Share a special moment from Tony's life.

Shared by Lisa Wiley on February 28, 2020
I just want to let your family know that I really think of you and Tony so often. I always say this but it is because its TRUE !!  Please know that although I do not have any stories from my own experience I have heard many from  Alaina. I also know that I wish I could have known Tony more personally and I feel that everyone kind of feels the same way. I know how Jim looked up to him, and the loss greatly affected Jim's life but in a positive way Tony lived his life.I guess I should not speak for my "kids" because they may be embarrassed since they are not kids anymore. Thank you for keeping this site going. I guess I had a story after all.

Son, Brother, Friend

Shared by janet cole on February 23, 2016

The following is an article from The Compassionate Friends newsletter Jan. 2016. It was written by Tony's parents (Janet and Mack), sister (Betsy) and long time friend (Dan).

Our son Tony was a lover of life:  he loved the ourdoors, family, friends, football, lacrosse, snow skiing, and building things.  He didn't know a stranger and often sang or whistled as he worked on various assignments or personal projects.  It seemed he was busy every day with school activities or helping friends or constructing things or planning the next adventure.  Tony loved flying airplanes and that's how he died.  We heard from many who knew him that "he lived more life in 22 years than most people do in 80".  This is what keeps us living.

My brother Tony was all in.  Many of us hesitate, take a sip, dip a toe into the flow of life.....but Tony would run straight in with a huge dimpled grin and a hoot of joy.  When he was a baby, I remember gazing into his eyes, making repetitive "babytalk" sounds as he earnestly stared back and his little mouth worked to mirror mine.  His connection and his presence with people were a hallmark of his life.  When he was in elementary school and I was in high school, I remember one family trip out West when we went camping in the Rockies.  As our parents set up camp, Tony and I scrambled up a nearby hillside feeling exuberant and adventurous.  At the top we stared in awe at the magnificence surrounding us.  His love and respect of nature defined him in life and beyond. (Hiking in the woods today is the surest way I have of connecting with my brother's unbridled spirit.)  When Tony was a young adult in college, he became an uncle to my son Ian.  Tony gave me the precious gift of watching his love envelop the next generation of our family before he passed away.  Now, as I watch both of my boys learn, grow, and laugh, I miss my brother beyond words... but I also see bits of him playfully peeking out through my sons' eyes.

My friend Tony was the kid in school wearing his oversized U of M hat on backwards, climbing trees during recess, capturing bugs and ambushing unsuspecting classmates with acorns.  Never living a dull moment through life, he always shared his adventures with friends.  Whether Tony was setting the stage for the school play, creating a backyard zip-line, effortlessly skiing down a double black diamond or spending time with family and friends, he always exuded passion and love.  With Tony's passion towards life, everything was possible.  There was never a discussion or topic that was off limits between us and he always gave an honest perspective and advice.  He would call, for no particular reason, other than to ask how my day was going and what plans I had for the week ahead.  Tony was charismatic, adventurous, hardworking and a loving friend that will never be forgotten; my dearest friend. 

Barn party

Shared by Josh Kaskel on October 22, 2014

Same year tony sang in the band and dressed up like his uncle

Brycens land

Shared by Josh Kaskel on October 22, 2014

The same place we frequently went before/after class or the weekends for camping fishing boating and hunting. I laughed when I just saw this photo. We had just got done scuba diving in one of the ponds. I didn't think we would get out without t tow truck but we did end up getting pulled out. Unbelievable. The pic doesn't do justice for how bad we were stuck. I'll never forget. When we slid down in the creek Tony just started laughing as if it was no problem at all...Great time

Shared by Cindy Hallar Cook on February 26, 2012

As I take my strolls down through my parents' field and around the woods I sometimes stop near the site. During those moments I say my prayers to God, asking him to look after Tony and heal the hearts of those he love. I transplanted a clump of bluebells there later on in the Spring, and I have made him a star of twigs. 

God Bless Everyone,

Cindy Cook 

Shared by Kayla Church on January 10, 2012

I remember the first time i had met Tony. I was with my cousin megan one summer day. We ended up going to the cabin and hanging out around the campfire, riding four wheelers, and going coyote hunting with wayde and tony. It was probably the best summer i have ever had. Tony had kept a smile on everyones face that night. He was like a candle that never burned out. Tony will always be in my memories and have a place as a friend in my heart.

Response to Cindy's Tribute

Shared by janet cole on April 17, 2011

Thank you for remembering our son and honoring his spirit in such a fitting way.  The concern of wonderful friends and family has been very comforting, but we are especially touched by the kindness of strangers.  Tony loved nature and everything it offered.  In 8th grade he wrote a poem called "The Woods".  At the end of the poem he referred to the woods as his "domain, a place of safety, a place I have been forever, a place called home".  Your tribute was extremely meaningful to our family.  Thank you.

Janet and Mack Cole



Shared by Tyler Mason on March 20, 2011

I met Tony when we were in the seventh grade.  We played football together at Blackhawk and continued playing together at Snider.  We used to go up against each other quite a bit since I played fullback and Tony outside line backer.  We used to hit each other pretty hard too.  Tony was one tough guy. It didn't take long for us to become good friends.

I always knew I could count on Tony. So when we were Freshmen, it came as no surprise he was there to help me out with my Eagle Scout Project. He showed up early and helped me out when he could have easily slept in on Saturday morning.  Thats just the way he was, always ready to help a buddy out.

So I was honored when Tony asked me to attend his Eagle Scout ceremony two years later. I remember feeling so proud that Tony earned the Eagle Scout Rank. Quite simply, Tony was the man! I love you, man. God Bless You, Tyler Mason


Shared by Megan Church on March 9, 2011

I'm sure going to miss all the summers Tony came to good ol' Morrow County Ohio. We had so much fun mud running, coyote hunting, sitting around the bonfire for hours on end, and just talking. I was honored to have became friends with Tony when I met him for the first time when I was 14. He will be greatly missed. Summers out here won't be the same.

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