By William S. Bike
Anthony Valentino, Gazette Chicago circulation manager, passed away June 20 at age 75 after a valiant battle with leukemia.
During his career Mr. Valentino also worked as a butcher in Fulton Market, laborer, and truck driver.
“He was with Gazette Chicago nearly from the very start, driving one of the circulation routes along with our dad,” said his brother, Gazette Chicago editor and publisher Mark Valentino. “After the recession of 2008, Anthony came to me with a strategy to reduce circulation costs. He felt he could reduce the number of delivery teams on the street from three to one. He was able to combine the routes and proved within one month that he could handle the job with two of our best circulation helpers and he as the driver.
“Since that time, he was the only driver, delivering to some 600 stops in ten different neighborhoods. He loved driving for the newspaper even though we both knew his back was hurting badly in recent years from arthritis that had set in after his career as a butcher, and he would be hurting for several days afterward. And he did this in below zero weather and 100-degree heat.
“Anthony got tremendous joy when his grandson Gerard, started helping and my son, Christopher, joined in, too. Anthony loved having the boys with him all day.”
Mr. Valentino grew up on the Near West Side and attended Notre Dame de Chicago Church and Academy.
During the Vietnam War era, Mr. Valentino served in the U.S. Army for two years. “Seeing Anthony in that uniform redefined for me what a hero was,” said his brother, Michael Valentino.”
Mr. Valentino was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks. He enjoyed Italian food, a good cigar, and watching movies with his family.
“One of his favorite movies was Field of Dreams, in which the Shoeless Joe Jackson character, as he is leaving the pristine baseball diamond hewn out of the corn field that Kevin Costner’s character owned, asks, ‘Is this Heaven?” Mark Valentino said in his eulogy for his brother.
Like the feeling of heavenly bliss that Shoeless Joe felt underneath his feet on that baseball field in Iowa, “Wherever Anthony went, that three-foot by three-foot space between his feet was his Heaven on Earth, because he found joy and love in the faces and embraces of his beloved family and friends.”
Brother Randy Valentino said that Anthony “was the hardest working and most generous husband and father he knew.”
Son Anthony Jr. said, “He taught me how to be a man. How to play catch, tie a tie, take on new responsibilities.”
Daughters Renee and Deanna recalled that their father would give up his second week of vacation at Christmastime for the money instead so they could have everything they wanted under the Christmas tree.
Grandson Gerard recalled that Mr. Valentino never missed any of his and his siblings’ important sporting events.
He is survived by his wife, Diane “Dee Dee” (nee Phillips); children Deanna (Kenny Kulovitz), Renee (Gerard) Quimque, and Anthony (Kelly nee Halloran); grandchildren Gerard, Nicholas, and Michael Quimque; brothers Randy (Fran), Michael (Theresa), and Mark (Carmen); in-laws Darlene (Jimmy) Smith, Lou (Nancy) Phillips, Marianne (Vince) Scarlatta, and many nieces, nephews, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, the late Ralph and Della (nee Taglia) Valentino and his wife’s parents, Balbo and Sarah (nee Covelli) Phillips, and brother-in-law Michael Phillips. A Mass of the Resurrection was at Our Lady of the Holy Family Parish (Notre Dame de Chicago Church). Interment is at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.
Editor’s note: To read Mark Valentino’s eulogy about his brother, Anthony, click here.