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James J. Taricani

James J. Taricani Obituary
It is with a spirit of gratitude and abundance that we celebrate the life and passing of Jim Taricani --- husband, brother, brother-in-law, son, mentor and friend to all. Jim died contentedly at home on Friday, June 21, 2019 surrounded by angels of peace.
He leaves his wife of 36 years, Laureen White-Taricani, and her family including: brother-in-law Steven White; sister-in-law Patricia White-Baker and her husband Dr. John Baker, Jr.; and sister-in-law Maureen White.
Jim was born in 1949 in Newington, Connecticut to Donald and Alice Taricani. In addition to his mother, he leaves his brother Michael Taricani and sister-in-law Chris Taricani of Connecticut.
Jim spent his life devoted to the principals of journalism. He was an award-winning Investigative Reporter for more than three decades at WJAR-TV Channel 10. Throughout his career, he was honored to contribute to other forms of responsible news gathering as a writer for newspapers, magazines and radio. He was thorough, principled, fair, accurate, unbiased, accessible and unafraid.
He was humbled to receive a plethora of national, regional and local journalism honors including the Freedom of the Press Award from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; five television news Emmy Awards; the Edward R. Murrow Award; and the prestigious Yankee Quill Award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association --- the highest individual honor presented by the Academy of New England Journalists. His work personified excellence.
He was a national advocate for a federal shield law for professional journalists, and in 2007 testified before the United States Congress in favor of protecting journalists from having to reveal sources. During his lifetime, he hoped to witness the law's passage and was optimistic that it would soon be accomplished.
In recognition of his tenacious pursuit of truth on behalf of the public interest, he received the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, from the University of Rhode Island in May 2018 --- conferred by President David Dooley.
He served four years in the United States Air Force Reserve and received a Presidential Letter of Commendation in 1968 for helping secure the transfer of James Earl Ray, assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. after Ray was captured in England where Jim was stationed. He was Honorably Discharged from military duty in 1973 and designated top airman in his class.
Jim's strong heart was due to the miracle of receiving a life-saving heart transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on August 22, 1996. From that day forward, he lived with an overriding purpose: to honor and respect the new heart that beat in his chest and offer gratitude to the young man and his parents who provided organ donation. Everyday was a gift and a blessing. He shared hope and encouragement to other patients struggling with heart disease and boosted their spirits.
His good health – particularly after retiring in 2014 -- was due to the extraordinary and empathetic care of Dr. Hub Brennan --- his personal physician, friend and musical collaborator who never left his side. In fact, just eight weeks ago, Jim played rhythm guitar in a public performance with Dr. Brennan and The Rock'n Docs --- a special band of musically-gifted physicians dedicated to supporting health care for musicians.
In addition to Dr. Brennan, Jim was extremely grateful to the Honorable William Smith, Chief Judge, United States District Court, District of Rhode Island, and his wife Christine and their daughters, Katie and Allie, for their constant encouragement, longtime friendship and loving hearts. Together they shared lots of colorful stories, single malt scotch, toasted crostinis, potato chips, guitar playing, rock and roll music, interesting books and informed conversation over nearly three decades. With his wife, Laurie, Jim was most joyful spending time at home, cooking and relaxing with his kitties and feeling the summer breezes at their most treasured spot, the Dunes Club.
Jim was cheerful, unpretentious, courageous, grateful and tenacious. He had a fierce desire to live. He had quiet wisdom and a rock and roll soul.
Funeral services will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church, 180 Old North Road, in Kingston with burial immediately following at Quidnessett Memorial Cemetery in North Kingstown. Calling hours will be Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Barrett & Cotter Funeral Home, 1328 Warwick Ave, Warwick.
To honor his legacy, the Taricani Lecture Series on First Amendment Rights has been established at the University of Rhode Island. Journalistic integrity and ethics were deeply important to Jim. "Responsible journalists bring sunlight to the stories that otherwise may stay hidden in the shadows." In lieu of flowers, those wishing to inspire the next generation of ethical and responsible journalists may make a contribution to the University of Rhode Island Foundation, PO Box 1700, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881 or online at urifoundation.org.
Alternatively, contributions in his memory would be appropriate to any organization aligned with ending heart/kidney disease, promoting organ donation, or supporting caregivers and their special mission.
The family would like to thank the Heart Transplant Team at Massachusetts General Hospital; the physicians, nurses, CNAs and staff at Kent Hospital who cared for him with intensity at many points along the way, the compassionate professionals at the Dialysis Center of Wakefield where he received needed treatments during the last 14 months. South County Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital initially saved his life in 1986. The North Kingstown Fire and Rescue were always skillful and comforting.
Special gratitude to Jim's longtime friend and business partner Dyana Koelsch who worked with Nancy Forte of Fortetude in his final days and the days following to ensure that he was able to come home as well as the angels at Hope Hospice & Palliative Care and Marie and Susan from Cathleen Naughton Associates who kept him safe and comfortable.
"Let it be."
Published in The Providence Journal from June 25 to June 26, 2019
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