MyStoryYourStory: Indulgence on the passing of a friend

Two words: Philadelphia Indulgence. Two more words: dark chocolate. Whoever came up with the recipe for dark chocolate cream cheese at Kraft Foods should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for calming my morning sweet tooth.

Add to their mantle the Academy Award for best drama, since the creative director of this new delectably delicious spread infused lots of drama into a mundanely plain breakfast bagel.

Needless to say, when I first sank my teeth into it, I thought I’d died and gone directly to dark chocolate heaven. The flavor? Divine. The texture? Angelic.

I rarely stray from my regimen of oats, veggies, fruit, soy milk, little to no flour or sugar products, light, very light on cheese. Rarely, if ever, do I splurge on bagels and cream cheese.

But today was different. When I opened the fridge this morning, the banana bread a friend baked was sitting right next to Chocolate Philadelphia Indulgence. With fresh banana on the counter, I couldn’t resist putting them all together in a chocolate sundae banana bread breakfast.

I can’t begin to tell you how uncharacteristic this was for me. Very unusual. My only excuse is that it has not been a normal week. My brother-in-law, Tony, 65, died from complications of pneumonia in Vancouver, Wash.  Tony and I had a lot in common: both of us writers and former English teachers, we shared a similar view of our canine pets as fur children, our love for chocolate and our passion for the written wordNo matter how long it had been since we last spoke on the phone or saw each other in person, we always were on the same page. Kindred spirits, as my sister puts it.

There was no funeral or visitation. Tony was cremated. A celebration of life is being planned for a later date. My sister Anita, Tony’s wife, asked me to wait to visit her until after the birth of our fourth grandchild, due any day now. She also requested that I draft Tony’s obituary.

Even though I’ve been writing articles for newspapers since 1982, I’ve never composed an obituary.  Honored to be asked, I spent the following days pulling together Tony’s life, all of which would be laid out for viewing in his hometown paper, Asbury Park, N.J., Press, and the Vancouver Chronicle, like this…

Author and educator Antony “Tony” C. Anjoubault, 65, formerly of Asbury Park, N.J., died peacefully due to complications of pneumonia on Jan. 29, 2013.

Born in Trenton, N.J., on Sept. 2, 1947, Tony graduated from Asbury Park High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in education from C.W. Post College, Brookville, L.I., N.Y. and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, N.J. 

During and since his many years of teaching English at Tinton Falls, N.J., School, he was a deeply perceptive mentor, whose sensitive spirit never ceased to enlighten and transform the lives of his students, friends and family.

After retiring from education, Tony pursued a second master’s degree in psychology from California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks. As a liver transplant survivor of 22 years, Tony authored “Racing Against Time – Surviving an Organ Transplant and Living a Healthy Life,” which is available at www.tonysracingagainsttime.com. His book is a true account of Tony’s battle to survive with progressive liver disease despite ever mounting obstacles. After receiving the gift of life, he was considered among the longest living liver transplant recipient. The book includes a Foreword by actor Jim Nabors and Personal Note by famed tennis champion Chris Evert. 

While Tony’s first love was teaching, his volunteer work to offer help and healing at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, in Vancouver, Wash., was a close second.

Tony is survived by his wife of 32 years, Anita Bosco Anjoubault, his English Springer Spaniel, Hershey, both of Camas; his brother and sister-in-law René and Theresa Anjoubault, nieces Kacie Anjoubault and Rebecca Anjoubault, all of Oakhurst, N.J. Tony also left behind many loving family members and friends. 

He was preceded in death by his mother, Maria R. Anjoubault, his adoptive father, Gabriel E.  Anjoubault, his grandmother, Magda Stefanovic, and his beloved English Setter, Ruskin, and English Springer Spaniel, Danner.

A narrative compass for all who had the good fortune of knowing him, Tony’s quick wit and sense of humor always managed to capture the irony and poetry in life. He will be deeply missed.

After finalizing the obituary proofs and completing the payments I was overcome with grief. Thanking the obituary coordinators at both papers, and then saying goodbye carried a mournful finality for which I was not prepared.

So here I sit with my fur children in my lap, writing this column, while enjoying the last bite of my Chocolate Philadelphia Indulgence banana bread sundae. All I can say is Tony would be proud.

 

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