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THOMAS N. STANZIOLA SHELBURNE - On Sept. 9, 2011, Tommy Stanziola passed away at the age of 89. It was only a month ago he was actively playing his clarinet in his Dixieland jazz band and other jazz ensembles. Thomas Neil Stanziola was born in Hazleton, Pa., an Italian coal mining town. At a young age he learned music on the violin and practiced diligently at the age of seven. He quickly received notice and recognition while performing with his dad and brother, Ben. After losing his mom at the age of 13, he learned that music would provide him with peace of mind throughout his life. Around this time, he moved from the violin to the clarinet, a defining moment in his long musical career. Benny Goodman quickly became his musical benchmark and he pursued this style with passion and genius. He served in World War II and performed in the army band. He did not see combat in Japan because of his musical ability. In 1948 he graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He had the choice of working at General Electric in Burlington, Vt., or instructing math through a fellowship at Penn State. The General Electric offer came first by a day, so he accepted this offer and moved to Burlington where he met his wife, Pat. They raised two sons. Tommy's musical family grew as he played at almost every conceivable entertainment venue. While in the prime of his life, Tommy's clarinet and tenor saxophone were showcased in the Muskat Jazz Band, which brought contemporary jazz and the big band sound to life in downtown Burlington. When he was in his mid-70s, he received recognition on National Public Radio for his ability as a jazz musician. He is survived by his musical family which includes many musicians in the area and throughout the state of Vermont. His recent endeavors were spent with the Onion River Jazz Band, the Muskat Jazz and the Dixie Six. He recorded several CDs with the Onion River Jazz Band just in the last several years. The Stanziola family warmly thank the many musicians that performed with him over the years and the personal relationships he cherished. Tommy was preceded in death by his parents, John and Angelina Robino Stanziola; his brother, Bernard Stanziola; and his loving wife of 38 years, Patricia Blaise Stanziola. He is survived by his sons and their families, Jim Stanziola in Overland Park, Kan., his wife, Lori, and children, Joe, Ellen, and Grace; and Tom Stanziola of Belmont, Mass., his wife, Liz, and children, Carrie and Rachel; his sister, Mary Jane Herr of Cary, N.C., and her children, Sharon and John; and a dear and close friend of many years, Roberta Sprano. The Stanziola family want to extend personal thanks to the many friends and staff at Wake Robin in Shelburne and the medical staff at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington for the care and support they provided throughout his illness. Visitation services will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, at the Corbin & Palmer Shelburne Funeral Chapel, 209 Falls Rd., Shelburne. A Liturgy of Christian Burial will take place Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011, at 11 a.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 72 Church St., Shelburne, with burial at Lakeview Cemetery at 1:30 p.m.

Published in The Burlington Free Press on Sept. 12, 2011
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