Join us for a livestream event February, 27th, 2003 9:45 AM.
Tony met Barbara Ann Shultz in high school, and they began dating during their junior year. The time they spent together included going on long drives, watching movies, and having picnics. They married on August 7th, 1971, at St. Patrick Church in Kansas City, MO. Their deep love for one another was evident to all who met them, and they were inseparable throughout their 51 years of marriage. They started their family in 1974 after Tony finished his undergraduate studies. Together, they raised 6 children and provided for them a loving home built on a foundation of faith and love of God.
Tony had a long, successful career in sales, including 20 years at his family’s business, while Barbara stayed home and raised the family. He found his true calling as a Permanent Deacon when he was ordained in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph on May 27th, 2006. He served his ministry at St. Therese Parish in Parkville, MO, with Barbara at his side supporting him in every way he needed.
Tony had a passion and strong belief in the Sacrament of Marriage, and, along with Barbara, helped to prepare engaged couples for marriage in the marriage preparation program. They were both deeply involved with Worldwide Marriage Encounter, attending their first Weekend 42 years ago on February 20th, 1981. They served in this ministry together up to the present day.
In further service to the Church, in 2011, Tony became the Director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Under his leadership, the Office established mentor-based marriage preparation, improved Natural Family Planning education for engaged couples, increased awareness of World Marriage Day, created the Catholic Counselor list, and made strides in normalizing marriage enrichment throughout the Archdiocese through the Joyful Marriage Project. These accomplishments strengthened marriage and paved the way for parish-based relationship ministry.
His greatest treasure was his family, who he loved unconditionally and enjoyed spending his time. His children and eleven grandchildren held a special place in his heart, and he would do anything to ensure they felt loved. They all felt his love, even in the little things, such as phone calls and texts containing funny videos and bad dad jokes. When one of them needed advice or someone to talk to, he would drop everything to be there for them, regardless of the time of day (even when Amy habitually called at 2AM). He did everything he could to attend every extracurricular event, despite the number of events and those that required travel.
He and the family embarked on many road trips across the country, requiring everyone to load up in the station wagon or giant van. Most were to visit family in Pennsylvania, but there were other adventures on which he and Barbara brought everyone along, including trips to Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida, and South Dakota. Each trip was filled with music on “mix tapes” made from the home record collection containing songs from John Denver (one of Tony’s favorite artists), Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens, showtunes, but also songs from the Glory and Praise hymnal. When he began to sing, everyone would often sing along with him or laugh when he got really into the music and acted out the songs.
He loved getting the family together to watch Star Wars, Star Trek, classic movies, or old Westerns. On Sundays after Mass, you could find the family gathered in front of the TV watching a marathon of The Three Stooges. It was not uncommon for him to play a record on the stereo and sing along, sometimes wildly dancing in the kitchen to “If I Were A Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof, which became a family favorite to witness. He enjoyed passing his love of the Royals and Chiefs down to his kids and grandkids, especially when he could round everyone up to attend a game. He was always trying to find fun activities that he could take part in with his kids, like bowling, fishing, and going on nature walks. He was also very passionate about history, especially the Civil War, and loved sharing this passion with his family. He rarely missed an opportunity to turn even the most mundane event into an opportunity to teach and share his knowledge.
After the pandemic began, staying connected to the family remained very important to him. It became a tradition for them to meet one night a week on Zoom. At the end of each call, he led the family in prayer and gave special blessings to all to help them prepare for the week ahead.
He always made it a point to stay in touch with his siblings via phone calls, text messages, and sometimes video calls. He was famous for his pranks, especially ones he pulled on his sisters. For instance, after one of his sisters had moved out of state, he called her, pretending to be unaware that she had moved, and said, “I’m at your house and I need gas! Where are you?” This prank was unsuccessful because, as was typical, he gave himself away because he could not stop laughing at his own joke.
He led a very full life and will be dearly missed by many. Everyone who had the opportunity to be a part of his life is better because of it. He was incredibly generous and selfless to those with whom he crossed paths, providing money, food, and other resources they needed. The example he set by caring for all people, no matter who they are or their situation, is truly one to be admired and emulated.
Tony is preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Beth Spencer, and brother-in-law, Robert Edgell. He is survived by his loving wife, Barbara; children, Jessica (Douglas) Phillips, Laura Zimmerman, Rebecca Zimmerman, Christina (Calvin) Lenz, Amy (Travis) Taylor, and Tim (Erin) Zimmerman; grandchildren, Jake, Maddie, Ashley, Emily, Michael, A.J., Noah, Matthew, Aiden, Chloe, and Jax; siblings, Richard (Margaret) Zimmerman, David (Jan) Zimmerman, Theresa (Jim) Johnson, Karen Edgell, John Zimmerman, Mary (Joseph R) Edmiston, Roy Jr. (Sherri) Zimmerman, and brother-in-law Lance Spencer.
The family will receive friends and loved ones for visitation on Sunday, February 26th, 2023, at St. Therese Catholic Church at 7207 N MO-9, Kansas City, MO 64152 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The Rosary will be prayed at the conclusion of the service. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Therese Catholic Church at 10:00 AM on Monday, February 27th, 2023, with Rev. Joseph Cisetti as the principal celebrant. The Committal Service will follow at Resurrection Cemetery at 5001 NE Cookingham Dr, Kansas City, MO 64156. Memories of Tony and condolences to the family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com.