Tony Napier, 78, went home to be with the Lord on August 13, 2015 after a courageous battle with lung cancer. He is remembered for the loving husband, father, grandfather, coach, teacher, judge, and friend that he was to so many during his lifetime.
A graduate of Montclair State and Penn State University, Tony was a highly respected Physical Education Teacher for the Ridgewood Public Schools for 29 years, where he was considered the father of the gymnastics movement. He founded The Boys Gymnastics Club in 1967 and for 20 years coached the boys', and eventually the girls' teams, producing many individual and team champions at the league, county, and state levels. Tony was inducted into the Ridgewood Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Tony continued to be active in gymnastics, both nationally and internationally, as a renowned judge. He was elected to the National Gymnastic Judges Hall of Fame in 1996 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus of Montclair State University's Panzer School of Physical Education for contributions to the sport of gymnastics. He was also the owner of Tony Napier's Gymnastics School, introducing many more children to the sport of gymnastics.
Tony joined the Army and became an athletic and entertainment specialist. He and partner, Bob Bollinger, became The Jyro Jets and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 performing a trampoline act. Tony continued to help others as a 13 year member of the WT Volunteer Ambulance Corps. One of Tony’s favorite jobs was as the director of Camp Sunshine, a summer camp for children with cerebral palsy and other congenital disorders. He brought a great deal of joy into their lives due to his sense of humor and love for these very special kids.
Tony's first love was his family. He married his beautiful wife, Beatrice, on August 19, 1961. Tony and Bea loved to dance, often turning the heads of onlookers who enjoyed watching their grace and impeccable timing on the dance floor. They added five children to their family over the next six years; Bernadette Orso (Richard), Emmanuel (Lyzette), Felicia Napier, Andrea Brazofsky (James), and Camille Groom (Sean). The couple became grandparents to nine wonderful grandchildren; Kristy Izzo (Kris), Anthony Beck (Jenna), Rebekah Orso, Nicholas Napier, Daniel Orso, Sara Brazofsky, Jimmy Brazofsky, Justin Napier, and Philip Orso, and four great grandchildren; Riley, Regan, AJ and Baby Izzo. He is also survived by his close cousins, Milo DelCampo and Rica Carotenuto. Anthony Napier will be dearly missed by all whose lives he has touched with his humor, expertise, and love.