Anthony “Tony” Damasca received what he wanted most for Christmas this year: to be with his Lee in heaven. After loving goodbyes to his children and grandchildren and making sure every logistical loose end was tied up, Tony left this earth in peace. He will be sorely missed by many and will always be remembered through warm memories and heartfelt stories.
Tony was born and raised in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, with his parents Daniel and Rosemarie and his sister Mildred who recently predeceased him. He attended St Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn and then the City University of New York where he studied business. He never lost his Brooklyn grit, accent, or love of Italian food. He was, however, converted begrudgingly from a Brooklyn Dodgers fan to a Yankees fan by the strongest force in his life, his eventual wife: Lee Damasca, neé Polkowski.
Tony and Lee met on the CUNY campus in 1954. After some proper wooing, Lee agreed to marry Tony and even to leave their beloved New York City for Pittsfield, Massachusetts for Tony’s lifelong career as a buyer for General Electric.
In Pittsfield, Tony and Lee welcomed and raised their three well-loved children: Donna, Dan, and Diana. Tony nurtured these relationships through a passion unique to each child. Growing up in New York, Tony developed a love for football and the New York Giants. This love was shared with Donna with whom he had an annual football season wager. Tony rarely won but always enjoyed the friendly competition.
Tony’s love for history is owed to his enthusiastic schoolteachers, who instilled in him that “those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.” This passion became a uniting force between Tony and Dan, who could never trust a book’s contents without Tony’s approval.
And to his youngest daughter Tony passed on a love for baseball. At Lee’s urging, they supported the Yankees, though he would never admit that the Yankees dynasty could take the place of his Brooklyn Dodgers. These relationships continued to grow as he relocated to Myrtle Beach and always welcomed visitors with open arms to include his children’s expanded families.
Tony spent 35 years working for GE and his work gave him purpose, travel, and the ability to provide a safe warm home for his family and plates full of love and joy. He was fortunate enough to equally split his adult life between being a working man and a professional retiree. He was a model husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, a well balanced act of joy for himself and an open heart and door for family and friends. He was a negotiator through and through, always excited to haggle for a car purchase and argue with his granddaughters about politics. He was able to retire in 1990 and enjoy 30 beautiful years of retirement, mostly in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, his final home.
Though his childhood and working life were spent up north, after entering retirement Tony opened a new chapter in his book of life centered in Myrtle Beach, SC. He and Lee found a wonderful home base at Kingston Plantation where they made memories and friendships that have spread through his family to form a new home for all. Though they started as snow birds, their full time move provided them year round happiness, built relationships with many other families, and served as a destination for all their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to be a family together. Originally hesitant to move from family up north, Lee constantly reminded him that Myrtle Beach’s offerings would draw the family to them and she was right. The family is eternally grateful for our new home and the friendships and memories we have in the south.
Tony’s adoration of Lee was legendary. To him, the sun rose and set on her and he was happy to (mostly) follow her lead for the 61+ years they spent married. Their love for each other grew every day and year they spent together, even after Lee’s passing in 2019. Their relationship was an inspiration to all they came into contact with, and will forever be remembered as a timeless love story. They lived up to their vows to be fair through good times and bad, letting love prevail and providing hope as they came together again to enjoy eternal happiness.
Tony leaves his legacy, his stories, and his love in his family: daughter Donna and husband John, son Daniel and wife Shauna, and daughter Diana and partner Joe; grandchildren Nicole, Michael and wife Sheri, Erica, Austin, and Eric; great-grandchildren Sophia, Jacob, Luca, Hero, and Sunshine; and his grand-dog Ella.
Tony’s family mixed some of his ashes with Lee’s and spread them at the beach in a private service led by Pastor Randy Ferebee of Tony’s faith community, The Church of the Messiah. The rest of his ashes are to be mixed with Lee’s so their love and memories will forever remain inseparable. To keep COVID-safe, no other memorial service will be held. If you want to remember Tony with a donation, he had a special place in his heart for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and their work to address childhood cancer http://www.stjude.org/ .
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