Dr. Avanente (Van) Tamagnini was born Oct. 6, 1947, in Concesio, Italy, to Caterina and Mario Tamagnini, the youngest of five children. He died on Sunday, July 11, at age 73.
Van moved to the United States in 1971 to pursue his education and childhood dream of visiting America. He first landed in chilly Buffalo, where he received a B.A. from Canisius College. He later went on to receive his M.A. from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., before settling down in Northern New Jersey, where he earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Seaton Hall University; simultaneously pursuing a career in education and mental health which has endured for over 45 years.
Avanente cared deeply about early education and children with special needs. He worked as a school psychologist in the Sussex-Wantage School District for eight years and subsequently became the director of special services for the Stillwater School District from 1988 until retirement in 2012. Van also practiced privately as a clinical psychologist from 1983 until his passing. He was devoted to his patients and always made himself available during their times of need. He was always grateful for the support of his dedicated secretary and friend of 32 years, Janet Beach, and long-time partner and friend, Dr. Charlie Hinz.
Van met his wife Theresa, of 41 years, in 1977, while working in school together and married in 1979. They have two sons, Greg and Todd Tamagnini and two grandchildren (from Todd and his wife Bianca), Elisa and Juliana.
Avanente is also survived by his loving sisters, Anna and her husband, Pietro, and Floria and her husband, Albino; and his dear brother Rinaldo and wife, Gabriella, visiting them almost yearly and loved dearly. He will also dearly miss his six nieces Roberta, Mariella, Caterina, Elena, Cora, and Chiara.
He held a special place in his heart for his devoted doctor and friend Dr. Pasquale Yaccarino who he enjoyed cycling with and all things Italian.
Van was a member of the Vernon Rotary for 33 years serving as president three times and treasurer for many years where he forged many lifelong friendships and bonds.
Avanente enjoyed many outdoor activities with his family. He loved to bike, ski, hunt, hike, and kayak and enjoyed spending 40 years vacationing at his home in Vermont. Van also enjoyed the beach and biking at the Jersey shore where he loved to listen to the music of the many shore bands as well as long walks on the beach and searching for sea glass with his wife.
Avanente will always have Italian blood but loved America and every opportunity it afforded him. He was grateful to be welcomed here, for what he was able to accomplish and truly believed he had lived the American Dream.
Most of all, he was a wonderful son and brother, loving husband and father, and caring and compassionate friend.
Visitation will be on Thursday, July 15, from 4-8 p.m. at the Ferguson-Vernon Funeral Home, 241 Route 94, Vernon, N.J. A Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, July 16, at 11 a.m. at the Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in Vernon. Family and friends may gather at the funeral home beforehand at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. Burial in the Laurel Grove Cemetery in Totowa will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Rotary Club of Vernon.