It is with deep sadness that the members of the North Coast Fossil Club mourn the passing of longtime member and friend to all, Tony Verdi. Tony passed away on Friday, June 20, 2014.
Tony was born on February 25, 1924 to Rosina and Rosario Verdi. Tony was born and raised on Cleveland's West Side with his two brothers, Sebastian and John, and his sister, Mary.
Tony received his education in the Cleveland City Schools. He attended Longmead Elementary School and then graduated from John Marshall High School.
Tony proudly served his country in two wars, World War II and Korea. Tony was awarded The Silver Star for his actions in France during WWII. When asked to reflect upon his military service, Tony replied, "I was so thankful that I was able to go into two wars and come out in one piece".
When asked what was the most important thing that he accomplished in his service to his country, he replied that he helped liberate the Nazi Concentration Camp at Dachau in Germany in 1945.
Between World War II and Korea, Tony attended Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. He graduated from Baldwin Wallace with degrees in Biology, Health, and Physical Education. For 16 years he taught science at Byzantine Catholic High School. Tony later earned his Master's Degree in Guidance from Kent State University. He then worked as a guidance counselor for the Brunswick City Schools. During his long career in education, Tony received numerous awards and honors, including a "Teacher of the Year Award". In addition to his teaching and guidance duties, Tony coached a number of sports including Soccer, Track, Cross Country, Basketball, Football, and Wrestling.
Tony was the beloved husband of Becky for almost 51 years. They were married on July 14, 1963. Tony and Becky had 2 children, Mark who was born in 1964, and Alicia who was born in 1967. Tony and Becky mentioned with pride that Mark achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served his country in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They were also proud of the fact that their daughter Alicia and her husband both work for the United States Navy. Tony and Becky have 1 grandchild, Andrew.
During the 44 years that Tony and Becky lived in Hinckley, Ohio, Tony was very involved in a variety of activities. During his time as head usher at his church, Tony fondly recalls how he would check his watch and signal to his pastor if the sermon was too long.
A few years back, Tony used to garden.
In July of 1982, Dr. Shya Chitaley, a Paleobotanist at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, founded "The Fossil Society". This organization consisted of fossil collectors and enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds who met, collected, and shared their love of fossils. Tony not only participated in the organization, he took an active part in making it a success by devoting his time and efforts as an officer of the club. For 8 years, Tony took on the responsibility of being either a member-at-large, vice president, or president. Twice he was voted "member of the year".
In March of 1997, Tony and the other members of the Fossil Society formed a new club called the "North Coast Fossil Club" and became independent from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Tony continued to be active in this new organization. Along with being named "member of the year" and winning the "Chitaley Award" in the North Coast Fossil Club, Tony took on the responsibility and work involved in being an officer of the North Coast Fossil Club for 11 years.
Along with his duties as a club officer, Tony took on the responsibility of organizing, coordinating, and leading numerous field trips to collecting areas in Ohio and other states.
The members of the North Coast Fossil Club will never forget Tony's generosity. Numerous times throughout the years, Tony had very generously donated many beautiful and very desirable fossils to our club for fund raising purposes. These donated fossils were either from his own personal collection or they were fossils that he purposely purchased with the intent that they would be donated to the North Coast Fossil Club. We are all very grateful to Tony for his generosity and support of the North Coast Fossil Club over the years. His generosity and kindness knew no limits.
In 2010, The North Coast Fossil Club presented Tony with the "Special Lifetime Achievement Award". Tony was the first and only person to ever receive this award from the North Coast Fossil Club.
In addition to the time and effort that Tony devoted to the North Coast Fossil Club, Tony was also active in the Parma Lapidary Club. Tony was the "driving effort" behind the North Coast Fossil Club's support of the "Big One Show" sponsored by the Parma Lapidary Club. Tony also recalled that twice he was president of the Parma Lapidary Club while at the same time being president of the North Coast Fossil Club.
When asked, "Of all the fossils you ever found, which one was your favorite?" Tony replied that it was a conularid that he found many years ago in the same county where he lived - Medina, Ohio.
Friends called on Monday, June 23, at the Waite and Son Funeral Home, 3300 Center Road, Brunswick. Services were held on Tuesday, June 24, at Granger United Methodist Church, Granger, Ohio, with Pastor Doug Lewis Officiating.
Burial with Honors took place following the service at Beach Cemetery, Kellogg Road, Hinckley, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Hospice of Medina County, 5075 Windfall Road, Medina, Oh 44256 or Granger United Methodist Church, 1235 Granger Road, Medina, Oh 44256.