N.B.** In the interest of public safety and based upon New York State and Federal guidelines, the planned Memorial Party Saturday March 28 at American Legion Post #950, has been postponed . We shall publish additional details as they become available. Thank you for your thoughts & prayers.
Military honors will be offered on Wednesday at 11:30am at the E B Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main Street Phoenicia.
Tony was born to the late Gilbert and Edith (Cenci) Motti on Adelphi Street in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn on June 17, 1927. He lived for all of his youth in Fort Greene, where as a young man he participated in Boy Scouts, for which he developed a lifelong love, boxed in the Saturday night matches, attended Bishop Loughran High School and eventually went to work at the Brooklyn Navy Yard as an apprentice electrician. He was drafted into the Army on his 18th birthday, and served in Europe, returning to the Navy Yard afterward. In 1949 he married Adele Paganucci. In 1954 he joined the Fire Department of the City of New York, spending his entire career in Brooklyn firehouses, including the City’s famous Rescue 2, where he worked the Park Slope airplane crash and the USS Constellation fire, both occurring within days of each other in December, 1960. Tony was also a scoutmaster, and often took his troop camping in Sullivan and Ulster Counties. He retired from the Fire Department after almost exactly twenty years, in 1974, as a captain. He was also divorced in that year, though his former wife survives him.
Tony left the City and took up residence in a vacation cabin he owned in Woodland Valley, in Phoenicia, where he hunted, fished, hiked, skied and generally had a lot of fun. He opened the Soft Spot, an ice cream store and luncheonette, around 1975, and ran it seasonally for the next ten years. All of his children worked there from time to time. The door was always open to local law enforcement, and at one time he was known informally as the mayor of Phoenicia. During this time, and after he sold the Soft Spot, Tony became a founding member and served as president of the Shandaken Theatrical Society; was a Paul Harris fellow and past president of the Phoenicia Rotary, a member of the Phoenicia and Upper Esopus Fish and Game Associations and kept up with the Boy Scouts by accompanying Shandaken Troop 60 on its Great Adventure cross-country bus trip in the early 90’s. He traveled to Yugoslavia, Italy, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Israel, Egypt, and Kenya, went sailing in the Caribbean and visited California, Hawaii, Alaska, Wyoming and even did a little snowbirding in Florida. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and past commander of Shandaken VFW Post 2837, and a member of Post 950 of the American Legion, where he held several positions.
Tony loved interacting with people. He could—and would—talk to anyone and usually make a friend. He had many.
Tony died on February 24, 2020, at the age of 92. He is survived by his children Steven Motti and his wife Julia of Mt. Tremper; Diane Motti McWilliams and her husband Don, of Canandaigua and Joan Motti McWilliams and her husband Paul of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. He had five grandchildren, Andrew McWilliams, Christopher Motti, Diana Motti, Lauren McWilliams and Dacia McWilliams. Also surviving is his longtime companion, Catherine Charuk.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Tony is planned for the near future. You may share a special memory with the family on Tony's Tribute Wall at gormleyfuneralhome.com The family suggests memorial contributions may be made to the American Legion Post #950 at 1045 Veteran's Way Phoenicia 12464.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Anthony Motti, please visit our floral store.