Thomas J. ‘Tommy’ Tana, retired wine salesman, sports manager and world traveler, dies – Baltimore Sun
Thomas J. “Tommy” Tana, a retired wine salesman who had also served as an athletic manager, died of pneumonia July 10 at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. The Perry Hall resident, who had previously lived in Highlandtown and Dundalk, was 76.
“Tommy was a connoisseur and one of the most well-known wine guys in the state,” said Charles S. Zannino, owner of Charles S. Zannino Funeral Service in Highlandtown and longtime friend. “He was a gentleman and had a dynamic personality as big as him. You can’t say anything bad about a guy like that who was just a great guy.
Thomas John Tana, the third of six children, was the son of John Tana, a steelworker with Bethlehem Steel Corp., and Lucy Tana, a housewife. He was born in Baltimore and raised in the 400 block of East Pratt Street in Highlandtown.
He attended the former Our Lady of Pompeii Parish School from kindergarten through ninth grade, then became a student at Patterson High School, where he excelled in sports. In 1963, he earned all-state honors as a punter for the school football team and enjoyed playing soccer, baseball, and soccer near Patterson Park.
After graduating in 1964, he began his college education at the University of Baltimore, where he played college football.
After leaving UB shortly after his 21st birthday in 1966, Mr Tana was drafted. He underwent basic training at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, then was deployed to Korea. He served with the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division until discharged in 1968.
Being an oenophile led Mr. Tana to a professional career in the sale of fine wines,
Mr. Tana returned to Baltimore, then moved to Rockville, where he began working as a wine distributor. During his 50-year career, he worked for Churchill Distributors, Reliable Churchill Distributors, Sutton Place Gourmet and Beltway Fine Wines, now Total Wines, until his retirement in 2018.
His territory included Washington, Maryland and Virginia, where he appealed to restaurants and liquor stores, family members said.
“With his jovial personality, Tom has formed many relationships not only with restaurant and liquor store owners, but also with many customers,” according to a biographical profile submitted by his family.
Mr Zannino’s uncle, Andrea L. Mastellone, and his wife, the former Margaret Rose Zannino, whom he married in 1956, owned Mastellone Deli & Wine Shop on Harford Road in northeast Baltimore.
Wine was of particular interest to Mr. Mastellone, who could speak with authority about his extensive inventory of Barolos, Barbarescos, Astis, Sangiovese and Dolcettos from Italy, making his company one of the premier wine destinations in the Baltimore area. .
“He used to call on my uncle, who educated and cared for him,” recalls Mr. Zannino. “He wanted to educate her.”
Mr. Tana had a second career as a referee for 30 years, first in youth sport and then in professional sport.
“Tom has officiated at all levels of competition, from Baltimore City and County Youth Associations to the University of Maryland and even the Ravens,” according to his biographical profile.
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In retirement, Mr. Tana, who was inducted into the Patterson High School Hall of Fame in 2010, became active in the school’s alumni association, for which he served as vice president and treasurer. He was also involved in his registration, financial dealings, newsletter and other activities, family members said.
Mr. Tana, who was a world traveler, made several trips to Italy and Europe with his family. He also enjoyed attending family birthdays, weddings and other gatherings.
“Tom and his wife always offered a helping hand whenever asked, even adopting dogs from the ASPCA and other adoption agencies and providing a warm bed whenever someone needed it. “, according to the biographical profile.
“Tommy was just a good neighborhood guy,” Mr. Zannino said.
His wife of 24 years, the former Dorothy Anne “Dee” Hajewski, former vice principal of Baltimore Public Schools, died in 2021.
He was a communicant of St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church in Kingsville, where a Christian burial mass was offered on July 15.
Mr. Tana is survived by his son, Thomas Alexander “Alex” Tana of Annandale, Virginia; one daughter-in-law, Laura A. “Laurie” Dorsey Mellinger of Cockeysville; one brother, Frederick “Freddie” Tana of Lewes, Delaware; three sisters, Clara Tana Weber of Dundalk, Lucille T. Philip of Bel Air, and Maryann Tana of Milford, Delaware; and a granddaughter. Previous marriages with Margaret Tana and Charlene Prochaska ended in divorce.