Anthony ‘Tony’ John Blanda Jr., of St. Simons Island, Ga., passed away at 5:12 a.m. on April 6, 2019, at the age of 69.
He was born on July 31, 1949, to Mr. and Mrs. Anthony John Blanda Sr. in Westerly, R.I. He graduated from Westerly High School. After high school, he joined and proudly served his country in the United States Coast Guard for 20 years. He served as the Officer-in-Charge of the Coast Guard Station, St. Simons Island, from 1983-1987. He retired in 1988 as a Senior Chief after being stationed in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thirty-two years after his change of command, you can still hear people who knew him best refer to him as “Senior Chief.” After his career in the Coast Guard, Tony became an instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – Driver Marine Division in Brunswick, Ga. He also volunteered as a boating safety instructor for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
In his personal life, Tony Blanda was a faithful parishioner of St. William Catholic Church for 37 years, where he served as an usher for 33 years. Additionally, he served on the church’s financial committee for a period of time. He committed a lot of his time to coaching his children’s sports teams. He actively participated as a Frederica Academy booster. He took a lot of pride being involved in his children’s and grandchildren’s activities.
Tony will forever be remembered by Gail Blanda, his loyal and devoted wife of almost 45 years. Throughout his five-year battle with melanoma cancer, Gail was his anchor and caregiver, and in his final days, he wanted his children and friends to know that he could not have picked a better life partner.
Tony Blanda’s life of uncompromised integrity and honesty will forever be embodied in the lives of his three children, Julie Brown, of Statesboro, Ga., Anthony and Kristen Blanda, of Suwanee, Ga., and Matt and Laura Eby, of Decatur, Ga.; five grandchildren, Brandon Jayson and Mikey Denarde, Anthony John and Jordan Robert and Dominic Matthew; mother, Dorothy Blanda, of Westerly, R.I.; brother, Michael Blanda (Wendy) of Gulf Breeze, Fla.; sisters, Sylvia Blanda-Young (Walter), of South Kingstown, R.I., Louise Wright (Bill), of Pawcatuck, Conn., and Diana Smith (Cliff), of Westerly, R.I. He is preceded in death by his father, Anthony John Blanda Sr. and brother, Samuel Ralph Blanda.
The Blanda Family would like to express their deepest gratitude to Dr. Yushak and the incredible staff at Emory Winship Cancer Institute for the additional precious time and memories we were able to enjoy these past few years. Tony Blanda did everything in life the right way, from son and brother to spouse, father, and grandfather, to patriot of a great nation. He loved God, family, and country in that order, and our love for him lives in our hearts forever.
Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent to Golden Isles Hospice, https://hospice.me/giving/remembering-a-loved-one/gifts-in-memory, and Emory Winship Cancer Institute, https://winshipcancer.emory.edu/support-winship/give/memorial-gifts.html.
Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, April 12, 2019, at Edo Miller Funeral and Sons Funeral Home, in Brunswick, Ga. The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13, 2019, at St. William Catholic Church, on St. Simons Island, Ga.
Edo Miller and Sons Funeral Home, www.edomillerandsons.com, is in charge of the arrangements.