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Anthony William Ortolano passed away peacefully in Gulfport, MS on June 25, 2017, less than a week before his 81st birthday.

Tony (as everyone knew him) was born on June 30, 1936 in Philadelphia, PA to Anthony Ortolano and Catherine Humes. In 1955 he joined the United States Navy and embarked on a long, exciting career that took him all over, from the USS Forrestal in Norfolk, VA (1955–1958) and the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (1961–1962), to a computer management center in Monterey, CA. He also did a three year stint in Kodiak, AK, where he realized his disdain for cold weather (anything under 75F). During his travels, he met the love of his life, Doris Camille Butler, a bartender in a small watering hole in Maryland, and he quickly realized he had to make her his wife, though she didn’t necessarily like the idea at the time. Still, he was persistant and his tenacity paid off; the two were married on June 10, 1964 in Atlanta, GA.

In 1969, the couple became guardians to Doris’ three-year-old niece Chryl, and in June of ‘69, the three of them deployed to Rota, Spain, where they remained until June of 1974. When they returned to the states, they adopted Chryl and spent two more years in Maryland before making their final move to Long Beach, MS where he would commute to Stennis Space Center for work every morning. He finally retired from the Naval Oceanographic Office at Stennis in June of 1995.

After 33 years of married bliss, Doris passed away in 1997 and Tony sold their house in Long Beach shortly thereafter. He eventually moved into the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Gulfport, MS where he planned to stay, but unfortunately Hurricane Katrina came along in 2005 with different plans. The home he loved was destroyed, and he spent the following five years living in different places along the coast of MS and in Norfolk, VA with his younger brother Richard, as well as a short stay in the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington D.C. Once the AFRH in Gulfport was rebuilt, he made a mad dash from VA and finally found himself back where he wanted to be. He loved life at “the home” and loved giving his family tours of the facility. He would proudly say “Man, I tell ya, this place is neat!”

Tony was a great man. Stubborn as they come, and quick to tell you exactly what was on his mind. He would tell you stories about fights he’d been in, and you’d ask him, “When was that? Back in the ‘60s?” and he’d say “No, this was about three months ago.” It’s hard to picture a man in his 70s brawling with someone less than half his age, but if you were lucky enough to know Tony, you knew the stories were true. He was a two or three pack-a-day smoker who quit cold turkey around 78 years of age. After his retirement he went back to work bagging groceries at the commissary, mostly to keep active and enjoy conversations with folks.

He was proud of his country and often said he owed everything he had to the Navy. He loved raw oysters (he once ate four dozen in one sitting) and a good martini (dry, Beefeater gin, up, stirred not shaken, with one olive) and he was repulsed by any other variation of his favorite drink. If it wasn’t a martini, it was a nice glass of red wine (Carlo Rossi Paisano) or a cup of good coffee (Folgers instant). He loved good, authentic Philly cheesesteaks and would always let you know if it wasn’t authentic enough. He loved driving Pontiacs and would write them letters to inform them it would be easier to “drive excitement” if they would put ashtrays in their cars. He was proud of the atomic clock he kept on his bedside table, and became irritated when he realized the time on the TV preview channel was off by a few seconds. He began calling them to complain, and eventually got them to agree to fix it. His favorite hobby was falling asleep in his chair in front of a good Western. He loved life on the Gulf Coast, and spending time with his family.

Tony is preceded in death by his wife, Doris B. Ortolano and three stepsons, Alva Norment, Craig Norment and Gig Norment. He’s survived by his daughter Chryl Lizana and her husband Jaime Lizana, his beloved brother Richard Ortolano, nephews Christopher, Michael, Edward and James Ortolano, niece Theresa Foremaster, grandson “Bud” Ortolano and wife Lulu, granddaughter Camille Potts and great-grandson Mannee, who he completely adored. He will be deeply, deeply missed.

So long, sailor.

July 4, 2017
July 4, 2017
It was a privilege to know Tony and I know he will be missed. He loved well and was loved well. Our condolences to his family.

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July 4, 2017
July 4, 2017
It was a privilege to know Tony and I know he will be missed. He loved well and was loved well. Our condolences to his family.
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