U.S. Vice President Mike Pence offered his condolences to the Tomanelli family Monday following the death of Dr. Joseph Tomanelli last month in a plane crash near Meriden-Markham Airport.
Daniel Tomanelli, who was in the plane with his father at the time of the crash and suffered serious injuries, attends Northeastern University in Boston with Pence’s daughter Audrey Pence. Audrey Pence’s name appears with Daniel Tomanelli’s in an obituary published Sunday.
“The Pence family is keeping the Tomanelli family in their thoughts and prayers following the tragic airplane accident,” said Marc Lotter, press secretary for Pence. “We request the media respect the privacy of the Tomanelli family and their loved ones at this time.”
Services will be held later this week for Joseph Tomanelli, 56, a respected physician who treated thousands of patients in the Meriden-Wallingford area in the last three decades.
Friends are invited to call on the family on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home in Cheshire. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.
Authorities have said Daniel Tomanelli suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries. He was found a few yards from the single-engine Cirrus SR22 plane after it crashed on the road next to the municipal airport just before 6:30 p.m. on April 24. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital. A hospital spokesman has said the family requested that no information about his condition be released.
The National Transportation Safety Board said a preliminary report on the crash will be released this week. Todd Gunther, an NTSB investigator, previously said Daniel Tomanelli and his father were practicing take-offs and landings when the crash occurred. It was not clear who was flying at the time. Gunther said witnesses saw the plane’s first practice landing, when it touched down on the runway at a faster-than-normal speed, bounced twice and took off again. The plane circled around for another landing. During the second landing, the plane touched down at a slower speed, lifted off 10 to 15 feet, then dropped to the ground. The plane became airborne again before veering left and crashing through the airport’s perimeter fence and catching fire, Gunther said.
There has been an outpouring of support for the Tomanelli family since the crash. Joseph Tomanelli spent much of his 27-year medical career practicing internal medicine in the Meriden-Wallingford area. Most recently, he worked for the Hartford HealthCare Medical Group in Wallingford, “where he loved the community and the thousands of patients he had the privilege to care for,” his obituary states. The obituary lists Tomanelli’s town of residence as Hamden. Authorities had previously identified him as a Cheshire resident.
He was inspired to fly by his son Nick, and saw the hobby as a way to spend time together, according to Record-Journal archives.
“It was really Nick; he’s always wanted to do it,” Tomanelli told the Record-Journal in 2004 when he took training classes at a Meriden flight school. Nick was 12 years old at the time.
“We said, ‘If you keep up your grades in school, we’ll do it,’ ” he said. “It’s not something I’d do by myself, because I wouldn’t want to take that much time away from my family. But now, we can do it together.”
He fulfilled his lifelong dream and earned his pilot’s license in 2005, his obituary notes.
Joseph Tomanelli raised his sons “knowing that they were the most wonderful gifts he would leave to the world,” according to his obituary.
Besides being an accomplished doctor, he was a fitness enthusiast who ran the Boston and New York City Marathons.
“Joe will be remembered by all who loved him for his strength, determination and passion for life — his deep love of family, dedication to his medical practice, and his joy in fitness, sports and flying,” his obituary says.
He is survived by his two sons, Nick and Daniel; his wife, Evangeline Tomanelli; his mother, Barbara Tomanelli; a sister, Holly Taylor; and many other family members.
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