Ithier, Antonio

ajc.com

ITHIER, Antonio "Tony"

Antonio "Tony" Ithier passed away peacefully at his home in Atlanta, Georgia surrounded by his family on February 25, 2021 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Tony was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico on March 27, 1948 and moved to Lorain, Ohio with his mother Maria Salinas at age 5 speaking only Spanish. As a boy he played baseball, reaching the state championship game one year. He was affectionately called "Shakespeare" by his high school friends and when his sister asked him why he teased "because he was the smart one". He served in the Army after high school, was trained as a missile repairman, then was stationed in Korea. He was rightfully proud of his Army service and began a tradition of calling family and friends who had served each Veteran's Day. The Army's GI Bill allowed him to become the first person in his family to attend college and he became a devoted Buckeye fan when he enrolled at The Ohio State University. He met his wife Pat (the former Patricia Nelson) during college. They married in 1973 and honeymooned in the Northeast, beginning a lifelong love of travel together. They were always up for an adventure, and their most epic as newlyweds was a 6-week cross-country trip in Tony's 1966 Volkswagen Beetle while Ohio State was closed due to the oil embargo.

He graduated from Ohio State with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and earned a grant to complete his master's degree before joining Wisconsin Electric Power Company in 1976 as a computer engineer. His career took them to Milwaukee, Tampa, Seattle, then back to Tampa where they raised their three daughters, Frances, Elizabeth and Kathryn.

Golfing was his passion. Tony especially loved Hole #7 at Northdale Golf Course in Tampa, where his home was located. Many evenings Tony could be spotted walking out back with a golf club in hand to perfect his game on #7. He enjoyed organizing an annual golf trip with his friends to play courses on the Robert Trent Jones Trail. It's been said the chance of a golfer making a hole- in-one is approximately 12,500 to 1, so Tony was thrilled when he managed this feat at Northdale Golf Club in 2001. He also enjoyed running with a group of friends, eventually completing four marathons as well as running annually in the Gasparilla race in Tampa and later the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta.

Tony worked for 25 years at Tampa Electric Company before retiring in 2002, where he made lasting friends in the power control center. He was a pioneer in "Take your daughter to work day" and proudly introduced his daughters to the entire office when they visited during the summers to have lunch with their dad. His advice for his girls during their school years was always "get ahead and stay ahead". He loved being a dad to his girls and attended afternoon teas and "fashion shows" (where the girls modeled new clothing purchases) by choice. He embraced being Father of the Bride three times and he and Pat warmly welcomed their sons-in-law into the family. Tony enjoyed sharing a beer with the guys, going golfing and watching college football together.

Tony joined Alston/Areva in software sales based in Phoenix in 2003 and he and Pat jumped at the chance for another adventure. They loved living out in the desert in Scottsdale and being near his sister, Maria. Tony became an avid hiker at nearby Pinnacle Peak Park where he also served as a volunteer.

Before leaving Arizona, Tony completed a bucket list goal of hiking all the way down into the Grand Canyon and hiking out the following day. A desire to be closer to his daughters' growing families brought him to a position with Siemens in Atlanta in 2006. Tony and Pat settled in a beautiful home in St. Marlo Country Club and Tony quickly joined the golf club, finding a group of like-minded buddies to play with several times a week. They became his dearest Atlanta friends and spent many hours playing golf, talking politics, and enjoying dinners together with their wives. He and Pat also enjoyed the Forsyth Senior Hiking Club and taking ballroom dancing classes together. Tony loved to dance with Pat and his daughters.

Tony and Pat retired for good in 2012, allowing Tony to settle into his favorite role as grandfather to ten grandchildren. His family was the joy of his life and he loved watching his children's and later his grandchildren's athletic pursuits. Papa could always be counted on to have jellybeans ready for his grandkids and he and Pat loved hosting cousin sleepovers and "Grammy Camp". Family was at the heart of his life and he taught his children to value family and his grandchildren to become friends.

Tony and Pat loved to travel and some of their favorite trips were rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, a Viking Danube river cruise, touring Cuba, visiting China, and taking an African safari to the Serengeti. Tony took his entire family to Puerto Rico for Thanksgiving 2015 to visit extended family. Tony lived his life to the fullest. He was selfless, generous, easy to talk to, had a keen sense of humor and was known as a truly nice guy. He was optimistic and uncomplaining through years of rigorous cancer treatments and Pat put his care first and enjoyed keeping their calendar filled with fun activities, movies at the theater, and dinners at their favorite restaurants. His family will most miss his listening ear, open mind, knowledge about most any topic, his jokes and his zest for family. Tony's advice to newlyweds was "create memories" and we are fortunate that we have so many to look back on.

Tony is survived by his love of 50 years, Pat Ithier, as well as his three daughters Fran Egan (Colman), Libby Scheffer (Steven) and Katie Cherry (Jon), ten grandchildren Audrey, Lucas, Roby, Elliot, Henry, Haley, Hazel, Chloe, Teddy and Nelson, his beloved sisters Nellie Ithier of Puerto Rico and Maria Tammaro of Arizona, as well as treasured siblings Minerva Ithier, Myrna Ithier, Juan Ithier and Jose Ithier of Puerto Rico, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A Celebration of Life will be planned for a future date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Tony's name to the USO or Wounded Warriors.

In Other News