Neal Michael Lamanna, of Lake Oswego, Ore., died peacefully on Friday, June 12, 2015, surrounded by friends and family, following a windsurfing incident on the Oregon coast. Details on the service and celebration gathering are pending — see http://www.anewtradition.com/obituaries/obituary/11562 for updates in the coming days. A later celebration will be held in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon/Washington with extended family and friends.
Neal was born in Warwick, R.I., to Angelo and Miriam Lamanna on Nov. 8, 1957. He graduated from Warren High School in 1975 and then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, summa cum laude, from Roger Williams University, with a minor in yacht design. His first mechanical engineering position was with Cape Dorey Yachts in Massachusetts. Then he moved to Sikorsky Helicopter in Stratford, Conn., where he met and easily became lifelong friends with Kai Baker. Later, they would perform best-man duties in each of their weddings.
Already an accomplished windsurfer from his days growing up near Narragansett Bay, his love of the wind and water resulted in the founding of a windsurfing school with friends Tim and Roseanne Clough in about 1987. Neal spent his free time racing and competing in freestyle events and sailing short boards, always ahead of the herd in the sport.
It was at this time that he met and then on Sept. 23, 1989, married Ann-Marie and became a devoted husband and stepfather to her children, Bryan and Deanna DiGiovanni.
A visit to the Pacific Northwest in 1990 set in motion a move to the Columbia River Gorge for Neal and Ann-Marie’s family, and soon thereafter they set down roots in White Salmon, Wash. Landing a position at Daimler Trucks, North America in Portland, Ore., the family and especially Neal were able to enjoy all the sports the area offers. On any given weekend, you’d find him windsurfing in the Gorge or on the Oregon coast, snow-skiing, white-water kayaking, biking, hiking, golfing, camping and spending time with his family and large circle of friends. He loved playing his guitar at gatherings and making up new ditties (including “Tiki Time”) to entertain his friends.
In recent years, as a part of a group of six couples, Neal and Ann-Marie found an extended family in Kai and Shana, Sue and Rick, Richie and Kelly, Johan and Michele and Mischel and Randy. As a group they shared fun activities such as skiing trips, windsurfing, beach trips to Oceanside and celebrations of all types.
Neal is survived by his wife, Ann-Marie; her children, Bryan and Deanna, and his beloved granddaughter Bella; parents, Angelo and Miriam Lamanna; sister and brother-in-law, Brenda and James Celletti; brother and his life-partner, Michael Lamanna and Linda Senechal, and Michael’s children Brianne and Amy; brother and sister-in-law, Richard and Brenda Jean Lamanna, and their children Corey, Nathan and Evan.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore., in honor of his Bella-boo for their amazing care. Neal, we love you and will miss you every day! Sail on!
Condolences are being received online.
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