so respected by all.
As serious as he was I can remember him telling us stories that had us laughing until we cried. I feel fortunate to have known him.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Eileenu McDonald

February 11, 2024, 7:46 am

My sincere condolences to Bill’s family. My husband, Paul, was on the teacher’s union board and always had such great things to say about Bill. Rest in peace.
Eileen McDonald

Joann S Mallozzi

February 11, 2024, 8:34 am

My sincere condolences to Mr.T’s family on his recent passing. I have so many fond memories of sitting in his US History class at Pilgrim High School, and of when he chaperoned a school trip to Montreal and Quebec. Mr. T was by far one of my favorite teachers and one of the reasons I became a History/Social Studies teacher. As students, we always knew we could count on his unwavering support. May he Rest in Peace.

Alvin Johnson

February 11, 2024, 12:26 pm

A memorable and lively member of the RI College class of 1964.
Bill’s passing will be noted in the next publication of the Alumni News.


February 12, 2024, 9:46 am

We all have had one teacher in our lives that truely inspired us…mine was Bill Tammelleo.
Rest in peace Mr. Tammelleo.

Susan Mills

June 24, 2024, 2:07 pm

Western Civilization I and II, Pilgrim High School, and the year 1969. I moved to Warwick and entered Pilgrim High School in the ninth grade not knowing one person. The first person to make an impression on me was my history teacher, Mr. T. He was smart, funny and without effort, managed to make class lessons seem like ‘meetings of the minds. More discussions than lecture, he made everything become more relevant and interesting. He always required lots of reading and his discussion format exposed those that didn’t do the reading. Eventually we all did the reading, he was tenacious and very effective. I am forever grateful. My sincere condolences to his family.

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