Gathering with sharing service
Saturday, August 25, 2018
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM EDT
Heritage Life Story Funeral Homes
Alt & Shawmut Chapel
2120 Lake Michigan Dr., N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
The gathering will start at 1 PM with a short service allowing those who want to publicly speak and share a memory or brief thought.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Marine Corp Coordinating Council of Outstate Michigan
7786 Bluebird Drive
Jenison, MI 49428
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Antone “Tony” Blahnik would agree that there was no one quite like him. He was more quiet and reserved, but he was a very loyal friend to a handful of people he enjoyed spending time with. It was easy to see the love that Tony had for his family, and his devotion to his wife and daughters was unmatched. Always willing to work hard, he gave whatever he was doing his all whether at work or around his home. Although Tony will be deeply missed, he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The 1950s were an exciting time in America. This was the decade when we elected the young John F. Kennedy as our 35th President of the United States and also when civil rights came to the forefront when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. This was also a year to remember in the lives of Antone Theodore and Ellen (Margetta) Blahnik as they announced the birth of the baby boy they named Antone Joseph on October 21, 1954, in Carney, Michigan, located in the Upper Peninsula. Joining two older sisters in the family, he was the third of nine children and the oldest boy.
Growing up on a dairy farm made a significant impact on Tony. He had lots of chores and learned the value of hard work. Their home was always a bustle of activity, and when they all got together there was always a colorful story to share. One of the best stories was when a potato broke through the car window and there was also the time they painted the interior of a car with tar. Tony had a cow, Sanchez, that he would often lie against, but he also ended up with lice as a result. He started school in Carney where he also played basketball, but the family later moved to the West Side of Grand Rapids. They always said even working two jobs here was easier than being on the dairy farm. Tony graduated from Union High School where he was known as a shy and quiet person.
Throughout his life Tony was one to work hard. He spent several years working at Clark Equipment, although they changed names and owners several times. Tony then worked as a truck driver, delivering gas canisters and supplies for Grand Rapids Welding Supply for many years. While with Grand Rapids Welding, he had primarily local routes, but in later years, with another company he had long routes that took him to the Upper Peninsula. Tony occasionally stayed overnight, but he would rather be at home so he often left at 4 a.m. so he would get home around 9 p.m. He loved listening to talk radio while driving.
Not to be forgotten during his years at Clark Equipment was his introduction to Patricia English. They were married in 1979, and over the next eight years their family grew to include their two daughters, Nichole and Ashley. Although the marriage didn’t last, Tony remained an active part of his daughters’ lives. He took them on a few long summertime road trips, traveling by car to see relatives as far as Washington and then on the same trip they also went down to Texas. Tony could be strict as a father, but the love he had for his daughters was easy to see. Although he could cook, it was usually cream of mushroom soup with a can of this or that and some venison from the freezer.
New and exciting changes were in store for Tony when he met Lisa (Folkertsma) Clifton at the Triangle Bar. She had gone there to see her sister, but when Tony saw her walk in he was smitten. Their relationship took time to develop since he was very shy, but Lisa took the initiative when she heard that he was interested. They married in 2002, and she brought her two children into Tony’s life as well. Tony was a bit of a homebody, and he was also a fairly decent handyman. He loved having his floors highly polished with lots of polyurethane
so that you could see your reflection in it. Tony was into gardening for a time as he kept the rose garden when he moved in. When he got home from work, he most often found his way to the couch to watch some television. Tony loved Westerns, hunting shows, sports, and more recently MMA matches.
Tony was a man of many interests. He loved his Harley’s, and he was always working on them - even in the kitchen. Once the girls moved out each bike had its own bedroom. Tony enjoyed several motorcycle trips with friends including one just this past June to North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Highway. For many years he also loved deer hunting and visiting new hunting areas. Tony loved hot food and put Franks Red Hot on everything, and he also love ice cream. He figured washing his ice cream bowl was silly since he would use it again the following day anyway. Tony just put it in the freezer until tomorrow. He learned to be frugal while growing up, so Tony never let anything go to waste, even if it meant that he ate burned food or food that was past its expiration date. It has been said that he even rationed toilet paper to three squares! Tony was also a creature of habit, doing his “cool down time” routine as he got up at 4 a.m. during the summer so he could open the windows to cool the house down. Then he closed them before the sun came up. Tony loved music, especially rock and classic rock, and over the years he went to several concerts. Some of his favorites were Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and Santana. He enjoyed being home, but he also jumped at the chance to go on a trip with close friends including a hunting trip to the UP with a friend.
Anyone who knew Tony also knew that life was a struggle at times. He battled depression, which he often dealt with using alcohol. A couple of years ago Tony had a stroke, and this had lasting effects and pain that was difficult to manage. He and Lisa were also forced to change their plans, and his depression only became increasingly worse.
Hardworking, dependable, and an all around good guy, Antone “Tony” Blahnik was a special person to his family and friends. He was someone who was always there, and his love for his family was unwavering. Deeply loved, Tony will be forever missed.
Antone "Tony" Blahnik, age 63 of Wyoming, passed away August 14, 2018. He was preceded in death by his parents, Antone and Ellen Blahnik. Tony is survived by his wife, Lisa; daughters Nichole (Mark) Messing, Ashely (Shawn) Patterson; stepchildren Courtney (Sarah) Clifton and Jeanne (Willie Taylor) Clifton; grandchildren Madeline, Mason, Nolan, Jacob, Allie, Ameerah, Willie Jr., Jayce; sisters and brothers Nancy Blahnik, Suzy Blahnik, Jeff (Ruth) Blahnik, Ron (Jill) Blahnik, Kathy Weirengo, Matt (Michelle) Blahnik, Scott (Susan) Blahnik, and Ruth Blahnik; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law Betsy (Bruce) Vugteveen, Ken (Kate) Folkertsma; as well as many nieces and nephews. His family will receive visitors at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW on Saturday, August 25, 2018 from 1-3:30 PM with a brief time of public sharing that will begin at 1 PM. To read more about Tony's life, to share a memory or to sign his guestbook, visit www.lifestorynet.com