July 22, 2021SANBORNTON – In the evening hours of Tuesday, May 4, 75-year-old Tom Salatiello of Sanbornton passed away peacefully at his home after a hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer and other medical issues, leaving people from many communities saddened by the loss.
Salatiello was well known in many ways. After graduation from St. Francis College in Maine (now the University of New England) and earning his Master's degree at West Virginia University, he worked most of his professional career as a social worker for the State of New Hampshire, retiring after 49 years this past February.
After college, he and his wife Linda (Carlson) Salatiello lived in Gilmanton and Center Harbor before making their forever home in Sanbornton where they raised their two children, Erika and Christopher.
All who knew Tom knew he led by example, working for causes he believed in and helping others whenever he could. Through that dedication to friends, neighbors and community, he soon turned toward to politics at both the state and local level.
Serving five terms as a State Representative for Belknap County District 4, encompassing the towns of Sanbornton and Tilton, he didn't stop there. Over the years he joined many town committees and boards, including terms as a member of Winnisquam Regional School Board, a Sanbornton Library Trustee, a member of the town's Historic District Commission, Sewer Commission and the Solid Waste Disposal Committee. He also served on the Building Needs and Town Park Committee, along with the Sanbornton Budget Committee. Perhaps his most well known commitment to the town though was ten (nonconsecutive) years of service on the Board of Selectmen, the last term ending just this past March.
"Tom went into politics because he wanted to help others by building a network of people," said Linda. "If he couldn't help, he'd refer them to whoever he thought could. And if that didn't work out, he'd keep looking to find a solution. Many times he worked late into the night to help someone, even though he'd worked all day at his job, too."
On the town level, Sanbornton's chair of the Board of Selectmen John Olmstead was full of praise for Salatiello, saying he was not only a great person, but the "missing link" on the board when it came to ideas and solutions that was much appreciated his fellow selectmen.
"He was our stabilizing link. We referred to him most favorably as our 'Moral Minority,'" Olmstead said.
Even as his health declined, Tom did not neglect his sworn duties to Sanbornton. When he couldn't make it to a meeting, he would take part in a conference call and carefully consider all matters presented that week.
"I can't praise him enough. He will be greatly missed," Olmstead said.
In 2021, Salatiello declined to run for reelection. Town Meeting is the time when newly elected candidates are sworn in to office, but this year that meeting was pushed back to May due to the pandemic. Tom relinquished his seat right after the March elections to his successor, Bob Lambert however, allowing Lambert the opportunity to take over when he felt the transition was needed.
Tom also was known for his contributions to charitable and community causes, among which was the sponsorship of many summer concerts on Island Park in Tilton each year.
Prior to his passing, Tom was able to feel the love of those who knew him throughout his life and career. On April 24, six of his former classmates from St. Francis College paid him a visit after hearing about his failing health. Coming from New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, the group drove to Sanbornton to present their respected and beloved alumnus with a flag for the State of Maine, which had been flown over the State House on April 21st in his honor. Included in their presentation was a certificate of his recognition from Maine State Senator Susan Deschambault and Secretary of State Darek M. Grant.
On the day he passed, Tom's wife Linda said that, thanks to the efforts of fellow Sanbornton resident Faith Tobin and N.H. District 1 Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, a New Hampshire state flag was also flown over the N.H. State House on May 4 in honor of his service to the state. It, too, was presented to her with a letter of recognition signed by both Kenney and Gov. Chris Sununu. Linda said Tom was aware of that honor and, after the flag was retired at sunset, he passed away quietly that night.
Besides his loving wife and caretaker Linda, Tom left behind his daughter Erika of Vancouver, Canada and Los Angeles, along with son Christopher and his wife Kristina of Seoul, Korea. He is also dearly missed by a nephew and two nieces; especially his niece Patricia Berard, with whom he was especially close, as well as her sons Tyler Sloan and Baylen Harper.
Memorial contributions in his name may be made to either Franklin VNA and Hospice at 75 Chestnut St. in Franklin, N.H. 03235, or to Sanbornton Public Library, P.O. Box 88, Sanbornton, N.H. 03269.