Paul A. Berchielli Memorial Fund
“On a day like today, my brother would be on his bike heading to the beach,” Janice Berchielli Tunney reminisces about her late brother, Paul.
The Berchielli family moved from Long Island to Rhode Island when Paul was 14. “He fell in love with the ocean,” Janice recalls. “He was always interested in the weather, the surf, and the ocean. He had a weather station in the house and weather gauges outside.”
Paul later pursued his love of the ocean through a job as a lifeguard at Misquamicut Beach. A member of the swim team at Westerly High School, he graduated in 1975.
Continuing his studies at Johns Hopkins University, Paul majored in earth and planetary sciences and the history of science. He wrote an article, published in the Johns Hopkins University Undergraduate Science Bulletin in spring 1978, on beach protection measures. He later attended New York University’s graduate science and environmental reporting program.
Paul worked briefly at Pratt & Whitney in Connecticut and later at the New York City public relations firm Burson-Marsteller before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a free-lance writing career. He authored articles published in scientific, industrial, and trade publications.
A desire to learn Italian and more about his family history inspired Paul to travel to Italy. Making Rome his second home for seven or eight years, he became fluent in the language, and pursued his interest in Roman and European history. Janice shares that they both acquired dual citizenship through their family lineage.
“He had the most gorgeous voice, a wonderful sense of humor, was whip-smart, and was a real history buff. He knew everything there was to know about the Titanic,” Janice says of her brother who died in Los Angeles in 2005 at age 47.
Through this fund that Janice created, Paul’s name will forever be connected to his love of the ocean, as it will be used “to support Rhode Island’s natural environment, with a preference for coastal preservation.”
“Rhode Island Foundation has the ability to manage the funds and to make good, targeted grants. I think this is a really good fit,” Janice acknowledges.