Domenick Tarantino, a well-loved local accountant whose clients included the Elmont Memorial Library and Town of Hempstead Councilman Edward Ambrosino, died of a heart attack on Aug. 3. He was 62.
"He was loved and cherished by everyone - his friends, family and clients," his family said in a prepared statement. "It's been a difficult time, but we are thankful for the love and support from everyone."
Born and raised in Elmont, Tarantino graduated from Elmont Memorial High School in 1973, earned an accounting degree from St. John's University and became a certified public accountant.
During his days at St. John's, Tarantino loved to watch basketball, and would sit among friends, cheering on the Redmen. Long after he graduated, he continued to attend games. Phil McBride, a friend of Tarantino's since their college days, said they met at St. John's as accounting majors. "At St. John's games, we sat next to each other for 35 years, getting water thrown at us and hearing lots of bad words," he said. "It was the best time of our lives. Looking at a lot of photos the last few days, Dom has the biggest smile in every photo. That is always how I'll remember this wonderful, happy and generous man."
After his graduation, Tarantino opened his own accounting firm in North Valley Stream, specializing in individual, business and estate tax planning. He worked with his sister, Janice Penachio, in their office. Tarantino also served as a financial record keeper for the Elmont Memorial Library for 25 years, according to Sheila Seward, administrative assistant for the library. "He was a great accountant," she said. "He was top-notch at what he did. His passing was sad - a big loss. He was very active in the community, and his loss will be felt by everyone here. He was amazing. I will remember him for his strength, as he had also survived cancer, and will always remember his generosity."
Town Councilman Ed Ambrosino, who has known Tarantino for over 30 years, expressed his condolences to his family.
"Dom was a great man who loved his family," he said. "My best memory of him was the time we went to the Culinary Institute with him and his family. His father was the pastry chef at the Plaza Hotel."
Library board Trustee Pat Nicolosi said he would remember Tarantino for his business sense. "He did such a great job keeping the records for the library," Nicolosi recalled. "He was a sweet guy, quiet, soft-spoken. Every time I'd see him around town, he was always talking with someone. He was always surrounded by people. Everyone who knew him loved him."
In addition to his sister, Tarantino is survived by his partner, Frank Surita; his mother, Vincenza; a brother, Joseph; a sister, Diane DiTommaso; nieces Lisa, Tina, Jessica and Jenna; and nephews Joseph and Johnny.
Funeral services were held at the Massapequa Funeral Home in Massapequa Park on Aug. 6. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated on Aug. 8 at St. Raphael Church in East Meadow. Burial followed at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.