Alfano, Anthony "Tony" John
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78, of Gilbert, AZ passed away on December 22, 2012. Anthony (Tony) Alfano was born in the Bronx, NY to Alice and Francesco Alfano and grew up in a large Italian family.
Affectionately called Papa Tony by his grandchildren, he was known for his love of sports and his favorite teams the NY Yankees and NY Giants, teaching yoga, sculpting, his Catholic faith, and his beloved dog, Hunee Babe. He passionately enjoyed skiing, especially with his grandchildren, with whom he skied double black diamonds until he was 76 years old.
A veteran of the Navy during the Korean War, Tony was a partner in a construction company that developed commercial and residential real estate in the New York metro area and Puerto Rico. Always an adventurer, he moved his family to Phoenix, Arizona in 1977 and began a career as a Real Estate developer and broker. He was a trailblazer in brokering numerous "like kind exchanges." Tony loved the art of making the real estate deal. He retired to Payson, Arizona after a number of years in the commercial real estate business.
Active throughout his retirement, he served as a captain on Jackson Lake, Wyoming working for the National Parks Service. An advisor to small businesses, he traveled to Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War to advise entrepreneurs through the International Executive Service Corp. Known for his generosity of spirit, he was a court appointed volunteer advocate for children in the foster care system of Gila County and a popular yoga instructor and taught real estate license renewal classes at Gila Community College in Payson. Tony was a man of many interests and many talents. His family, who knew the big heart that went along with his big personality, will miss him greatly.
He was the loving father of five children: Elissa (Ron), Frank (Leslie), Stephen (Karen), Patty, and Bethanne (Dave). He was adored by his seven grandchildren; Matthew, Mark , Lindsay, Nicholas, Hannah , and two granddaughters. He also leaves behind his devoted fiance, Diana Messmer, who lovingly stood by his side until the very end.
Family and friends are invited to a celebration of his life on January 19th at 11:00 a.m. at St. Philip's Church, 511 South St. Phillips Street, Payson, AZ. The family will host a reception immediately following at Messinger Payson
Funeral Home, 901 S. Westerly Road, Payson, Arizona 85541, (928) 474-2800.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Anthony's memory to: Wounded Warriors Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) and St. Vincent de Paul, 511 South Saint Phillips Street, Payson, AZ 85541.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Jan. 3, 2013