Thomas N. Tanous, 92, of Swansea, husband of the late Jacqueline (Wood) Tanous, passed away in his sleep Tuesday, July 14, 2020.
Born at home in 1928 in the Flint section of Fall River to Najaim and Eugenie “Jenny” (Sabra) Tanous, he moved to the corner of Pine and Tremont in 1932. It was there that he met his lifelong friend, Jack Harrington, beginning a friendship that would endure for 82 years.
A member of the BMC Durfee High School class of 1946, he enlisted in the Army in April of that year. After basic training, he attended Army School of Music at Camp Lee. He was then stationed at Fort Clayton, Panama where he served in the 71st Army Ground Forces Band, Atlantic Sector. In addition to serving in the Army Band, he was the jazz soloist on the trumpet for the Company’s dance band, performing at the Officer’s Club and NCO Club. After discharge from the Army, he toured the United States, Canada, and Bermuda with The Vera-Tones and with his own band, The Tommy Tanous Band, often performing with his brother George on saxophone. He stopped touring in the early 60’s when his mother was in declining health. He then went into general business, playing in nightclubs and restaurants, as well as playing for hundreds of weddings. He had a large following as the house band at Christie’s in Newport, RI, as well as other establishments on the Newport waterfront. He was a member of the American Federation of Musician Union, local 216, for 70 years. He played his first professional gig at the age of 15, when most musicians were in the service, as it was only old men and those too young to serve available to perform.
In addition to his work as a musician, he was also employed at The Belmont Club, as the manager and later a bartender. It was here that he made many friendships, and spent hours joking with his lifelong friends Willie McDonald, Phil Jagoe, and Joe Hart, among others. A well-known story teller, friends would jokingly call out numbers to request a favorite story.
Of all his many interests, he most enjoyed watching his grandchildren participate in their various sporting and performing arts events.
He is survived by his children,Tracy Montilla and husband Fred of Parkland, FL, Jamelle Lyons and husband Eamon of Somerset, MA, Thomas K. Tanous and wife Beth of Barrington, RI, and step-son John Bigos of Baton Rouge, LA; seven grandchildren, Marina Montilla Diener and Alex Montilla; Éamon and Fiona Lyons; Samuel, Gabriel, and Lucas Tanous; a great-granddaughter Olivia Montilla Diener; a brother, George Tanous of Swansea; his former wife, Jeanne (Hayden) Tanous of Swansea and many nieces and nephews.
He was the grandfather of the late Connor Tanous, the brother of the late Fred Tanous, Rose Mizher, Jamelle Abdallah, Alice Musto and Mabel Kennedy.
A Funeral Mass will be held on July 30, 10 AM at St. Anthony of the Desert Church. Burial will be at Vinnicum Cemetery, Swansea.
Facial coverings required.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl, Memphis, TN 38105. Online condolences at AuclairFuneralHome.com.
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