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1944 Antonio 2021

Antonio Junior Cruz

September 29, 1944 — July 5, 2021

Antonio Jr. Cruz 9/29/44 to 7/5/2021. By the world's standards, not a glorious life but by the sheer will of his own, Antonio carved out his place in this world and by doing so made it a better place to be.

He married Iola Nadine Leissring and together they started a family. They had 3 children, Antonio, Mary Helen, and Jeffrey. As we all know, life has a way of throwing you curves. Antonio lost his wife when they were young, leaving his family in disarray. To quote something dad always said, "Things will work out" and they did. Antonio went on to have another son, David. Each of us like him in our own ways, but no more so than Mary. We lost David at an early age, and it left a scar on our hearts. As dad always said, life is hard at times, and we are not strangers to struggle, but we always pulled through.

The part that always has impressed me was my dad's work ethic. No matter what, he could always find work. It didn’t matter what it was, he took pride in it. In my dad's words, "Your work is your signature. People see your work and know you did it." All of us are known for the hard work that we do and the success we have found. As dad got older the grandchildren came, and he loved to see them do their sports. He shared a love of football with his grandson Nathan. If Nate was playing you could bet dad was in the stands. When they weren't at the game you could find them together. Then there was Brandi that got something from all of us. She is a force to be reckoned with and when she sets her mind to something there is no stopping her. Being the oldest grandchild, she has 2 girls and a wonderful husband. Cheyenne and Brooke, who stole my dad's heart. We are all grateful for Greg. He is simply amazing and as dad said, "He has sensible conversation and loves his girls." Next, we have Robbie, with his partner Diana. Together, they have worked hard and have found success in the life they've built. To put it simply as dad did in a conversation, "That kid is smart." Then there’s Jeffrey’s family. A wonderful wife Melissa, and 2 girls Jaycee and Hadley. We are so blessed in our family to have married well. Melissa is the best mother, and the girls are so talented and beautiful. Dad really liked to watch their sports and cheer. He said he didn’t get to watch us in our sports, so he really liked sitting in the stands with the other grandparents, and "man, can them girls play."

Dad loved spending time with his family, and we owe our existence to him. He loved fishing and big dinners and loved being with the guys at work just joking and the cutting up that makes work bearable. He would help anyone he could and gave freely to his family. He believed he could do anything he wanted and did most times. If you want to see the measure of a man, look at his children. Although if you asked him, he would tell you "I didn’t raise my kids, they raised themselves." We did but he told me I could do anything, and I believed him. Thank you, dad, for showing me that a small man can be a giant.
He was larger than life and showed me it’s all about perspective and outlook. We will miss everything about him. In the end all that is left is his story and what a great one he wrote. As for me, I still see my dad every day with my brother and sister and the grandchildren.

Dad didn’t want a funeral; he wanted a party so that’s what we will do.

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