Anthony A. Tirelli, 73, passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2021 in Virtua Hospital, Voorhees, New Jersey from COVID-19. Born in Vineland to the late Arthur and Pauline (Giglio) Tirelli, Tony was raised on Cherry Street and attended Vineland High School. He was employed as a tool worker and tool room foreman with Wilmad/Lab Glass until his retirement in 2013.
Many remember "Two Ton Tony" as an All-Star member of the 1965 VHS State Champion Football Team who hit his opponents "like a Mack truck" and was impossible to bring down. A claim to fame was that Tony was named First Team All South Jersey as a Fullback in 1965. The same year, Pro Football Hall of Famer Franco Harris was named to the All South Jersey Second Team, a testament to the depth of Tony's athletic talent.
An avid hunter and fisherman, Tony and his best friend Dennis Blough traveled to Bellefont, PA many times to enjoy the Pennsylvania hunting season. Hunting was more than just a past time for "Big Daddy", as he was the founding member and first President of the Double Oaks Gunning Club in Cedarville. He lived for and never missed a deer week. The club was his second home, and the members were his extended family.
Tony also loved coaching kids. He coached several teams in the Vineland Midget Football League, the Northeast Spartans, the Casey Raiders, and the Moose Lodge Little League, among others. Tony had a special knack for motivating athletes and as one of his players said, he had the ability to "turn losing teams into winning machines".
When he wasn't coaching, hunting, or fishing with his sons, Tony spent his weekends attending craft fairs and art shows with his wife Marilyn. For many years, they crafted together in their home and built a successful business. They enjoyed trips to Lancaster and summer vacations in Wildwood. What he cherished most however, was hosting "coffee hour" around his kitchen table, Thursday night dinners with his siblings, attending family gatherings, and spending time with his grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, Tony was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Marilyn (Serrian), his son Kevin Tirelli, his father-in-law and mother-in-law John and Grace (Miller) Serrian, and his nephews Brian Tirelli and Gordon Smith.
He is survived by his son Anthony (Kellie) Tirelli of Pittsgrove, daughter-in-law Gina (Porreca) Tirelli of Millville; grandchildren Kassidy, Artie, and Aly Tirelli, and Samantha Morris; great-grandchildren Giana Vertolli and Julian Robbins; sister Catherine Fresne, brother Joseph Tirelli; sister-in-law Elaine (Larry) Davis; nephews Dennis Tirelli and William Smith; niece Teresa Smith, and his dear friend Glenn Vastano, as well as many cousins and friends.
Due to the COVID pandemic, a memorial celebration for Tony will be held in the near future in order to allow for safer travels and gathering. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in memory of Tony to the Red & Gray Gridiron Group, P.O. Box 81, Vineland, NJ 08362 (VHS Football Booster Club). Arrangements are by DeMarco-Luisi Funeral Home 2755 S. Lincoln Ave., Vineland.