Anthony “AJ” John Alfano
unknown - December 22, 2012
Anthony (Tony) Alfano died Dec. 22, 2012 at the age of 78. He was born in the Bronx, N.Y. to Alice and Francesco Alfano and grew up in a large Italian family. He was the loving father of five children: Elissa (Ron), Frank (Leslie), Stephen (Karen), Patty, and Bethanne (Dave). He was adored by his seven grandchildren: Matthew, Mark, Lindsay, Nicholas, Hannah and two other granddaughters. He also leaves behind his devoted fiancee Diana Messmer, who lovingly stood by his side until the very end.
Affectionately called Papa Tony by his grandchildren, he was known for his love of sports and his favorite teams the New York Yankees and New York Giants, teaching yoga, sculpting, his Catholic faith, and his beloved dog, Hunee Babe. He passionately enjoyed skiing, especially with his grandchildren, with whom he skied double black diamonds until he was 76 years old.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, Mr. Alfano was a partner in a construction company that developed commercial and residential real estate in the New York metro area and Puerto Rico.
Always an adventurer, he moved his family to Phoenix in 1977 and began a career as a real estate developer and broker. He was a trailblazer in brokering numerous “like kind exchanges.” He loved the art of making the real estate deal. He retired to Payson after a number of years in the commercial real estate business.
Active throughout his retirement, he served as a captain on Jackson Lake, Wyo. working for the National Parks Service. An adviser to small businesses, he traveled to Yugoslavia during the Bosnian War to advise entrepreneurs through the International Executive Service Corp.
Known for his generosity of spirit, he was a court appointed volunteer advocate for children in the foster care system of Gila County and a popular yoga instructor and taught real estate license renewal classes at Gila Community College in Payson. He was a man of many interests and many talents.
His family, who knew the big heart that went along with his big personality, will miss him greatly. Family and friends are invited to a celebration of his life at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 19 at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 511 S. St. Phillips St. The family will host a reception immediately following at Messinger Payson Funeral Home, 302 W. Aero Drive.
Donations may be sent in Mr. Alfano’s memory to Wounded Warriors Project (www.wounded warriorproject.org) and St. Vincent de Paul, 511 S. St. Phillips St., Payson, AZ 85541.