|At Tony’s memorial celebration, our dear friend, Rev. Barbara Beaumont, referred to Tony as a “walking around sermon”. No preacher ever spoke truer words. Tony was an excellent illustration of what Jesus meant when he talked about abundant living and about loving our neighbor as ourselves. This dear, loving man seldom had much money in his wallet because he felt that money was loaned to us by God so that we could help others with it. Even so, he always provided very well for his family. I know because I was married to him for twenty-six years. Those years were full of excitement because I never knew who or what Tony might bring home with him after work. It could be an injured, hurting animal or a hurting person. I’ve never known anyone with such a capacity for love and compassion as my husband. I’ve also never known anyone so determined to be the very best person that he could become. From a childhood fraught with hardship, tragedy, substance abuse and numerous moves, Tony shone forth like a beautiful light. In 1969-70, he served his country in Vietnam, and obtained his GED High School Diploma while there. For the last twenty years of his life, Tony worked for the Entergy Company as an electrician, continually climbing the ladder of success. He never lost his beautiful gift of simplicity, however. A couple of trips a year to Wal-Mart for some plaid shirts and blue jeans and the opportunity to catch some fish occasionally, and, above all, time to be with family, pretty much did it for him!
In 1976, Tony and I were married, having known each other for about three months. We were blessed by two beautiful daughters: Amanda, in 1977, and Sarah, in 1981. They were the apples of their Daddy’s eye, even after they grew up and married. In 1994, God surprised us with our beautiful little boy, Brooks. No son was ever more loved by his Daddy. No little girl ever had a more doting “Papa” than Emma, our sweet granddaughter. All of us miss this man who was always our biggest fan, and thought that we could do anything because we were all so wonderful. I hope that he realized that he was the one who was wonderful. If not in life, I know he knows it now. I close with this piece from a journal Tony kept as he was recovering from a devastating illness in 1990:
When you’re fishing in the sea and land is not in sight,
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 2003 (Memoirs)|