Published: March 12, 2019
CAPE NEDDICK, MAINE — The great Anthony J. Anni, better known as Tony or “Cookie” — husband, father, uncle, grandfather, godfather, friend, artist, athlete, coach, veteran and business owner — peacefully passed away in his Cape Neddick home surrounded by his family on March 2, 2019. In the trade, he was known as the co-founder of Cranberry Hill Antiques & Custom Lighting, alongside his wife, Dottie.
Tony, son of Dominick and Joanna Anni, brother to Linda Anni, was born August 26, 1940, in Port Chester, N.Y., where he attended public schools, created award-winning art and played for the Port Chester Aggies.
From 1961 to 1963, Tony honorably served in the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Unit (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C. The majority of his time was served working under General William Yarborough with Sargent John Holmes, creating what is now called the US Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum. There, he painted a portrait of General William Darby, sculpted statues of soldiers in combat and designed special museum exhibits.
He was a star hitting catcher at Port Chester high school (1954–58) and went on to anchor the SUNY-Farmingdale baseball team (1958–60) that would compete in a JUCO World Series. He was later offered a contract with the Class A Winston Salem Warthogs. Instead, he married his only love, Dorothy, in 1963. His athletic talent carried on through his never-ending devotion to the New York Yankees and his passion for golf.
While studying at both the School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute, he became a New York City art director. Afterward, once residing in Maine, he continued his profession, designing high-end packaging for international food companies. Tony specialized in packaging gourmet coffees, teas and cheeses. He also worked for the International Marketing Council.
In 1970, he and Dottie co-founded Cranberry Hill Antiques & Custom Lighting. Undying love for their business and their community grew into the thriving institution that remains 50 years later. Tony’s kind disposition, enthusiasm and unmatched creativity drew in a loyal following of locals, musicians, architects, interior designers, celebrities and politicians.
Awarded and recognized throughout his life as a fine artist, Tony published works with the National Cancer Society, Reader’s Digest and the National Portrait Gallery. Among his many talents, Tony would carve gifts for friends and family from wood and etch ostrich and emu eggs in the traditional scrimshaw style. His creative talents were endless.
Tony was a fiery, pointed, local advocate for the preservation of Cape Neddick and its historic artifacts. Residents throughout York knew that they could bring anything from the town’s past, entrusting him to cherish and preserve it. He was a periodic editorial contributor to the York Weekly, with subjects on conservation and protecting the rights of longtime York natives. Some of his letters are still recalled by friends to this day.
Tony and Dottie were always generous and gracious hosts to all who visited their home and business. It wasn’t uncommon for friends and strangers alike to get a meal, stay the night, or join their family for holidays. This and the lighting of their large pine tree every Thanksgiving is in thanks to the residents of Cape Neddick for welcoming their family. Tony adopted this tradition, and it will continue in his honor.
He spent the majority of his exceptional life in Cape Neddick with his wife of 55 years, Dorothy Anni (née Licata), and daughters Eileen Berezni (Mark) and Amy Powell (David) and son Tony Jr (Megan Callan). His joy, love and support for family continued with the birth of his three grandchildren, Anastasia Berezni, Isabella Berezni and Jackson Powell.
Lucas & Eaton Funeral Home in York, Maine, handled funeral arrangements. Family and friends gathered in celebration of Tony’s life on March 9 at St Christopher’s Church in York. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the York Land Trust would continue Tony’s passion to preserve York.
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