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.