Neil J. Taliento, a longtime co-owner of Tally Brothers Food Brokerage in Portland, who generously gave to family and the community, died Tuesday after a period of declining health. He was 94.

Mr. Taliento and his brothers, Michael and Albert Taliento, started the business around 1956 in the Old Port. The company was a distributor for Prince pasta. His role was to sell its products to grocery store chains, schools and other retail outlets across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The brothers operated the business for 38 years.

Mr. Taliento was widely respected in Portland’s business community. He was known for his integrity, generosity and ability to connect with people.

“He was a man of his word,” said his daughter, Dawn Harlor of Camden. “He was a really good listener. People liked him. He was totally likable. He was a wonderful human being and it came through.”

Mr. Taliento rose from humble beginnings to create a beautiful life for himself and his family. He grew up in Portland, one of seven boys and five girls of Italian immigrants. He got his first job at 7 years old, selling newspapers on Congress Street. As a teenager, he sold ice cream on the waterfront. Harlor said the money he earned went to support his family.

Mr. Taliento was a 1938 graduate of Portland High School and a standout on the school’s football team.


He was the loving husband of Ramona Taliento for 65 years.

Harlor said her parents shared a great life together. She recalled the years her father took care of her mother as she was battling dementia. She died in 2010.

“He took care of her with unbelievable devotion,” Harlor said. “Boy, he was so lovingly devoted to her. She had his undivided love and attention. He would look at her and say, ‘That’s my sweetie.’… He was a remarkable husband, really.”

Both of his children spoke of his devotion to family. His daughter remembered him as supportive, loyal and present.

“He always had our backs,” she said. “He was always there for us. I could always depend on my father, and my brother, I know, would say the same. He was loving and kind and there’s nothing he wouldn’t have done for us. There’s nothing we wouldn’t have done for him.”

For about 10 years, the Talientos lived with their daughter for three months and with their son, Neil C. Taliento, in Portland for three months.


On Wednesday, Mr. Taliento’s son reminisced about trips they took to Italy.

“We were very close,” he said. “It was wonderful for us … every night at the dinner table, my daughters had that quality time with them. That meant a lot to me.”

Mr. Taliento was active in the community.

He was a longtime member of the Portland Boys & Girls Clubs Alumni Association. He was a lifetime member of the Italian American Heritage Club and the Knights of Columbus.

He also was remembered as a life-long learner who wasn’t afraid to embrace new ideas.

“He was very wise,” Harlor said. “He never pushed, but he was always there with some advice if I asked him. We used to sit together every morning and have coffee when he was living here and talk about the world.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:[email protected]

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