Thomas Henry Vitale

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  • "Tommy made me laugh constantly. He was a kind, gentle,..."
    - Susie Campbell
  • "Psalms 90:10 says that the days of our years are 70 years,..."
  • "How fortunate I was to have Tom Vitale as my neighbor. I..."
    - Alex Cosentino
  • "Tommie V. He was such a memorable man, he changed my life..."
    - Albert Sanchez
  • "This man made everyone around him enjoy their day with his..."
    - Paul Desjarlais
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Thomas Henry Vitale April 1, 1945 to August 9, 2018 Thomas "Tom" Henry Vitale passed away peacefully on Thursday morning, August 9, 2018, at his home in Los Osos, California, after a 5 year battle with MDS/AML cancer. He was surrounded by several close friends at the time of his passing. Tom was preceded in death by all of his immediate family: father, Henry Cesar Vitale; mother, Florence "Flo" Catherine Lynch-Vitale; older brother, Edward "Eddie" Henry Vitale; and his loving wife, Sharon Elizabeth Schulze-Vitale. Tom was the Director of Cardiovascular Services at French Hospital Medical Center for 22 years and Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center for 2 years. He retired in 2006 after 40 years in the medical profession. He was a member of Post 2814 VFW, Post 0066 American Legion and the San Luis Obispo Elks Lodge #322. He served proudly for the U.S. Army from December 1967 to Decemer 1968, in Vietnam as a combat medic. He was awarded the Purple Heart, two Bronze Stars and one Oak Leaf Cluster for his heroic service. Tom's life began fittingly with a wonderfully humorous story. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, which was also April Fool's Day. His mother Flo, nine months pregnant, father Henry and 3 year old brother Eddie, had just returned home from Easter Mass. Flo started to put together the family Easter basket at the kitchen sink when she suddenly felt a "POP." Being a nurse, she knew immediately what was happening; she was giving birth. Flo crawled up onto the kitchen table, laid down and called for her husband, Henry to come quickly and help. She told Henry to stay calm, go next door and get Dr. Lenihan. Dr. Lenihan came quickly, and by the grace of God, Thomas Henry Vitale came into this world on the kitchen table with a smile on his face. The doctor wrapped Tom in some kitchen towels and looked for a place to lay him down. The large unfinished Easter Basket was all he could find. As the story goes, all the noise and commotion coming from the kitchen woke up 3 year old brother Eddie. He curiously came downstairs in his pajamas and much to his surprise, found his mother, father and Dr. Lenihan around a very large Easter Basket. Eddie looked very excited at the size of the Easter Basket and what the Easter Bunny had left him. Tom's little foot looked like a wrinkled piece of white chocolate. Much to everyone's surprise, Eddie could not restrain himself and he took a big bite into Tom's foot simply to see how he tastes! Ever since that first day of his life, Tom claimed that he always kept his eyes open and was the last one in his family to take off his boots he could never relax. Tom always said, "When I die, keep the light on, the window open and my boots nearby, for I might just decide to pull out of it at any time!" Tom will forever be remembered and missed by all of those whose lives he touched, saved and dearly loved. The incredibly humorous stories and conversations of his life experiences will live on forever in our memories. A Memorial Mass is scheduled for 10:00 am, Saturday, September 29, 2018, at Saint Timothy's Catholic Church in Morro Bay, California. A celebration and lunch will follow from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm, at the San Luis Obispo Elks Lodge #322.
Published in San Luis Obispo County Tribune from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16, 2018
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