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Anthony Joseph PisciottaMarch 18, 1940 ~ February 9, 2017 (age 76)
Anthony Joseph Pisciotta (Tony) passed on peacefully on February 9th, 2017 at 76, in a Walnut Creek residential board and care home, after a year-long battle with cancer.
Tony was born in San Francisco, CA on March 18th, 1940. He was the 3rd child of Sicilian emigrants Anna and Joseph Pisciotta and the baby brother to his brother Frank and sister Mary. Tony was much younger than his siblings were, so he spent a lot of time at home with his mom who was the perfect homemaker, always cooking, cleaning, sewing and repairing or repainting the house. This is probably where Tony learned to be a perfectionist, and he gave 100% in everything he did in his life.
As a young boy in a San Francisco elementary school, Tony started working right away with a bicycle paper route early in the mornings. Tony attended Polytechnic High School in San Francisco. He played football, which resulted in a broken nose. He decided to go to Barber school at age 19 and became a self-employed barber in the S.F. Mission District. Tony was the 3rd barber in the family after his brother Frank and father Joseph. He met his wife, AnnaMaria through his brother Frank. AnnaMaria emigrated to the United States at age 17, after growing up in WWII in Italy, and was fortunate to meet Tony, the man who would be her husband the next 57 years. Tony and Annamaria married February 5th, 1940 at St. Peter and Paul’s Church, S.F.
Tony, realizing being self-employed was a tough business, got a second job as a San Francisco Airport police officer, while applying to the S.F Sheriff’s department and studying at the academy. He promoted himself up from Deputy Sheriff to Captain of the S.F. Sheriff’s department during his career. Tony would be seen studying endlessly in one specific chair in the house, book in hand, reading the policies and procedures that he would have to uphold in the department. Every exam Tony would take, he would have his lucky blue sweater in arm. This is the same lucky blue sweater he had when his children were born and when his grandson David Anthony was born in 2003. Tony also dabbled in real estate and rental properties, working tirelessly on renovating properties and moved his family, daughters Michele and Diane, to the East Bay in the late 70’s.
Tony had always been in good athletic shape due to the type of work he did. His love for health and exercise began when his wife pushed him to start swimming after work at the Jewish Community Center in Walnut Creek. After 14 hour workdays in S.F., he and his wife would go straight to the swimming pool for an hour of laps. It became their new hobby together. This was amazing since Annamaria was afraid and didn’t know how to swim at all, but together, they took to the water like pros. They also took up skiing, a sport they knew nothing about but as with most things Tony did, he perfected his style and ability and before we knew it, they found a new love in the sport.
About 20 + years ago, they joined the Walnut Creek Family fitness gym (later named “Forma” gym) and we hardly saw them after that. When they retired, they dedicated their mornings to taking Yoga, Core Training, Pilates, Zumba, hitting the heavy bag, weight lifting - you name it, if there was a class, they were trying it. They would exercise up to 4 hours a day. It was their new passion a.) because it made them feel good and b.) they had such wonderful friendships with the gym members – it was like extended family. Tony and Annamaria also liked to travel. Europe and mainly Italy were their favorite destinations visiting family and living the laid back and family-oriented life, that is the Mediterranean. Tony loved to cultivate his home garden and build from bare soil to a beautiful garden sanctuary. He loved to be one with nature.
During his illness, he found joy in listening to salsa music. The music videos of people in Cuba dancing in the streets with colorful garb, exuding a joy for, which touched his heart. Even in the last year of his life, while he was undergoing treatment, all the while going to the gym thanks to his unbelievably generous group of friends from the gym who would drive him to and fro, Tony would grab his walker, turn on his tablet and shuffle around moving to the music. At one point, we all would listen to the salsa music playing on Dad’s tablet and dance around while visiting both mom and dad. While Tony and Annamaria’s lives and circumstances had changed dramatically over the years, Tony was determined to stay upbeat. As he said, he wasn’t going to just lay down and die.
Tony was an inspiration to his fellow gym members as he encouraged other members to reach their goals and feel good about themselves. Tony received recognition for his volunteer work at St Anne’s parish in Walnut Creek and several recognitions from the Sherriff’s department. Tony received recognition of dedicated service as Chairman Civil Procedures Sub-committee from 1990 - 1993. He also received Captain’s Commendation from the S.F. Sherriff’s Department March 2nd, 1990.
With family, Tony was recognized for his compassion and care for his wife during her cancer treatments and then again with her dementia. As with almost everything he did in life, he was determined to make the most out of a not so ideal situation. He would not back down to the challenge. With his own illness surfacing, it was time to realize he had to give in and allow someone else to care for her. Probably the hardest decision in his life.
Tony was also a phenomenal father and grandfather. Growing up, Tony always told his daughters “Study, study, study” and then later,“Work, work, work.” This explains his strong work ethic. He had a step son, Nicholas Alexandrian and his first born grandson, David Anthony Pisciotta Bell. Tony treated David as he would his own son. He taught him how to ride a bike, and helped with after school care and studying. Tony always made sure he had an ample supply of cookies and Klondike bars for his grandson. He was such a thoughtful loving man. David Anthony loved his grandparents dearly.
Dad loved movies like “The Godfather” or anything Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino related. His famous Rodney Dangerfield saying, which resonated to many that knew him was, “Watch out for #1 and don’t step in #2. During his struggle with health issues he added a Jonathan Winters saying, “When you miss the boat, swim after it!” Tony’s bottom line was bottom line was “Never Give Up”. That is probably also why you could find him listening to the “Rocky” at his home and talking about the “Eye of the Tiger”…his will to survive was insurmountable.
Special thanks to Dee, Les, Peter, Connie, Joan, Bob and countless other gym members who visited Tony during his illness and provided him with rides to his radiation appointments to and from the gym. Same with Jan Driscoll who works for the American Cancer Society and provided so much support to Tony.
We will miss Tony deeply as he was a true hero with a kind and gentle heart. Rest in peace Tony, we love you!
Visitation 2/16/2017 1:00 p.m. to 7 p.m. at OAK PARK HILLS CHAPEL, 3111 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, CA 94597
Thursday 2/16/17 7:00 p.m.
Rosary at the 3111 N. Main St. | Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(Adjacent to Pleasant Hill and Interstate 680 with Easy North & South Access. Next door to Black Angus Restaurant)
Friday 2/17/17 11:00 a.m.
The Italian Cemetery, 540 F Street Colma, CA
Celebration of Life reception following funeral 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Tony's home.