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Obituary: Gasperino, Anthony A.

GASPERINO, Anthony A. “Tony”
1917 - 2012

Tony Gasperino was born on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1917, in Missoula, Montana, the second child of Frank and Angela (Bucciol) Gasperino. Frank had immigrated in 1908 from Istrana, Italy. Tony’s older brother, Albert, is deceased and his sister, Mary Gorton, is currently living in Kalispell, Montana. Tony grew up in a railroad section house in DeSmet, a few miles west of Missoula. He attended a nearby one-room school house through eight grades, went three years to Loyola High School and one year to Missoula County High School. After working for the NP R.R. and highway construction, he attended the University of Montana. In 1938 he graduated from the university’s School of Pharmacy and practiced in Hamilton and Butte, Montana until 1940 when he enlisted in the Navy as a Pharmacist Mate. He subsequently received an officer’s commission as a Lieutenant. In 1943, he married his beloved “Junie”, June Harkins of Butte, Montana and they enjoyed life together until her death in 2005.

He served five years active duty during World War II, with three of those years in the South Pacific as a gunnery officer aboard the battleship, USS California, and twenty years in active Reserve. He retired as a Commander in the Medical Service Corps. While on board the California, he participated in naval actions in the Marianas, the Philippines (including Leyte Gulf, the historic night naval battle of Surigao Straight, and Lingayen Gulf where the ship was struck by a kamikaze), Okinawa, and the East China Sea.

After the war, Tony settled in Billings, Montana and in 1951 moved to Spokane. In Billings he began a thirty-four year career with Wyeth Laboratories as a salesman and District Manager in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. He was a member of Assumption parish and a former member of St. Francis of Assisi parish. He was volunteer for the House of Charity and the Assumption Retired Men’s Club and a member of the Retired Officer’s Association. After retiring, Tony began fixing lawn mowers for his neighbors for nominal sums, which he gave to the House of Charity. Compassion was part of his daily life. He donated generously to Catholic charities, especially native American organizations in Montana, Alaska, and the Dakotas.

Always the life of the party, Tony was never happy unless those around him were offered food and drink (“Can I get you a blast?”), engaged in vibrant discussion and ready to play poker. But woe to the player who chose to talk instead of dealing the cards. He and June took great pride in being with their children, grand and great-grandchildren, and served as powerful examples of the strength of faith and family. He is survived by his four children, Tony and Shari Gasperino, Bill and Kathie Gasperino, Rick and Jeannie Gasperino, Patti (Gasperino) Nichols; eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the House of Charity in Spokane.

A Vigil Service will be at 7:30 PM on Thursday, October 11 at the funeral home. Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 AM on Friday, October 12 at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Catholic Church, 3264 W. Indian Trail. He will be interred with military honors at Holy Cross Cemetery. Please visit Tony’s memorial and leave a message for the family at Arrangements have been entrusted to