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Obituaries

Accountant was known for harmony, humanitarianism

| Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011

As a teenager growing up in an Italian neighborhood on Larimer Avenue, Pally Palamone honed his singing skills in

East Liberty's Iroquois Bowling Alley and went on to sing as part of a barbershop quartet in concert tours overseas.

Thomas L. "Pally" Palamone, of Swisshelm Park, died on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011, in Brookdale Senior Living Community in Westmoreland. He was 95.

Mr. Palamone's proudest concert tour as a barbershopper occurred when his group, the Pittsburgh Four, joined a USO tour in the 1960s that visited military hospitals in the Pacific to entertain service personnel wounded during the fighting in Vietnam, said his daughter, Geraldine "Gerri" Gase of Murrysville.

Jonathan Clunies, president of the Allegheny A Cappella Alliance of the Barbershop Harmony Society, rates Mr. Palamone as the consummate musician and historian of the society.

"Tom was completely devoted to the organization and was a member of the Pittsburghers, who, in 1948, won the National Barbershop Quartet Championship," said Clunies of Franklin Park.

Mr. Palamone was one of three children in the family of railroader Michael Palamone and his wife, Maria Cappella Palamone, who emigrated from Italy.

As a young man growing up in a musical family, Mr. Palamone often heard his mother and sisters singing American and Italian songs.

In 1934, after graduating from Westinghouse High School, Mr. Palamone studied accounting at Duquesne University and spent his professional career as an accountant for the state auditor general's office.

In 1940, Thomas Palamone married Jennie Conte, a resident of the East End, whom he had known since their grade-school days.

"When Dad was dating Mom, he found excuses to go to her home, where her parents, who were both great cooks, always had a plate of their Italian specialties for him," said his daughter.

His daughter remembered her father as kind and gentle, whose humanitarian values were passed on to her and her brother.

"If he heard that there was a family that was having financial problems, there was money for groceries. And if it was someone who was hungry and broke, there was always money for a hot meal," she added.

Jennifer Bender of Glen Allen, Va., used an expression by Mother Teresa to describe her grandfather.

"He was the living expression of God's kindness and faith. My grandfather never judged anyone, but was always ready to help someone in need.

"And as a child, my grandfather would take me to church, when we came to visit my grandparents," Bender added.

In addition to his daughter, Gerri, and granddaughter, Jennifer, Mr. Palamone is survived by his son, Thomas J. Palamone Jr. of Beaver Falls; his other granddaughter, Gina F. Ladde of Midlothian, Va., and four great-grandchildren.

Mr. Palamone was preceded in death by a brother, Anthony, and a sister, Lena Presogna.

Friends received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday in Thomas L. Nied Funeral Home Inc., 7441 Washington St., Swissvale.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 9:30 a.m. Monday in St. Anselm Roman Catholic Church, Swissvale.

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