Jorge E. Tristani

December 9, 1919May 4, 2011

Jorge Enrique Tristani, 91, died peacefully on May 4, 2011, at the Washington Home in Washington D.C., from complications related to Parkinson's disease. He was born in Havana, Cuba, on December 9, 1919, and moved with his family to Ponce Puerto Rico, as a teenager. After graduating as valedictorian from Ponce High School, he attended Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) and graduated with honors in 1941 with a BS in electrochemical engineering. While an undergraduate, he was a member of several honorary societies in engineering, mathematics, and chemistry. He completed post-graduate studies in 1943 on ultra-high frequency techniques at Harvard, M.I.T., and the Special Projects School at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Tristani entered military service on February 3, 1949, and applied his knowledge and training during World War II as a US Naval officer in charge of radar and counter measures aboard the destroyer DD427, Hilary P. Jones. In that capacity he assisted in jamming German radio-controlled bombs during the allied invasion of southern France. Tristani was released from active duty under honorable conditions on June 9, 1946 as a Lieutenant (jg) and returned to Puerto Rico.

Upon returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tristani co-founded an electrical engineering design and construction firm, Carrero and Tristani. Among its noteworthy jobs was the laying of a submarine cable between St. Thomas and St. John islands. The firm enjoyed many successful years of operations and eventually became the largest electrical contracting company in Puerto Rico. In 1968, the business was sold to Fischbach and Moor, the largest electrical construction firm in the United States at that time.

Upon sale of the firm, Tristani entered a second career in the practice of law after graduating from the University of Puerto Rico with a Juris Doctorate degree. He co-founded the Tristani and Rexach law firm specializing in construction law. During his distinguished career in Puerto Rico, Tristani served in important public and civic positions: Chairman of a presidential Advisory Council to the Cabinet for Spanish-speaking Americans; appointment as Administrator of the Economic Development Administration of Puerto Rico by Governor Carlos Barcelo; Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Presbyterian Community Hospital; and member of the Board of Directors of Banco Comercial de Puerto Rico.

Tristani spent many years in Albuquerque, New Mexico helping with the development of the Dennis Chavez Estates and the Dennis Chavez Foundation. Tristani also spent many years in Washington DC where he was a member of the Cosmos Club and often enjoyed its facilities entertaining out of town friends and relatives.

Tristani is survived by his wife of 65 years, Gloria Chavez Tristani, the daughter of the late U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez (D-NM.) The couple was married on February 9, 1946 at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington DC. The ceremony was attended by many Washington dignitaries including Margaret Truman, the daughter of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States. Miss Truman who was a bridesmaid, hosted a wedding party at the White House which was understood to be the first social event since the beginning of World War II in that President Truman would not have social events at the White house during the war. The wedding has highlighted in LIFE Magazine.

Tristani is also survived by Jorge E. Tristani, Jr., of Albuquerque, NM; Dennis C. Tristani and wife, Anne Howard-Tristani of San Juan, Puerto Rico; Maria Gloria Tristani and husband, Gerard W. Thompson, of Chevy Chase, MD; former son-in-law Gerald W. Cox and wife, Magda Rodriguez, of Albuquerque, NM. Tristani is also survived by his sister, Mary Lu Lopez, and husband Armando Lopez, of San Juan, Puerto Rico; and grandson, Michael Tristani and Brandy of Phoenix; and grandchildren, Dennis Tristani, William Tristani, Christine Tristani, Vanesa Nunez and husband, Ceasar Nunez, Jorge Thomson, Andrew Thompson, Roddy Thompson, Dennis Thompson; and great-grandsons, Javier Nunez and Bryke Tristani, as well as nieces and nephews, Cissie Coy, and husband, Wayne, Imelda Gonzalez de Diego, Dina Sianca and husband Cucho, Rene Esteves, Marieli Esteves, Ruby Lopez and wife Anita, Sonia Sinz and husband, Eddie; and Ymelda Dixon, sister-in-law, and many other family members.

He will be missed forever and forever.

He will be interred with full military honors at the Cementerio Nacional de Puerto Rico in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Arrangements entrusted to Joseph Gawler's Sons Inc., Washington, DC.


  • Visitation Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jorge E. Tristani

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Sonia Nunez

May 21, 2011

Dear Gloria ; sons and family
I have no words to console you for the lost of Jorge only time will mitigate your pain. He is looking after you from above because now he is an Angel.
Such a loving family I had the privllege to meet , he was well loved by you, by friends and certainly admired by many people.
Our prayer are with you.

Eric Waters

May 14, 2011

I didn't know the man well. In one of our few encounters he said, "You're Armando's nephew?" I said, "Yes". He replied, "From now on, you have a second uncle in Puerto Rico." That was all I needed to like him. Sorry to see him go.

Lisa Reid

May 14, 2011

I am so sorry for your family's loss. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. He was a great man who had a long and wonderful life with his loving family.

Buddy & Hortensia Blythe

May 11, 2011

Gloria & Family:

So sorry to hear that Jorge has passed.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.-Sus primos.

Julie Futernick

May 10, 2011

My thoughts and prayers during these difficult times, but also many great and beautiful memories of moments shared during my childhood make me think of the great human being we lost. Love Julie Rose Rodriguez (Futernick)

Patricia Carlton-McQueen

May 5, 2011

My thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of grief. May your memories bring you comfort.