Neil J. Taliento

NeilPORTLAND -- Neil J. Taliento, 94, died peacefully at St. Joseph's Manor on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014.

Neil was born in Portland on Dec. 11, 1919, to Michelina and Luigi Taliento of Portland and Naples, Italy. One of seven boys and five girls, their close knit and devoted family grew up on Hampshire Street. As a child of seven years Neil began his career selling newspapers on Congress Street to bankers and businessmen. Later he sold ice-cream on the Portland waterfront to fishermen and dock workers. He turned all his earnings over to his mother, except for a few pennies he kept aside for a daily treat of mashed potatoes that he bought at a shop in Monument Square. In spite of his responsibilities, Neil always looked back on his childhood days in Portland with warmth and affection.

His positive outlook, work ethic, and commitment to family served him well throughout his life. He and two brothers founded Tally Brothers Food Brokerage, building a successful business with clients throughout New England. For Neil, work and family were intertwined. He remained in partnership with his two brothers for 38 years. while his beloved wife Mona worked as their office manager for over 25 years.

Neil's toughness, drive and tenacity were qualities he applied to every aspect of his life. Neil played football at Portland High School where he graduated in 1938. After high school, he continued playing football on travel teams across the state of Maine and even tried his hand as a feather weight boxer calling himself 'Ted Dominic.' Neil's love of athleticism was lifelong. Until the age of 90, he was an avid swimmer doing laps every day at the YMCA. He was also an avid Red Sox fan, and continued to follow local high school sports teams. He never missed one of his son's, granddaughter's or grandson's activities.

In the 1930s Neil met his wife, Ramona D. Rines, while playing volley ball on Willard Beach in South Portland where she grew up. Theirs was a story of lifelong commitment, devotion and love spanning 65 years. Amongst a large extended family they raised two children in Portland. They would say they had their best years after Neil retired, spending winters with friends and family in Florida. Their summers were divided between the family compound on Sebago Lake, Chebeague Island, Camden and Friendship with their children, Neil and Dawn, daughter-in law-Vickie, son-in-law John, and grandchildren, Emilia, David and Michelena.

Generosity, compassion, determination, integrity and hard work were the hallmarks of Neil's life. He deeply loved his wife, children, grandchildren, extended family and friends, and we all loved him back. In their last years together Neil tirelessly devoted himself to his wife Mona's care.

Always seeing the best in everyone and in every situation, it is hard to recall a person he didn't like. He loved making new friends, learning new things and keeping up with world affairs well into his 90s. Neil was a rare individual who enjoyed life to its fullest and appreciated every day.

Neil was a proud member of the Portland Boys Club Alumni Association. He and his brothers were honored as members of the year at the Portland Boys Club where they spent many hours as children in play that helped shape their character. Neil was a lifetime member of the Italian American Heritage Club, Knights of Columbus, participating for many years. He was also a lifelong member of St. Peter's Church.

Neil was predeceased by his wife, Ramona; his parents, Luigi and Michelina; his brothers, Dominic, Michael, John, Ralph, Frank, Albert, his sisters, Philomena Bean, Louisa Taliento; along with his brother-in-law Carol Rines; and son-in-law John T. Harlor. He is survived by his son, Neil C. Taliento and wife Vickie of Portland, his daughter, Dawn M. Harlor of Camden; and his grandchildren, David Harlor of Brooklyn, N.Y., Emilia Taliento of Boston, Mass., and Michelena Taliento of Portland. He is also survived by three sisters, Theresa Lombardo, Camilla Bellino and Margaret Bailey, all of Portland; a very large seven generation extended family; and many, many friends. He will be greatly missed by all.

Our family would like to thank St. Joe's Nursing home staff for their dedication and care they gave to Neil.

Visiting hours will be on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, from 4-8 p.m., at A.T. Hutchins Funeral and Cremation Services, 660 Brighton Ave., Portland. A time of reflection will be held at the funeral home at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, 2014, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at St. Peter's Catholic Church, 72 Federal St., Portland. Interment is at Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.

To offer words of condolence and share memories with the family, please go to
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in Neil's memory to:

St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen
307 Congress St.
Portland, Maine 04101
or Boys & Girls Clubs
of Greater Portland
277 Cumberland Ave.
Portland, Maine 04101