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Antonio (Tony) Manuel Fernandes passed away at home surrounded by his family and dearest friend Augie Ribeiro on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, following a valiant fight with brain cancer. His death fell on the eighteenth anniversary of his father’s passing. Antonio was born on November 1, 1962 in Lousã, Portugal to Julia Da Piedade Fernandes of Lousã and the late Manuel Fernandes. He is the husband of Helen Rose Paravalos Fernandes and married for thirty-three years.
Antonio may be best known as the co-owner of Tonelli’s Restaurant in Bethel for twenty-eight years. In 1969 he moved to the United States at the age of five. At the age of eighteen, he became a lifeguard for the Danbury Public Works Department where he met his wife Helen. Among his accomplishments were purchasing his first home at the age of twenty, being members of both Danbury and Bethel Zoning Commissions, being president of the building committee for the Portuguese Culture Center, which orchestrated the construction of the 30,000 square foot facility in Danbury, as well as serving as a past president. He loved people, was a mentor to many, an avid beekeeper, taught as a Certified CT Hunting instructor, farmer, chef, card player, entrepreneur, and acted as an insurance liaison to friends and family. He later became brand ambassador for Ventura Law allowing him to engage with the community he loved.His greatest accomplishment was his family; he was extremely proud of his three children. His daughter graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and both of his sons are attorneys at Ventura Law. He will be missed for his sense of humor, large heart, and great smile which always filled the room.
Antonio is survived by his loving wife Helen Paravalos Fernandes, his beloved children Julia Fernandes, Antonio Fernandes and his wife Ashley, George Fernandes and his fiancé Eric Simmons, his mother Julia Da Piedade Fernandes of Lousã, his four sisters; Helena Hauser and her husband Larry, Linda Wixted and her husband Ed, Maria Taylor and her husband Chris, Tina Aucella and her late husband Joe, and his brothers Joey Fernandes, Jack Fernandes and his wife Dawn, his loving in-laws George and Lucy Paravalos, his expected granddaughter Aria Fernandes, many nieces and nephews, extended family in Portugal, as well as countless friends. He was predeceased by his loving brother Manuel Da Piedade Fernandes and his father Manuel Fernandes.
A Celebration of Life Gathering will be held at Danbury Memorial Funeral Home (117 South St. Danbury, CT) on Sunday June 9, 2019 from 2:00pm – 6:00pm with a Mass of Christian Burial to be held on Monday June 10, 2019 at St. Peter’s Church (104 Main St, Danbury, CT) at 9:00am with burial at St. Peter’s Cemetery to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to support Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering, as the family greatly appreciated their care and support: https://giving.mskcc.org/ To light a candle or leave a condolence in his honor, please visit Danburymemorial.com
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Attn: Emily Carter
885 Second Avenue, 7th Floor, New York NY 10017