Anthony was born on June 25, 1929 to Joseph and Frances Salzl (Hardes), and was raised on the family homestead about 8 miles north of Paradise Hill. He was the tenth of eleven siblings. On June 12, 1952 he married Shirley Chouinard and together they raised 5 children, Marcia, Keray, Cecilia, Laura and Keith. Anthony was a dedicated son, husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather, and friend to all.
In Marcia’s words, I couldn’t have had a better Dad. He was a man of few words but we always knew we were loved.
In Laura’s words: Dad was a quiet, compassionate, gentle soul with an intense love of God, Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He selflessly gave his time in service to others and the Church. He was our Our Lady of Sorrows unofficial tour guide, and one of the lay ministers for many years as well as a member of the Knights of Columbus. Though fiercely proud and independent, he was always humble. He instilled pride in us by sharing stories of his family’s humble beginnings, strong work ethic and struggles during the Depression. He seemed to be most content when his family, relatives and friends were all together sharing stories, music, laughter and food—his staples being potatoes, ice cream and sugar in any form. He was not only my favourite person but the best person I have ever known. I feel so blessed and privileged that I was able to call him “Dad” and will miss him ALWAYS.
Keith remembers Anthony silently supporting him at sporting events …always standing off to the side. He was willing to transport the kids to the “away games” in the old International Travelall. They always made it, even though well below the speed limit and with fairly rough ride to get there. He enjoyed these times with kids which was obvious by the friendships he made there, and also through the many years of driving school bus.
Anthony loved the camping and the outdoors. He used those horrible canvas tents that always leaked, even though there was a perfectly good bus or Travelall to sleep in. Then he bought a camper and the tents collected dust. Finally in his late 70’s he had a chance to tent again for four days on an island in the Churchill river system. He later said that he figured that was what real camping was all about. On this trip he possibly saved the lives of 8 people when a storm blew in on the river. With his fishing boat he carefully collected and towed to safety 3 righted canoes and one upset canoe with two paddlers clinging to it. He was calm and collected during the ordeal, never panicked. For this he was honoured by the First Nations community with an Eagle Feather. This is one of the highest honours a person can receive in the Indigenous Community.
Cecilia says: Dad had a generous heart which was demonstrated many times over. On a number of occasions when he encountered people in need, he would send them to the local restaurant and pay for their meal. For many years, including the early years when times were pretty lean, he and Mom sponsored missionary priests and families in developing countries. Dad took under his wing, and became like a surrogate father to his two widowed sisters-in-law’s children, and therefore they became like siblings to us, accompanying us to dig potatoes, pick berries or to enjoy the many lakes in the area. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need even when he was well into his 80’s when he would assist those “old” people in town in whatever manner he could. He definitely left us high standards to follow, but did not in any way seek fame for himself.
After Mom died, it became apparent that he loved to cook and bake. We did not realize it until that time since Mom had reigned as Queen of the Kitchen for the 61 years of their marriage. Over the last number of years his family, as well as anyone who happened to be there at mealtime, got to sample his many recipes of homemade soup, cream pies with whip cream of course, and even home canned fruit. His talents in the kitchen had apparently remained hidden for years!
Keray adds: Dad was a farmer first, then owned the lumberyard, was a school bus driver, and insurance agent. He worked in insurance first with his father-in-law, Gordon Chouinard, and then over time I joined him in the Agency and a little later his son-in-law Ron. It was a proud point that the insurance business had been in the family for 60 years. After work, Dad was an outdoorsman. He loved quadding, fishing, motorcycling, and berry picking. He could be seen riding his bicycle around town almost daily. The last few years he loved quadding in the bush, mainly for the weiner roast. Once he took off on Bob Hougham and I. We were at Bronson Lake and looked for him for hours. We skipped lunch, split up and kept looking. When they finally met up with him, he had been at Fishing for a weiner roast all by himself, so he could buy the black cherry ice cream from the store for dessert, He loved to fish too, but the last few years he fished with a huge green line and a couple of hooks, both on the same line. He seemed to enjoy just washing the hooks off and buying fish from the store later. He always said he caught his limit. He often commented that all the old characters like Henry Halbauer, Slim Armsworthy and many others are all gone now. I would just ask him who does he think he is if he’s not one of those old characters. He was a gifted musician and loved playing the accordion and violin until a few years ago. Then he enjoyed going to Raymond Maiers jam sessions.
Anthony always met people with a smile, and seemed to always gravitate to the youngest people in the group. It might be the baby, toddler or teenager. He usually just sat to the side and listened, often chuckling to himself.
His health started failing over the past two years but he had no intention of leaving his little house. Finally he had to move to the Paradise Hill Care Home, then to the Lodge in Maidstone and finally the Health Complex in St. Walburg. He made the best of wherever he was even though it was not home. The family would like to sincerely thank the staff of all three facilities for the excellent care he received while with them.
We were fortunate that Keray was able to be with him when he passed. They had a good visit, he had a last meal and a rosary in his hand and it was time to go.
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