Our beloved father, Anthony “Tony” James Engel, Sr. passed away peacefully on January 17, 2024.
Born in a converted boxcar in Gettysburg, South Dakota to John and Frances Engel in March of 1933, Tony was the sixth of nine children. He is survived by two siblings, Theresa Kirby and Edward (Grace), his four children, Gerri (Peter), Linda, Christi (Bill) and Tony, Jr. (Martha) as well as six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
A Depression-era baby, dad knew hard work and hardship from a young age. But he also knew the love and closeness of his family, and grew up with an appreciation for humor and learning. A faithful Catholic, he briefly attended seminary in Iowa. He went to Hoven High School and then went on to college at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD. His college education was interrupted by a stint in the United States Air Force, and the G.I. Bill helped him pay for the remainder of his education. He and his brother, Lawrence, who joined the Marines, left home for boot camp on the same day. He served in Okinawa during the Korean War.
Upon returning he was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, MD, and met his wife-to-be Virginia “Ginny” Doyle. They married in Maryland in June of 1955 and returned to Aberdeen, where Tony completed his bachelor's degree. While living on campus, he and Ginny had two children — Gerri and Linda. With a degree and two babies in hand, he and Ginny returned to Maryland and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He worked as a high school History and English teacher and briefly for Giant Food. He supplemented his income by working as a photo finisher at various racetracks in Prince George's County.
During this time, Christi and Tony were born. Dad then went on to a lifelong career as a civil servant for the U.S. government. He worked for the National Archives, the Administrative Offices of United States Courts, and the Federal Judicial Center. As a systems analyst and a senior court analyst, he assisted in the vast project of computerizing the courts records and processes. He retired in the early 1990s and he and Ginny divorced in 1987. Tony volunteered in his parish and in his community. He and Ginny ran the elementary school CCD for several years. Tony was a member of the Knights of Columbus, where he was of service to those in need. He loved sports, and excelled at many of them throughout his life.
He played softball with the Knights of Columbus for many years, creating a bond not only among his teammates but with their extended families. He loved to play horseshoes, and spent many a Sunday by first attending mass, playing a game of softball and then following that up with an afternoon at the horseshoe pits. Later in life, he was a passionate golfer. Dad taught himself to make apple pies, and became well known for this specialty. In fact, we would beg him to make them. Dad was also an avid reader, especially of thrillers and mysteries. His collection of books was spread on bookcases throughout his home, and even cataloged on index cards. He did the Washington Post crossword every day. His love of reading and crossword puzzles has been passed down to his children and his grandchildren. His first grandchild, Eric, was born in 1980 and he doted on him, as he did all of his grandchildren. Eric was followed by Lee, Jessica, Cole, Ashley and Ginger.
Dad was a people person, striking up conversations and friendships with people wherever he went. In retirement, he created community for himself by daily frequenting his favorite restaurants, where he was known to the staff and customers alike. We’d be remiss not to mention Bob Evan’s, where he ate breakfast every day. He rotated what he ordered by day of the week — and the wait staff knew his daily orders by heart. He was generous and kind to those he met, setting an example that we have all done our best to emulate.
Dad ended his days at Kekeli Assisted Living, where he was cared for by Bertha Parbey, and her staff. Dad will be interred with Military Honors at The Maryland Veterans Cemetery located in Cheltenham, MD.
Donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in lieu of flowers, please follow the link below;