Anthony Kabillus, 95, a resident of the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center, formerly of Durkin Avenue, died Wednesday.
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Born April 11, 1918, in Scranton, son of the late Ignas and Mary (Bernatavicius) Bernatovich Kabillus, he was a 1936 graduate of Scranton Technical High School and a graduate of several prestigious photography schools in New York City. He was a proud Navy veteran of World War II. From 1943 to December 1945, he served aboard the USS LST 211, where he served as the official ship's photographer and attained the rank of Yeoman Second Class. He participated in the "Anzio Ferry" from April 15 to June 20, 1944, and later on Aug. 15, 1944, he was part of the initial assault on the southern coast of France in the area of Cavalaire Bay. He always believed he was very fortunate to have escaped multiple bombings.
His commanding officer wrote, "Your loyalty and devotion to duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service during your tour of duty on board this vessel. Anthony Kabillus, has shown industry, loyalty and devotion to duty. His care in preserving administrative confidences and general performance of duty has been in line with the highest traditions of the naval service."
He was awarded many commendations and medals including the American Area and European African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medals.
After the war, Anthony returned to North Scranton and continued his photography career. He was well known in the area as an accomplished professional photographer. He was known as the photographer to dignitaries, politicians and many sports figures. He was proud of the photographs he took of famous players including Whitey Ford, Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Tommy LaSorda and many others.
Anthony was very proud of his Lithuanian Heritage and the fact that he lived his entire life on Durkin Avenue. Tony was a kind, friendly person and he was admired and loved by all who met him. He was truly a man about town.
He and his late brother, John, who served as the bartender at Palonis's Bar in North Scranton for many years, were well known and respected. They often in their later years could be seen eating dinner and holding court at Gerrity's Market on Keyser Avenue. He was a lifelong member of St. Joseph's Church, North Scranton, now Mary, Mother of God Parish.
In the 1980s he started to photograph then District Attorney Ernest D. Preate and a strong friendship developed. In the following years Ernie was always available to help out in any way possible, as a friend, caretaker, power of attorney and confidant. Ernie was instrumental in placing him at the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center, a place that Anthony felt safe and comfortable. There he loved the entire staff and they loved and cared for him in return. Attorney Preate remarked that the people at Gino J. Merli Veterans Center "deserve a special thank you for their compassionate and respectful care. They extended his life."
Surviving are several nieces and nephews.
He was also preceded in death by five sisters, Veronica Tumavitch, Mary Gombar, Nellie Godlosky, Helen Jones and Adele Batch; and three brothers, Michael, William and John.
The funeral will be Saturday from the Solfanelli-Fiorillo Funeral Home Inc., 1030 N. Main Ave., Scranton, with Mass of Christian Burial at 9:30 a.m. in Mary, Mother of God Parish at Holy Rosary Church, 316 William St., Scranton. Interment, St. Joseph's Cemetery, Throop.
Friends may call Saturday, 8:30 to 9.
In lieu of flowers, memori al contributions may be made to Mary, Mother of God Parish, 316 William St., Scranton, PA 18508.
Please visit www.solfanel lifiorillofuneralhome.com for information, directions or to send an online condolence.
Solfanelli-Fiorillo Funeral Home
1030 N Main Ave
Scranton, PA 18508
Published in Scranton Times on Nov. 15, 2013