Anthony “Tony” J. Cusimano
Anthony “Tony” J. Cusimano, age 89, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, passed away peacefully at home after a brave battle with lymphoma on July 20, 2021. He was surrounded by the love of his wife and family.
Beloved husband for 66 years of Phyllis Caterino Cusimano, he was born in Jamestown, NY to the late Anna and Joseph Cusimano. In addition to his loving wife, Phyllis, he is survived by his three daughters of whom he was extremely proud: Carol Wilson and husband Roger, of Pinebluff, North Carolina, Sharon Coleman and husband Bill of Bonita, California and Leanne Cu-simano of Southern Pines, North Carolina. He also leaves his sisters, Virginia Destro, Frances Bishop and JoAnne Capizzi of James-town New York, many cousins, and dozens of nieces and nephews who idolized him.
Anthony grew up in Jamestown, graduated from Jamestown High School in 1949, and studied Radio Broadcast Journalism at Jamestown Community College. He cherished his memories of Celoron, Midway and Allen Parks, Bemus Point and The Pier Ballroom. He proudly served in the Navy from 1951 to 1955, during which time he met Phyllis, his future wife, and their long-distance courtship led to marriage on July 9, 1955. His 18-year career as an on-air radio DJ, started at WJOC, which later became WXYJ. It brought him much celebrity and excitement, meeting and introducing recording artists at live concert performances and making personal appearances as “Tony Jay.” He was known for his nightly sign-off, “Take good care of you, for me,” which is how he signed his love letters to Phyllis while he was in the Navy.
Several moves from New York brought him and his family to Ohio, Pennsylvania and Northern Virginia as he developed his craft as a radio personality. He then pursued opportunities in Program Engineering at Mutual News for a couple of years. He and his wife, Phyllis retired to Wells, Maine in 1997 after 20 years with The Voice of America, which broadcasts news around the world. They delighted in their travels together on cruises, trips to Europe, California and Hawaii and shared a wide circle of friends who loved their company. Their time living in Maine was highlighted by appreciating the natural beauty and cultural events. In 2016, they moved to a lovely retirement community in North Carolina.
Music and singing was his passion, especially Rat-Pack era music, oldies, and classic scores from movies and theater. He was comfortable in front of a microphone and was called on to MC events well into his retirement.
His warmth and caring made him charming and like-able. He could captivate his audience with stories, filled with no shortage of detail, sharing his pride of his Sicilian heritage and reminiscing about his time in the Navy. He had a sentimental side and felt compassion and empathy for people in need. Anthony will be missed by all who knew and loved him.
In lieu of the flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Lymphoma Research Foundation-Lymphoma.org 800-500-9976
A private Celebration of Life ceremony is planned in August on what would have been his 90th birthday.