Arthur E. Van Tassell
Arthur Ernest “Ernie” Van Tassell passed away peacefully on July 7, 2019 surrounded by family at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack, NH. Prior to his death, he wrote the following:
“If you are reading this, it means I’m sneaking in the back door of Heaven because they won’t let me in the front. Only kidding, I was well behaved… most of the time.
I was born October 11th, 1943 on the second floor of a triple decker tenement in Dorchester, MA. I was the fifth child of the ever-patient Theresa (Daley) and the fiercely loyal Arthur Van Tassell. I attended St. Ambrose Grammar School and then went onto Holy Cross Cathedral High School in Boston’s South End. Thanks to the strict tortuous nuns, when joining the US Navy in 1962, my high test scores lead to my placement as an air traffic controller. After my service ended, I continued in air traffic control with the Federal Aviation Administration in Nashua, NH. I was the NH president of the Professional Air-Traffic Controller Organization (PATCO) which allowed me to travel the country. During this time, I also attended Rivier University and earned my BA in History and Political Science.
I left the FAA in 1981 due to the Reagan strike and began working in the submarine sandwich business, as many of my family members did. I helped run Christopher’s Subs and Pizza in Nashua and opened a second location in Hollis. To all of my “Zombies” I had the pleasure of working with, keep making me proud! I also enjoyed coaching the Hollis little league team “The Amazing Mets” for many years.
The passion of my life was raising six intelligent and hardworking sons, although my biggest fans, my grandchildren, call me “Papa Van”. I’m an avid New England sports fan and like to bet the over/under to keep it fun. I’ve always looked forward to trips to Vegas with my family and close friends. As a wise man once said, “You can’t take it with you.”
I’ve had a long battle with lung cancer and truly believe a positive attitude and many prayers have given me the gift of time, after being told my disease was terminal in 1998 and again in 2013. If I can leave you with one message it would be this – Screw the odds!”
Ernie, who will be remembered for his wise-cracking spirit, and as a pillar of strength will be dearly missed by his family. He was also treasured by the larger community in which he lived and worked, including almost four decades of co-workers and employees from Christohper’s, many who say he changed their lives and shaped the people they became. He was a longstanding member of the Elks Lodge in Nashua, and had a larger than life character.
Ernie was predeceased by siblings Theresa Croak, Eileen Riley and Bernard Van Tassell, son Lawrence Grillo and former wife Joan Blanchette. He is survived by his brother Robert Van Tassell of Braintree MA, sons Mark Van Tassell and girlfriend Stacey Weaver of Hudson, Scott Van Tassell of California, Chris Grillo and wife Harmony of California, Ryan Van Tassell of Hollis, and Ian Van Tassell of Nashua. He also leaves behind grandchildren Elizabeth Birch, Katrina Van Tassell, James Arthur Van Tassell, Luca Grillo, Zachary Martinage, Johnny Dust, Oliva Szadis and Cooper Szadis, great-grandson Colin Birch, former wife Dawn Van Tassell and many extended family members and friends.
Relatives and friends are invited to Ernie’s visitation on FRIDAY, July 12th from 5 until 8 PM at Anctil-Rochette & Sons Funeral Home, 21 Kinsley Street, Nashua. His Funeral Mass will be held at the Parish of The Resurrection Catholic Church, 449 Broad Street in Nashua on SATURDAY, July 13th at 11AM with burial to follow in St. Louis Cemetery, Nashua. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Jimmy Fund or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. To leave an online condolence, story, or message please visit www.ANCTIL-ROCHETTE.com