Issue 34, August 23, 2015

This past Sunday, Southside Business Men’s Club arguably lost its greatest asset.  Anthony J. Pionessa, completed his life’s journey to be with his lord and savior.
Born in 1921, A.J. grew up the oldest of 10 children, from parents who immigrated to America.  As a young Marine, he fought in the South Pacific in WWII.  He learned the construction trade at the New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, and worked in the construction industry for well over 60 years.
Anyone who met A. J., knew he was the epitome of a Man’s Man. 
He was a natural leader who exuded confidence and lived life to the fullest.   He was an expert marksman as a hunter (dove hunting was his favorite).  He was an avid fisherman and was a member of the Safari Club for 30 years.    He was an avid gambler (craps), as well as a ballroom dancer.   He achieved the highest level as a 32nd degree Master Mason, and a Shriner.  Living the life of a benevolent person, he was always humble.   He was a member of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).   He was an active member of his church for decades.  And he loved to  collect belt buckles and bolo ties.
A.J. joined SBMC back in 1969, and was our President in 1974.  Over the following decades, he has always remained active in our charitable and social events.  During the year of his SBMC presidency, he recruited Gene Bushor to become an SMBC member.  The two always remained lifelong friends.
He lived a Jacksonville version of The Rat Pack, along with other long-time SBMC members: Gene Bushor, C. Lee Daniel, and Bob ‘Fuzzy’ Cox.  These 4 men would ride off together for some weekend adventure or hunting trip.
Every man I know, would love to have lived the life the way the A.J. did.  This Club, Jacksonville and all of humanity is in a better place because Anthony J. Pionessa walked this earth.

Please join me in supporting the Pionessa family by attending his memorial service at 11:30am, this coming Saturday at the Mandarin Presbyterian Church.  There will be a reception following immediately afterward.


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