Anton “Tony” Tasich, the longtime owner ofÂ Anton’s Coffee Shop,Â “left this earth in a happy mood” on Jan. 17 at age 88,Â according to his obituary.Â
Tasich, who was beloved for his storytelling, humor and zest for life, had survived both prostate cancer and lung cancer since the early 2000s, a 2017 News-Leader story said, and he gave part of the credit for his cancer remission to staying positive. Each cancer was discovered in stage 4, meaning itÂ had spread to other organs or parts of the body.Â
“If I can impart a positive attitude out there, that has made my day,” Tasich told the News-Leader in 2017 after he was invited to Texas to speak about his cancer survival.
Tasich was born Oct. 12, 1931 in Omaha, Nebraska, and spent his entire career in food service.
He moved to Springfield in 1966Â to operate food services at Heerâs Department Store. In 1969 he was running the kitchen at the Colonial Hotel and Crowe’s Sycamore Inn, according to a Facebook post by local history expert Richard Crabtree.Â
On April Fools’ Day 1974, Tasich and wife Roberta opened Anton’s Coffee Shop atÂ 937 S. Glenstone Ave., and the restaurant became his pride and joy.Â
Hanging on the walls, along with old pots and pans,Â were menus Anton had collected from other restaurants around the country,Â long before, in anticipation of opening his own place.Â
âYou are coming into my home when you come in here,” he told the News-Leader’s Steve Pokin in 2015, while also setting the columnist straight on how his first name was pronounced:Â It’s “Ann-tone,” not “Ant-on.”
“People also call me Anthony, or Tony or Antoine,” he was quoted as saying.Â “I don’t care.”
Tasich, who attributed the onset of his lung cancer to decades of exposure to secondhand smoke in the restaurant business, was a leading advocate for a sweeping indoor smoking ban passed by Springfield voters in 2011. Antonâs was the second restaurant to go smoke-free, before the ordinance ever passed, his obituary said.
He was active in the community and was a member ofÂ Downtown Kiwanis, United Masonic Lodge No. 5, Abou Ben Adhem Shrine MosqueÂ and Twin Oaks Country Club, where he enjoyed golf, regular card games with his friends, and numerous social activities, especially if he could dance, according to his obituary.
He had his pilotâs license andÂ was known by many as âTootsie Roll Man,â as he always had a pocket full to hand out wherever he went, his obituary said.
In the 2017 News-Leader story, Tasich expressed gratitude to his parents, the late John and Mary Tasich, for instilling him with a positive attitude.Â
“They are my heroes,” he said.
Services for Anton TasichÂ
A visitation will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday with funeral services and Masonic services following at 12:30 p.m. at Kingâs Way United Methodist Church, 2401 S. Lone Pine Ave.Â Graveside services, with full military honors will follow at 2Â p.m. at the Missouri State Veterans Cemetery, Springfield, under the direction of J.D. Lee and Sons Funeral Home, Rogersville.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Kingâs Way United Methodist Church, 2401 S. Lone Pine, Springfield, MO 65804 or Masonic Home of Missouri, 6033 N. Masonic Dr. Ste A, Columbia, MO 65202. Online condolences may be made at www.jdleeandsons.com.
Read or Share this story: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2020/01/19/anton-tasich-owner-antons-coffee-shop-dies/4517804002/