Joseph Andrew (“Tony”) Tonozzi
Joseph Andrew (“Tony”) Tonozzi died peacefully on July 14th, at home, in the loving care of his children. He is now with Patricia, his beloved wife of 72 years.
He was born February 23, 1920, the 8th of 10 children, to Anton and Cristol (Bernardi) Tonozzi. They were Italian immigrants who farmed in Bristol, Colorado, during some of the “worst hard times.” It was here that he developed his work ethic as well as the importance of family ties.
He enlisted in the Navy during WWII. It was love at first sight when he met Pat, an Irish beauty from Minnesota, while stationed at Mare Island, California. He shipped out to the South Pacific where he served as a corpsman.
He and Pat married in 1942 and after his discharge in 1944, they raised their family of 12 children at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. He worked in civil service as chief supply officer for the Veterans Hospital in Minneapolis. He was active in church, community affairs and recreational activities with extended family members and many friends.
He was honored as Civil Servant of the Year and shared humor and insight as an active member of the Toastmasters Club. His mechanical and inventive abilities, probably born of need, enabled him to fix anything. These skills live on in many of his children. His math skills stayed with him until his very last days.
Tony retired in 1971 after 30 years with the government. A camper van that he fashioned from an old mail truck, brought him and Pat, and most of their children, to Colorado to make Glenwood Springs their home. They claimed to be “recreational specialists” — skiing, playing golf and tennis, bridge, soaking in the hot springs pool and much traveling. He added a lift to an old school bus, dubbed “The Streaker,” which provided many adventures for the elderly, the Girl Scouts, and maybe some 100 Club activities. He drove the Sunlight ski bus and that usually included some sing-a-longs. For 10 years, Pat and Tony spent winters in Kauai, walking beaches and, once again, becoming part of the community.
After 28 years of looking over the city of Glenwood from Echo St., they played and relaxed in Battlement Mesa and in late 2009 returned to Glenwood for their final years.
Tony’s remarkable memory blessed us with many stories of his life. He journaled many of them for future generations. He asked questions and listened and delighted in the comings and goings of his children, grandchildren, cherished family members and friends. He was known for his kisses, his sense of humor and generosity of spirit. There was always room for one more at the table. They took in foreign exchange students and provided housing for a Vietnamese family. Pat and Tony shared a faith based on acceptance and tolerance for all people.
Being raised by our Dad was like being raised by the Dalai Lama — he was inspirational, but you had to share him with a lot of people! Some of the things he imparted to us were:
Actions speak louder than words.
There is value in every relationship.
Kindness conquers rudeness.
Don’t take life too seriously.
Work hard and play hard.
Live simply, so that others may simply live.
Tony is survived by Luana Olson (George “Butch”), Stephen Tonozzi (Pat Smith), Michelle Tonozzi, Gregory Tonozzi, Brian Tonozzi, Sheri Tonozzi (Carl Tharp), Timothy Tonozzi, Joseph Tonozzi (Thanida Chaosuan), James Tonozzi, Patrick Tonozzi, Christopher Tonozzi (Merne Dragonette) and Angela Tonozzi (John Lee) and families which include 24 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
There will be a graveside service for the family.
All family and friends are invited to celebrate Tony’s life and legacy with a potluck picnic at Veltus Park on August 7th between 12 and 4 PM. Please bring a dish to pass and stories and memories to share.
We would like to thank Sean Jeung and Barb Bush and Hospice of the Valley for their love and support. Thanks, also, to the VA TeleHealth clinic for their tender care.
He is forever in our hearts.
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