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Trumbull woman who fed the homeless dies
| January 16, 2013 • by Amanda Cuda
Posted in Local News

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One can only imagine what motivated Ann Marie Tarinelli to venture from her home in Trumbull down to Bridgeport nearly every Sunday to feed the homeless under the John Street Bridge.



Ann Marie Tarinelli, right, of Trumbull, seen here in December of 2008, speaks with Jennie Sforza during her regular meal for the homeless and underprivileged under the Route 25 overpass on John Street in Bridgeport, Conn. Tarinelli, who prepared and served meals at the location for many years, passed away last Friday. She was 75. Photo: Brian A. Pounds


It was something the Scranton, Pa., native did for years, filling the stomachs and souls of the needy with food she cooked herself.

Throughout the year, she collected food, clothing and other items for the less fortunate. She had no qualms about publishing her home number and address in the newspaper, hoping that big-hearted people would stop by and leave items in the bins outside her home.

In her eyes, she was just filling a need.

Tarinelli died Friday at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, leaving some to wonder how that need will be filled in the future. She was 75.

"I don't know what's going to happen now," said her sister, Kathleen Wood, of Shelton. "She had so much responsibility."

Wood, who is in Florida, said her sister's death was the result of complications from breaking her hip late last year.

Although they were born in Pennsylvania, the two women considered themselves Bridgeport natives, after moving to the city when Tarinelli was 9 and Wood was 8. Their father, James Falduto, was the greenhouse manager at Beardsley Park for years. Wood said their family was well-known throughout the community.

Wood said her sister was always generous and willing to babysit her five children, even on short notice. However, she was surprised when Tarinelli grew so committed to Bridgeport's homeless in recent years. Wood also said she didn't know the reason for her sister's crusade.

"I don't know why she did it," Wood said. "All of a sudden, she was doing all this cooking and going down to the worst parts of Bridgeport."

Bill Hoey, vice president of mission and ethics at St. Vincent's, also marveled at Tarinelli's dedication.

He first met Tarinelli when he was working for Catholic Charities of Fairfield County. One of that organization's programs, Thomas Merton House, provided Tarinelli with assistance in her ministry. Hoey said he was always amazed by Tarinelli's dedication to her cause.

"I can't imagine her commitment to serve," he said. "There are people who won't even go to those areas of Bridgeport" where she served food.

Hoey said Tarinelli was an inspiration to nearly everyone she met, particularly those she fed and clothed on a weekly basis.

"I'm not sure what those folks are going to do," he said. "Who steps into that role? It's like finding another Mother Teresa."

A devout Catholic, Tarinelli was recently honored by Trumbull officials with her own day. She was also recognized by the Diocese of Bridgeport for her volunteerism.

In addition to Wood, Tarinelli is survived by her son, James Notarnicola of Milford, grandson Christopher James Notarnicola of Florida, former husband Harry Notarnicola of Milford, and five nieces and nephews.

Services for Tarinelli will take place Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Theresa Church, 5301 Main St., Trumbull. Friends may pay their respects at the church on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the services.

Memorial contributions may be made through the funeral director at Cyril F. Mullins Funeral Home, 399 White Plains Road, Trumbull. To leave a condolence, visit mullinsfh.com.

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); 203-330-6290; twitter.com/AmandaCuda; http://blog.ctnews.com/whatthehealth/