Thomas Alexander Contini passed away Nov. 14, 2011 at the age of 24. Thomas has brought joy to his family and friends. He was born Feb. 15, 1987 at Keller Army Hospital, West Point. He was in a motor vehicle accident in December 1987 which left him multiply disabled. He was a student at Abilities First School on North Road in Poughkeepsie for many years and most recently a participant in the Abilities First day program in LaGrange.

In Thomas’ short life, he traveled to every state except Hawaii. He visited relatives in Germany and Italy. This past summer he toured Venice, Bologna, Florence, Pisa, Rome and Naples. He rode in a gondola at sunset on the canals in Venice and slept in the shadow of the leaning tower in Pisa. Thomas loved loud irritating noises and would laugh heartily whenever he heard a chair scrape on the floor. He was the soul of patience. He would sit quietly in his wheelchair and listen as his mother rehearsed her music. Thomas brought out the good in people. Total strangers helped carry his wheelchair over the bridges in Venice and up the Spanish Steps in Rome. He always relied on and benefited from the kindness of strangers. Most recently, Thomas attended a 1941 World War II Swing Dance in his “Army uniform” where he enjoyed listening to his mother play Glenn Miller songs on her bari sax. Thomas attended board meetings with his father and concerts with his mother. Each year, he dressed in his uniform and participated in the Military Encampment at the FDR estate. He rode in his World War II Jeep with a specially designed seat in many parades. Through it all, he kept his “Mona Lisa” smile. Despite his perceived handicaps, he had an active life. Thomas was a communicant at St. Denis Church in Hopewell Junction.

Thomas is survived by his parents Alexander and Deborah Contini and his younger brother Robert at home, as well as his uncle Michael and aunt Vicki in Pasco, Washington; his uncle Richard and family in Salt Point, New York; his aunt Katherina in Esopus, New York; his grandparents Mits and Betty Morishita in Murray, Utah; as well as many cousins throughout the United States, Italy and Germany. He was predeceased by his paternal grandparents Victor and Josefine Contini. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Abilities First Programs (Particularly Gail’s classroom), 230 North Road, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 12601. Calling hours will be held on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the McHoul Funeral Home, Inc., 895 Route 82, Hopewell Junction. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Denis Church, 602 Beekman Road, Hopewell Junction. Interment will follow at St. Denis Cemetery. For driving directions, memorial donations, or online condolences, please visit
Information courtesy of

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Articles attributed to "staff" are written by the editor or a senior editor. This is typically because they are brief items based on a single source, such as a press release, or there are multiple contributors, such as a collection of photos.