OXFORD – John J. Tagg, 88, of Gannett Street, died peacefully on Saturday, January 30, 2021, at the Rose Monahan Hospice Residence in Worcester after a short illness. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Ruth J. (Clunan) Tagg who died in 2016. He is survived by two children, Thomas M. Tagg and his wife Linda of Thompson, CT, and Sharon R. Talman and her husband Michael of Oxford; a sister, Norma Caron of Northbridge; four grandchildren, Brian Tagg and his wife Kate of Oxford, Taylor Tagg and her fiancé Andrew Laforce of Oxford, Matthew Talman of Worcester, and Troy Talman of Oxford; two great-granddaughters, Jackie and Julia; and many nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by a sister, Nancy Genelli of Boylston; and a brother, Joseph Tagg of Oxford. He was born in Fitchburg, son of the late Neno John and Carmeline (Delmolino) Tagliaferri, and moved to Oxford in 1960. He was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Korean War.
Mr. Tagg began his working career at a bowling alley in Fitchburg, starting as a pin boy and becoming manager. He also worked as a shoe shiner in Fitchburg, an automotive mechanic in Fitchburg, and drilled artesian wells in West Boylston. After his time in the Marine Corps, he purchased Tydol Gas Station in Fitchburg. In addition, he chased baseballs at Coolidge Park in Fitchburg for a local baseball team and delivered bottled gas in Fitchburg. Mr. Tagg owned and operated the Oxford Package Store from 1960-1974. In 1974, he started Tagg Realty after purchasing the corner block in 1972. Along with his brother, he invested into his properties and as a landlord, helped those in need with housing. In 1985, he became president and co-owner of NAPA Auto Parts in Ayer until selling the business in 2015.
Mr. Tagg was active in racing. Between 1952 and 1962, he raced 5 nights per week at various tracks. He raced at Mohawk Stadium in Lunenburg and Treasureland, where he won many races. He worked on #34 race car owned by Dave Farrar and Phil Bedard for many years before becoming owner of the car and racing with his family. In the early 70’s, he raced go-karts with his son Tom, and raced with his family from then until the present. In 1990, he was the crew chief that led a locally-owned modified race team to the Thompson Speedway Track Championship which was driven by his son Tom in 1990, and 25 years later he was crew chief for grandson Brian's race team as they won the Thompson Speedway Championship. He was also the crew chief of the race team for his grandson Brian, racing the Thompson Speedway Late Model Track Championship. He was an intricate part of the Troy Talman Motorsports Team, being involved with Troy since his start in racing in 2008.
Mr. Tagg enjoyed bowling, playing in the men’s softball league, coaching and playing ice hockey, and racing with his family. He had a green thumb for gardening, picked his own vegetables, and loved tinkering in his garage. He was a very social man and always put his family first – no matter what the situation. He loved to watch all the New England sports teams and enjoyed golfing.
Mr. Tagg was a dedicated communicant of St. Roch’s Church in Oxford, often attending daily Mass and serving on the altar. He was a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He was a member of the Oxford Business Association for many years, serving as an office and chair of the Nominating Committee. He was a member of the Oxford Lions Club for over 60 years and the Auburn/Webster Elks.
Most of all, John was a wonderful husband, dad, and bumpa. He and Ruth made sure we had vacations every year as a family. He taught his children how to play sports and how to be good members of society. The values he instilled in family are invaluable, and he will forever be our hero in every way. He was a very caring man. His contributions to the needy and care to help people off the street by providing shelter as a landlord speak to his character. He had a zest for life and will be missed dearly by his family and friends.
A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2021, at St. Roch’s Church, 332 Main St., Oxford. Due to limited seating, the Mass can be watched from the church hall and will be live-streamed on the church website and the funeral home website with his obituary. Burial will follow at St. Roch’s Cemetery in Oxford. Calling hours are Wednesday, February 3, 2021, from 4-7 p.m. at Paradis-Givner Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oxford, following protocols necessary during the pandemic. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Roch’s Church, 332 Main St., Oxford, MA 01540.
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