Anthony J. “Tony” Devorski of Helena died Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. He was 86. Tony was born on October 22, 1931 in Philadelphia, PA. His parents were Mary Keenen and Charles Devorski. His mother had recently arrived from Ireland and contracted tuberculosis and died shortly after Tony was born. She was in her 20s and Tony never knew her.
Tony lived in several foster homes growing up, running away often and living on the streets of Philadelphia during the Great Depression. He was protected by his compatriots whom he called “The Brothers” from his parish. One of his foster mothers was Mary Goldan of Philadelphia where he lived and was known as Tony Goldan, during those years. From 1948 to 1950, he worked at a dental lab in Philadelphia.
Then Tony enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 19 on March 25, 1950, just in time for the Korean War. He served for three years at Fort Dix, New Jersey, serving as a dental technician and in the cadre. He was honorably discharged on April 1, 1953 at Trenton, NJ.
After the war, he worked at a shoe store in Philadelphia where he met his life-long friend Dino Borghi, who had come in to buy shoes. Dino was a bass guitarist who played rock ‘n’ roll music, touring the East Coast in the late 1950s and early 1960s and Tony would frequently attend their musical gigs.
Tony was known for his fascination with fine shoes and good music. He was also known for his love of animals and alternative health care diets and treatments, including eating raw garlic cloves, several at a time, well before it may have become fashionable and leaving some people gasping. Tony also liked to experiment with exotic blood treatments, visiting a doctor regularly in Philadelphia to have his blood purified.
Dino also tells the story of when Tony invited him over to the Goldan’s house in the early 1950s for a good Irish supper. Mary Goldan cooked up a big batch of mashed potatoes, and they all - Dino, Mary, Tony and Tony’s stepbrother Ed – got into a potato fight, flicking mashed potatoes at each other with their spoons. Dino had to duck out of the way to avoid a face full of potatoes that night. Tony also taught Dino how to drive in Tony’s old Studebaker.
Tony would tell of his difficult times as a child in Philadelphia and of the time he was playing “two-hand-touch” football with his friends when he was 10 or 11. He went out for a pass and ran into a brick wall, striking his head and knocking him out cold.
Tony later began his career as a marketing representative in the airline industry, working for such companies as AIM Network Marketing in New York, Olympic Airways in Philadelphia and Japan Air, also in Philadelphia. This change in careers allowed Tony to travel around the world and fostered his desire to visit exotic places, including a special trip with friends in 1980 to Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea, where he fell in love with Korean cuisine. He still ate kimchee on a regular basis and his favorite Asian dish had to be egg foo yung which he would devour at Jade Garden regularly with no leftovers.
Tony also became very close with the Joseph and Helen Gredyk family of Philadelphia, regularly enjoying the great cooking of Helen and spending much time with their children, George, Charles, Bernadette and Marysusan. George and his mother Helen later moved to Montana and when Tony retired in the late 1990s, he came out to Montana to live with them, staying with Helen, George and his wife Vikki, and George’s son Nicholas and their beloved pet Weimaraner, “Sinatra”, named for his radiant blue eyes.
Tony would spend the rest of his life here, continuing with his penchant for trying out alternative nutritional supplements, entering sweepstakes and contributing to the causes he loved -- the care and wellbeing of animals, support groups for disabled veterans and law enforcement personnel.
Tony was predeceased by his dear friend George Gredyk and will be buried this spring near him at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison, Helena. Tony will be sorely missed by his survivors and good friends, including the exceptional staff at the Beehive Homes in Helena, the staff at the Veterans Hospital at Fort Harrison, his Helena friends Ted Scherf, Will Boland, Lasca Ravenhill and Julie Burrows, who also helped care for him the past couple of years, and his good friend Vikki Gredyk of California and Sue Smith, nee Gredyk, of Florida, Nicholas Gredyk of Minneapolis, John Paul Poelman of Helena and Dino Borghi of Doylestown, PA.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be donated in Tony’s name to the animal welfare organization of your choice or veterans or law enforcement support groups. Tony’s favorites were the “Little Shelter”, a national nonprofit organization to save abused and abandoned animals; “Help Hospitalized Veterans” of Winchester, CA: the “U.S. Deputy Sheriffs’ Association” of Merrifield, VA; the “Veterans Relief Network” of St. Louis; the “North Shore Animal League of America”, the “Healing Heroes Network”, and “The Coming Home Foundation” of Houston, TX, just to name a few.
A viewing will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Retz Funeral Home, 315 E. 6th Ave., Helena. Burial will take place at the Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison at later date and will be announced when arrangements are complete. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence or to share a memory of Tony.