In memory of
Emily Tannone October 1, 1923 - August 18, 2017 Rancho Santa Fe Emily Messina Tannone, from Rancho Santa Fe, passed away peacefully on Aug. 18, 2017. She was born on Oct. 1, 1923, in San Jose, CA. Her father, Salvatore Messina, born in Sicily, came to the U.S. with his parents, Antonio and Giuseppina Messina, at eight years old. After serving in WWI, he married Wilhemina Nunes, Emily's mother, who tragically died a few months after she was born, so Emily was raised by her grandparents and her father's sisters. Her cousin, Louis Messer, whose father was in the U.S. Navy, also lived with their grandparents; he and Emily grew up as brother and sister. When Emily was nine years old, her father remarried, but his new wife rejected her, so she returned to her grandparents' home. She graduated from high school in San Jose in 1941 and studied at San Jose State University. In 1942 she joined the Women's Army Corps and served throughout WWII. After the war Emily worked as a window decorator for Hales Brothers Department Store in San Jose. She was a very successful decorator, but returned to San Jose State, where she received her teaching credential and a M.A. in English. She was the first member of the family to graduate from college. She accepted a teaching job with Fullerton College and moved to Southern California. She spent most of her teaching career at San Diego and Pt. Loma High Schools. She was an inspiring teacher, who was named Teacher of the Year. Students remembered her with visits and letters even decades later. In 1963 she married John Tannone, who later became the founding human resources director for Qualcomm. Emily and John loved to travel including a safari in Africa. John preceded Emily in death. She was a talented decorator, gardener, bird watcher, writer, and teacher. She was also a longtime supporter of the San Diego Zoo. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in her memory to the San Diego Zoo, P.O. Box 120551, San Diego, CA 92112, or online at sandiegozoo.org/memorial .
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