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Thomas A. Collette passed away peacefully Saturday, February 3, 2024 surrounded by his loving family. He was married to his beautiful wife, Melissa (Sautin) for 40 years. Tom was born in Sanford, Maine to the late Leonard and Theresa (Arsenault) Collette.
Tom attended local Sanford schools and was a standout high school athlete in both basketball and baseball. Tom attended Springfield College ‘80 and received his BS in physical education while playing basketball. After graduation he played ball for one season, traveling throughout Chile. After returning home he accepted a coaching position at Union College in Schenectady, NY, as Intramural Director and JV/Assistant Varsity basketball coach. He met and married Melissa and they headed back to Springfield College, where Tom received his Master’s degree in Education. During that time Tom joined the basketball staff as a Graduate Assistant and he and Melissa were also Resident Directors in Massasoit Hall. Upon graduation they moved to Hamden, CT where Tom studied physical therapy at Quinnipiac College. A few years later, in 1992, Tom opened his practice, Collette Physical Therapy, in the Yalesville section of Wallingford, his adopted hometown, where he settled and raised his family.
Tom was a proud and active member of the Rotary Club of Wallingford. He was a Past President and administrator of the Wallingford Foundation, the giving arm of the club. He started the Rotary 8th Grade Speaking and Essay contest for the local middle schools, which is entering its 30th year. He was very proud of that program and was always impressed with the depth of thought, creativity and humor the young students presented each year. He received many accolades from the club including, Rotarian of the Year, Service Above Self Award, and a Paul Harris Fellow Award.
Tom’s lifelong love for the game of basketball led him to many volunteer positions. For 18 years he coached Holy Trinity School girls, where his children attended, leading the 5th-8th grade players to many undefeated and championship seasons, taking the teams all the way to the CYO New England championships for two of those years. He coached several AAU teams and eventually was lucky enough to assist at the varsity level at Mark T. Sheehan High School, while his youngest two daughters were playing.
In addition to his wife, Tom is survived by his children; Victoria (Andrew) Negrini, Emily (Matthew) Sullivan, Christian (Heather) Collette, Rachel Collette, Olivia Collette (Michael Langone) and his grandsons Aiden & Ethan Negrini and Charlie Sullivan. He is also survived by his brothers; Maurice Collette and Richard (Jeanne) Collette; his sisters; Rachel (Richard) Burbank and Connie (Thomas) Brine; and his sisters in law; Christina McPartlon and Jane Sautin as well as many cherished nieces & nephews and so many amazing friends.
Besides his parents he was predeceased by his brother; Charles Collette; in-laws Stephen and Marion Sautin; sisters in law; Cecilia Collette and Noella Collette and brothers in law; Stephen Sautin, David Sautin & J. Peter McPartlon. The family would like to thank Tom’s dedicated caregivers, Ben Ward, Jeffrey Ward, Jan Belle-McCrory, Emmanuel Baadu and Kunda Chishala. Thank you to Franciscan Homecare and Hospice for all their love and support during this time.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Thursday, February 8, 2024 at 10:00AM at the Church of the Resurrection, 115 Pond Hill Rd, Wallingford. Relatives and friends may attend a visitation on Wednesday evening from 3:00PM to 7:00PM at the B.C. Bailey Funeral Home, 273 S. Elm Street, Wallingford. Interment will be private. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Sisters Project or Franciscan Homecare and Hospice. To leave a message of remembrance, please visit www.BaileyCares.com.