Of Belmont, MA, passed away peacefully at Seasons Hospice, Milton, MA on October 8, 2021. Anthony was born on January 22, 1944 in Boston, MA to Anthony and Joanne (Trovato) Lerro. A lifelong resident of Belmont, MA , Anthony attended Belmont Public Schools and Northeastern University. An ardent sports enthusiast and gifted athlete, Anthony played infield for the Northeastern Huskies baseball team, once playing at Fenway Park in a collegiate game. After university, Anthony worked at Logan Airport for Republic Airlines as a key part of the cargo crew, a role which he mastered, leading him to longtime employment with Delta Airlines. His former colleagues remember him fondly for his industry, stamina , wit and friendship.
His positions in the airline industry ignited his legendary and charming wanderlust and over the course of his many years in his skilled employment, he worked at various airports around the country, to include major facilities in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Florida, Washington, Oregon and, of course, his beloved Logan Airport in Boston. Former colleagues Brian Anderson and Paul McAllister have remained ever so close to Anthony. Throughout Anthony’s most difficult times, his loving friend, Bettina Zwerdling, was at his side.
Filled with a charming wanderlust and adventurous spirit, Anthony travelled to the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway and France as well as a visit to London where his fascination with air shows flourished. Numerous solo cross-country automobile trips brought Anthony to virtually all the states in our country, always choosing the roads less-travelled where he experienced the unique and unexpected sides of rural America, befriending many along the way.
Anthony’s love of jazz regularly took him to Scullers and the Regattabar in Cambridge, as well as other venues, and, of course, to his cozy listening corners in his Belmont home. His interests in the aesthetics of the automobile ranged from his beloved Morris Minor to his 1985 Cadillac convertible touring car. A lifelong interest in the airplane industry, led him to air shows far and wide. A devotee of classic films, particularly those shown on TCM, Anthony routinely displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of film, casting and dialogue, often reciting line from “Casablanca”, which entertained all in his company. Sturdy and gentle, affable and curious, Anthony followed his personal North Star and to a small circle of friends from his youth was affectionately referred to as “Peppers”.
He was preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his sister Josephine O’Neil and husband Richard of Pleasanton, California, their daughters Jean and husband Vince Opipari of Livermore, CA; Julie O’Neil of Bend, Oregon; Michelle Puryear of Talkeetna, Alaska; and son Colonel David O’Neil of Indiana. Another sister, Clelia, resides in Bridgewater, MA with her husband Stephen Smalley and they have three children, Andrea Tobin, married to Christopher Tobin of Scituate, MA; Clelia Maria McVay and her husband Ben of Westminster, CO; and Christopher Smalley of Halifax, MA. Anthony’s brother Paul resides in Clovis, CA with his wife Dr. Elsa Lerro and their son Paul Alexander. All of Anthony’s grandnieces, Clelia Opipari, Serafina McVay, Elizabeth Tobin and grandnephews Sal and Anthony Opipari; Connor and Sean Tobin; Ben McVay and nephew Paul Alexander Lerro adored Tony. With great anticipation, they awaited Anthony’s deliveries of Italian delicacies to family gatherings from Modern Pastry, his favorite stop in his ancestral North End of Boston. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Tony's visiting hours in the Short, Williamson & Diamond Funeral Home, 52 Trapelo Road, BELMONT, Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 2-4 p.m. His funeral will be from the funeral home on Thursday, at 9:30 a.m. followed by a funeral Mass in St. Joseph's Church, 130 Common St., Belmont at 10:30 a.m. Burial Belmont Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Tony's memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105, would be sincerely appreciated. swdfuneralhome.com
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