Remembering Robert S. Tellalianby Senator Richard Blumenthal
Posted on 2013-02-11
BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to Robert
Tellalian--an attorney, community advocate, and beloved family member
and friend, who brought joy to many in Connecticut. He was a true
community leader in a very timeless, enduring way--wisely guiding civic
organizations, unstintingly contributing time and energy, and
enthusiastically giving of his great spirit and good humor.
After helping the Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut to incorporate in 1951, Mr. Tellalian served on its board for many years. He also connected with Goodwill's clients and staff personally on the frontlines in quite another way. Donning a red suit and beard for the annual Goodwill Christmas party, he shared his good energy and holiday spirit with those who needed it the most--the poor and suffering and the Bridgeport employees who had seen it all. He was given Goodwill's Leadership Award in 2011. And, as if he had planned it, he passed away this past year on Christmas Day at age 91.
He earned a Soldier's Medal for Valor in World War II, fighting at the Battle of the Bulge in the Army's 10th Armored Division, but instead, chose to be remembered through seemingly minor but extremely meaningful gestures of kindness and personal connection.
Mr. Tellalian was born in New Haven and raised in Bridgeport. After attending Yale University and the University of Connecticut School of Law, he along with his brother, Judge Aram H. Tellalian, Jr., founded the firm, Tellalian & Tellalian. The Tellalian's firm was a fixture in Bridgeport, and Robert practiced family and estate law for his entire career. The firm later moved to Trumbull, where Mr. Tellalian continued his involvement. This fact and many others demonstrate his uncommon dedication to tradition, intense loyalty for his community and the practice of law, and strong, authentic relationship with his brother and countless loved ones.
Throughout his life, he was intensely involved in a number of charities and local organizations throughout Connecticut, especially in Bridgeport and Easton. In addition to the Goodwill of Western and Northern Connecticut, he was an active member of the Yale Club of Eastern Fairfield County, the Bridgeport Area Foundation, and the United Way. He also served as the secretary of the Easton Senior Center Board of Directors and the president of the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport.
Aside from his tremendous contributions to charity and community, Mr. Tellalian would most like to be remembered, I believe, for his love of music. He had great pride for the Greater Bridgeport Symphony and the joy it added to Connecticut. He was a man who, in his role of chairman of the board, would greet patrons in the lobby of the concert hall for decades. One time, when interviewed by the Connecticut Post, he commented that the opportunity to guest-conduct the Symphony was ``the biggest thrill of [his] life.'' Additionally, he was an avid acapella singer, and treasured the memories he made with his barbershop quartet--the Eastonaires--with whom he performed throughout the State and country, even on the White House lawn during a Fourth of July picnic hosted by President and Nancy Reagan. And, for more than 50 years, he sang in the church choir--most recently for the United Congregational Church in Bridgeport--where he and his wife, Jean, who died this past November, were longtime congregants and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.
Last month, the United Congregational Church hosted a musical memorial service for Mr. Tellalian. Almost 100 singers and instrumentalists gathered from around the region to volunteer their time in tribute to a man they loved.
Robert Tellalian was generous of spirit and filled with compassion, dedicating much of his life to the happiness of others. He loved life, and lifted others up.
Today, I invite my colleagues to honor the life of a man who will be deeply missed, but whose spirit of kinship will live on in all he touched.