Courageous, family-oriented, strong, loving
Loud, handsome, and boisterous, with a brilliant smile, everyone knew when Anthony entered a room. He loved his family and was close to his nephews and sisters Alecs and Savannah. Anthony moved in with Savannah and her boyfriend, Ryan, when he was 16. They did everything together. It was a safe environment, and they offered Anthony good advice.
Full of life and a protector of the underdog, Anthony fought to defend anyone who couldn’t defend themselves, never considering the consequences to himself. Neglected as a child and under little supervision, Anthony watched out for himself at an early age, packing his own lunches and walking alone to school. He started using marijuana and doing mushrooms at nine. His mother, Jennifer, in recovery now for 16 years, regained full custody of Anthony when he was 13. She enrolled the family in a wraparound program that included counseling and Anthony got sober for the first time for one year.
Anthony was an accomplished skateboarder and at 15 received a sponsorship. It was short-lived, as it was contingent on not drinking and he couldn’t comply. A talented surfer from an early age, Anthony had no fear on his board. As a small child, he would be in enormous waves surfing with older kids and adults, earning the name “Mini Squid.”
Anthony and his mom went to lunch, to the beach, and camping. Birthdays and holidays were big celebrations. Anthony always stayed overnight with his mom for Thanksgiving and looked forward to mounding huge amounts of her famous garlic mashed potatoes on his plate. Another favorite memory was when Anthony awakened his mom and nephews and bundled in blankets to view a rare snowfall.
Anthony worked building houses with his dad, doing some plastering and other labor. “Anything he put his mind to, he excelled at,” Jennifer said. “He was so talented; it was a shame he chose the streets and his friends over the things he could have accomplished.” Understanding Anthony’s struggles with substance use disorder, the two had a strong bond. She went to every court date and visited him three times a week when he was in juvenile hall. “He didn’t really have a chance,” she said. “By the time I got custody of him, it was probably too late, though I never gave up on him. He suffered a lot of traumas.”
About a month before Anthony died, he told his mom he had a surprise for her but wouldn’t tell her what it was. She later learned he had enrolled in school and was going to graduate. His diploma was presented to her at the graduation ceremony, where a moment of silence was observed.
“I was always scared something was going to happen to my son. I didn’t expect it would be fentanyl poisoning,” his mom said. “He was an honorable young man, a friend to the end. I know my path will take me to see him again.”
Jennifer has a large sleeve tattoo of Anthony and his writing on her arm. His ashes are in the ink. She misses having morning coffee outdoors together, and his long bear hugs that made her feel safe. She spends the anniversary of Anthony’s death and his birthday camping with friends and putting flowers in the ocean to honor him.
Anthony’s mother, Jennifer White, provided the information for this narrative.
May 26, 1998-May 2, 2017
Age 18-Lived with the disease of addiction for nine years.