Pasquale Tranquillo was born in Garzano, Italy, a small village near Naples and Caserta, on September 28, 1930.
Before his birth, his father Giuseppe and several of the men in his town commuted all the way to Maine ten months out of the year to work on roads. When World War II broke out, Pasquale did not see his father for seven years.
When the war ended, Giuseppe sent for his family to join him in America. Pasquale had spent many afternoons sneaking off to the cinema to watch American movies, which he loved. Many times, he played hooky to do so! He was thrilled at the thought of living in America. It was his urgings that convinced his mother Felicia and younger sister Maria to make the move. They arrived at Ellis Island in 1947. He became an American citizen in 1952.
The family moved around Maine where his father worked, and Pasquale joined him in roadwork during the summers. One teacher, Mary Smith, took a liking to Pasquale and saw that he had talent as a visual artist. She was instrumental in getting him into the Portland School of Art, which is now MECA, where he earned a degree in Commercial and Fine Arts. He later received a master’s degree from UNY and a teaching certificate from UMO.
Pasquale served four years in the Navy during the Korean Conflict. He was a photographer in the Naval Air division. While hanging out the bottom of a plane he took photographs that would be used in making maps. He was fortunate enough to be stationed near his hometown in Italy and when there was a housing shortage, the Navy paid him to stay in his hometown! He was extremely proud of his time in the Navy and serving our country.
His good fortune followed him and he shared this good fortune with others. He taught art at Portland HS from 1960 until 1995. The students fondly called him Mr. T. Besides being a well-loved teacher he was an accomplished artist, exhibiting in the Ligoa (niece of Isadora) Duncan Galleries in New York and Paris in the spring and summer of 1963. His artistic talents and career are a reflection and testament of his love for life.
He always had a positive, joyful attitude and raised everyone’s spirits. One day after listening to Pasquale hold court, his mother looked at him, with an ever so slightly fed up look, and with a sweeping gesture declared to everyone in the room, “He’s a always a glad!”
He is survived by Mary Patterson, his loving wife of 36 years, his sister Maria Cyr, numerous family members and friends. He was predeceased by his parents Felicia and Giuseppe, and sister Clorinda.
Pasquale’s insatiable curiosity about our world led to endless reading and a constant exploration of new ideas and alternative possibilities. With this background, he developed into an intriguing conversationalist who left people feeling that their world had just been enlarged.
Pasquale passed June 6, 2019 after 10 years of having MDS, a bone marrow disease. There will be a Celebration of Life gathering Sunday June 30 from 2:00-4:40 at the Amvets Post 2, 148 North Rd in Yarmouth 04096. A cash bar will be available. Feel free to wear any colors in honoring this artist! Stories will be welcome and can be sent to this website or you can share them at the celebration. At 3:00 words will be spoken, followed by the Navy Honor Guard and taps. The next day, Monday, July 1, the burial will start at 9:00 AM, at the Chapel at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 163 Mount Vernon Rd, Augusta, 04330.
All who knew Pasquale adored him. This humble man had time for everyone, and people always left him with more joy in their lives. The breadth of which Pasquale’s life has touched so many has reached far and wide. He will be missed. “la Vita e bella: Life is beautiful!”