Former U.S. Army veteran and lifeguard at Malibu Beach, 47, dies in his sleep

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Thomas Christian Yannelli Death – Obituary – Cause of death : Thomas Christian Yannelli, 47, was born to Frank and Roberta Yannelli on September 13, 1973, in Rockville Centre, NY. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on August 18, 2021.

Thomas Christian Yannelli also known as “Wombe” was a lifeguard at Malibu, lookout point and other Town of Hempstead beaches on summer breaks in high school and college. A career that was inspired by the summers he spent at Malibu Beach Club in Lido Beach. He came to Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands after graduating from South Side High School and Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where he worked as a divemaster. After returning to New York Tom worked for the New York Aquarium in Coney Island; the New York Department of Environmental Conservation; and the Village of Rockville Centre.

Thomas Christian Yannelli enlisted into the United States Army in 2005, inspired and driven by proud family tradition. He was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas; earned the rank of Sergeant with the 1st Infantry Division, Unit 2-16 of The Big Red One; and served in two combat missions in Iraq at the height of The Surge. He served his country alongside other brave soldiers, his “brothers for life,” with whom he forged unbreakable bonds of friendship. He built on his love for his fellow veterans in the company he founded with his cousin Greg Rinn: Line to Line provides high-quality medical supplies to veterans of the U.S. Armed Services.

Thomas Christian Yannelli was on lifeguard duty when he met Sheila Larkin and they got married on October 7, 2007. He loved spending time with their son Dylan, 13, and daughter Keira, 10. He devoted himself to raising his children, keeping them safe, and providing lessons of love, service, and resilience. He was proud of the man Dylan is becoming and of Keira’s kind nature and love of animals. He would always find time to gather the family at the beach, from Malibu to Montauk, and loved that his children were continuing the family tradition as junior lifeguards. Thomas would swim for hours on end, bodysurfing with his children, and socializing with his old and new friends on the beach. He loved taking Keira and Dylan to activities and sporting events and then reporting to his extended family.

The sound of his booming voice and infectious laugh was a sure signal to neighbors, friends, and family that their day had just dramatically improved. He made friends and connected people everywhere he went. He literally befriended an octopus, dreaming up puzzles for the aquarium animal to solve. He’s been described as a perfect storm, a tough guy who was also a compassionate sweetheart. He’d want nothing more than his love, compassion, and spirit to continue to live on through his family and friends.

He is survived by his father Frank, a longtime Rockville Centre Village Justice; his brothers Chris and Michael and their families; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews he loved passionately.

he is survived by his father Frank, a longtime Rockville Centre Village Justice; his brothers Chris and Michael and their families; and many cousins, nieces, and nephews he loved passionately.