I remember calling his phone number and I asked, “Can I speak to Tony J?”, thinking that I had the wrong number. That iconic voice that I was so used to associating with Tony was gone and at that moment I knew things weren’t going to be the same.
Tony and I became friends. The best conversations we had were about life and fatherhood even though we had backgrounds in music and entertainment.
I got an opportunity to get to know the man that was behind the microphone; the strength that it took to become a single father after your child’s mother has passed away. Just watching him hold his family together trying to raise his two boys and his baby girl who I know he loved tremendously; he would jokingly say how hard headed they were. He loved them.
He was a brilliant host, he was a role model he was a great example of a St. Louis celebrity. He was a celebrity even before he got here. We’re [all] lucky that we got a chance to witness his light and gift. I’m really glad that I got a chance to thank him and that I got a chance to acknowledge how much his existence benefited my life.
Tony was genuinely funny, everything that came out of his mouth… every word that he would say, facial expression, references he would make, jokes he would crack were just hilarious.
Visiting him in the hospital was hard looking at him deal with such pain was very difficult. A man that had so much energy and spark and fire. Our last hug was something I’ll never forget, He hugged me like a proud father, he hugged me like a family member, he hugged me like he was saying goodbye.
We told each other that we loved each other and I promised that I would be back to come and see him again. I made one more hospital visit before he decided to go back home.
Tony was an awesome friend and it sucks that I’ll never receive another phone call from him and the only time I will hear his voice is inside my heart and soul, but I know that he’s in a better place. I know that he has a tremendous reward awaiting him in heaven for all the lives that he changed while he was here on earth.
Once I got knowledge of his passing I couldn’t find any tears I couldn’t find any sadness. All I found was a peace in my spirit and a relief in my mind that he’s no longer in pain. I couldn’t imagine what he was dealing with on a day-to-day basis just doing the simplest things.
The man, the legend, the voice, the icon will be forever remembered for many things. Job well done sir See you in heaven Wayyyyy in the Back.