Loving Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother and successful businessman, Anthony Jay Longo passed away December 2, 2010 in the comforting presence of his adoring family, after a courageous battle with lung cancer. Anthony was 71 years old.
Anthony was born February 5, 1939 in Los Angeles, CA to parents John and Shirley Longo. He grew up in San Gabriel, CA and was a stellar athlete in his youth. Known as “Tony Tuff”, he lettered in both football and track at Alhambra High School. His athletic prowess caught the attention of many college coaches, and he became the first in his family to attend a four year university, earning a football scholarship to UCLA.
Tony Tuff, #70, anchored the blind slide, playing left tackle for UCLA from 1958-60. He was especially proud of the Bruins 10-3 win over USC in 1959, in which his lead block led to the winning touchdown, and the return of the coveted Victory Bell to Westwood. Anthony was also a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at UCLA and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1961.
Anthony married his high school sweetheart, Geraldine Neilson, while attending UCLA, and the two began their wonderful lifelong journey together in Los Angeles after graduation, where Anthony began a successful fifty year career in the insurance industry. After his early success selling insurance in San Diego and Los Angeles, Anthony ventured out on his own and opened an insurance brokerage and financial services company. His company, AJ Longo & Associates, still thrives today in Pasadena, CA and is now run by his oldest child, son Blake Longo.
Anthony maintained a deep connection and loyalty to his alma mater UCLA. His generous financial contributions to the University and its athletic department was acknowledged many times over by UCLA, and his name can be found memorialized on many plaques and buildings throughout the campus. Anthony also contributed to numerous local organizations in Alhambra, San Gabriel and Pasadena, never forgetting the area in which he grew up and lived most of his adult life. His philanthropy also reached his many family members as he generously contributed to institutions such as the Pasadena Art Center, from which his oldest granddaughter Chelsea will be graduating later this month.
In addition to tinkering with his endless home improvement projects, Anthony’s favorite hobby was to take on professional challenges against great odds head on. Always attracted to a challenge, Anthony embraced with tenacity that for which others would not have the courage nor stamina to face, let alone even consider. One of his fondest quotes was by Theodore Roosevelt and truly embodied his incredible spirit, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Anthony is survived by his loving and devoted wife Geri; son Blake Longo and daughter-in-law Denise of La Canada, CA; daughter Tracy Rath and son-in-law Francis of Newport Beach, CA; daughter Julie Harder and son-in-law Jess of Balboa Island, CA; and daughter Erin Ochoa and son-in-law Chris of El Macero, CA. He is also survived by older brother Bob Longo and sister-in-law Lee of Cambria, CA and younger sister Rose Ann Melbon of Newport Beach, CA. His twelve grandchildren lovingly referred to Anthony as “Papa”. Papa’s memory and indelible impression upon their young lives will forever be carried in the hearts of Keegan, Griffin and Carina Longo; Jessy, Anthony and Willa Rath; Justin and Chloe Harder; Chelsea Rector; and, Shea, Paige and Brooks Ochoa.
Services will be held at Church of Our Saviour located at 535 West Roses Road, San Gabriel, CA 91775 on Thursday, December 9, 2010 at noon. A reception to celebrate Anthony’s life will follow at the San Gabriel Country Club located at 350 East Hermosa Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91775. Anthony will be laid to rest in Corona Del Mar, CA at Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary at a private family service.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Anthony’s remembrance can be made to the Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, JCCS UCLA, Factor Building Room 8-950, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1780, phone number (310) 206-0675.