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Anthony Joseph Calaro (Fucaloro)

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

ANTHONY JOSEPH CALARO (FUCALORO), a southside Des Moines native, passed away on October 30, 2020 surrounded by his beloved family after a heroic battle with cancer. He was 86.

Tony Calaro was born August 20, 1934 in his family home near Columbus Park, less than a mile from the home where he died. He was married to Jeri Ann (Kolasar) Calaro on August 4, 1970 in Oak Park IL. He lived to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

Tony was the sales manager for Rite Beverage until 1991, where he worked with his childhood friend Gary Randa whose father owned the company. If you frequent Gray’s Lake, you may have seen Tony and Gary almost every day, walking and talking and laughing with each other, including his final stroll with Gary, his wife Jeri Ann, his daughter Terri and his son Tony less than three weeks before his death. Later in life, Tony worked as a Job Developer for the DMAC Iowa Workforce until he retired shortly after his 80th birthday. Finding jobs for Iowans was for him a source of great pride and personal satisfaction.

True to his southside roots, Tony’s life was family, food, work and humor. There was never a pizza he didn’t like (or wouldn’t eat) and when someone needed an off-color joke at a cocktail party or a family gathering, Tony and his nephew Bobby would never disappoint. Tony loved the fair, and the farmers market, and short (but frequent) verbal exchanges with motorists who chose to drive the speed limit or obey a “stop and go light”. In fact, in the 1960s Tony was the first guy in Des Moines to receive a radar speeding ticket. Those who knew him were not surprised.

Above all else, there was his family. Papa loved his granddaughters’ soccer games, bicycle racing, and Madison’s softball games and dance recitals. He loved his great grandchildren’s athletic accomplishments, their award-winning dance performances, and he took great pride in all of their academic success. His wife, his daughter and her husband, his son and his daughter-in-law, his nephew and niece, his brother and his sister-in-law and all of his grandkids and great grandkids, were ever present during his last weeks and their love and admiration gave him the strength to breath, to open his eyes in the morning, and to be thankful for each new day. It was his brother Tom and his friend Gary who gave him the comfort he needed to go in peace.

He is survived by his loving wife, his daughter Teresa Marie (Gary) Crandell, son Anthony John (Kelly Mills) Calaro, brother Thomas Paul and Sheila Fucaloro, brother-in-law John McNerney, his friend Gary Randa; his grandchildren Aimee (Iran) Mergerson, Brian Crandell, Anthony Mel Crandell, Madison Calaro, Caitlin Calaro, Brooklyn Mills, and Lily Jones; and his great grandchildren, Mikayla Mergerson, Jalen Mergerson, Miguel Crandell, Mariah Mergerson, and Melody Crandell; and by many beloved nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his son Michael Anthony Calaro, his grandson Michael Emberlin, his parents Thomas and Mary (Izzolena) Fucaloro, and by sisters Phyllis McNerney and Elena Frost.

Per his request, no services will be held. A Celebration of Life will be held by the family at a later date.


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