We are sad to learn of the passing yesterday of Tony Vilardi, co-founder with his late wife Emma May of ISRR, the International Soundex Reunion Registry. Tony is a pioneer and real adoptee rights hero who touched countless adoptees and their families with his work.

Tony retired from the day-to-day oversight of ISSR in October 2001, but remained an Executive trustee until 2007. He is survived by his wife Mary Braun Vilardi.

This is from the ISSR memorial page:

The number of adoptees, birth parents, siblings and other family members who have been touched by Tony’s generosity and commitment is in the tens of thousands. Most will never know it was he who paid for the telephone bills or stamps that resulted in their reunion. Most will never understand how their lives are different because he quietly and consistently made sure that ISRR stayed strong and open.

You can share your thoughts about Tony here

ISRR is a volunteer organization. Tony paid many of the expenses himself. There is no mention on the ISRR page, but I think it would be nice to send ISRR a donation in Tony’s memory here or through planned giving/wish list or by mail:

P.O. Box 371179
Las Vegas, NV 89137

Messages of condolence:

Susan Vilardi

500 Genoa Lane

Minden, NV 89423

Tony Vilardi
August 12, 1930- – June 14, 2009


  1. Tony and Emma certainly were pioneers among the adoption community. I think that they must have started the first registry. Although many have tried to copy their work I always stress to people that they can trust ISRR workers to be trustworthy and not the type to prey upon the vulnerable. I have much respect for that type.

  2. I am so sorry to hear that. Tony and Emma were good folks who helped reunite a lot of family members, and did so ethically and decently at no profit to themselves. Both will be missed and honored by all in adoption reform.

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