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Anthony "Tony" Sokol

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Anthony "Tony" Sokol Obituary
Sokol, Anthony Tony 89, formerly of Brentwood, MO, died on Monday, July 16, at The Quarters of Des Peres, an assisted care facility. Tony was born December 6, 1922, near Split, Croatia and -- at the age of 14 -- immigrated with his family to Chicago, Illinois. After graduating high school, Tony was immediately inducted into the Third Division of the U.S. Army as a machine gunner during World War II. He earned a Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars for bravery. He fought proudly for his adopted country in North Africa, Anzio and the Rhäne-Saone Corridor of France. Outside of Strasbourg, France, Tony was shot while checking on a fellow soldier. The gunshot wound left him with a paralyzed leg, but that never limited his participation in athletics. In college, he was known as Two-Point Tony in wheel chair basketball. Friends could never keep up with him on walks he took with his crutches. Ironically, he had won All-State honors in Illinois for high school track before entering the Army. Because he was an avid soccer player, his young friends called him the forward with the educated toe. He was the eldest child of the late John and Helen Sokol. His younger sister is Kay Spialek of Chicago. Although living more than 60 years on crutches and later in a wheelchair, he always felt that his war injury was a blessing. He met and married his Army nurse, Joan Strub of Brunswick, MO, to whom he was married for 62 years before she passed away in 2009. They had three daughters: Donna Johnson (Michael) of Brentwood, Kathy Sokol (Keith Walker) of Glendale, and Mary Jo Cancila (Jack) of Kirkwood. He had eight grandchildren: Anthony Tony Johnson of St. Louis, Michael Mick Johnson (Erin) of South County, Rebecca Damazyn (Timothy) of Rock Hill, Jeff Schiffman (Maricela) of Los Angeles, Kristine Schiffman of St. Louis, Michael Cancila of Brentwood, Kathleen Cancila of Kirkwood and Victoria Cancila of Kirkwood. He was the greatgrandfather of Serena Schiffman and twins Nicholas and Mary Kate Damazyn. Through the GI bill, Tony earned a Master's Degree in geography from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He worked in St. Louis for the U.S. Air Force's Defense Mapping Agency as a cartographer for more than 30 years. He was a devout Roman Catholic with a great love for Saint Cosmos and Saint Damien; he was a loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend to many. He serves as the epitome of the Great American Dream. Coming to the United States with his family of meager means, Tony not only ensured that he received a college education, but also his three daughters. He never regretted not having a son. He attended every high school game in which his daughters were cheerleaders. When questioned by the parents of the male athletes about what position his son played, he would proudly point to one of his daughters on the sidelines doing a cartwheel and split. Services: Visitation will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 19, at the Church of the Immacolata, 8900 Clayton Road, followed by an 11 a.m. funeral mass. Burial at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery will be at 12:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Disabled American Veterans' organization or Cor Jesu Academy's scholarship fund at 10230 Gravois, St. Louis, MO, 63123.


Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 18, 2012
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