Anthony Charles Sirignano, 70, passed away peacefully with his beloved wife at his side on October 16, 2010, after a long illness. He was a brave fighter and optimist all his life.
Tony was born in the Bronx, NY, on June 14, 1940 to Carmine "Charles" and Anna Sirignano. He was a scholarship student at Regis High School in Manhattan and later won a full academic scholarship to Fordham University, where he later taught at Bensalem, an experimental college which he helped found. He subsequently attended the Free University of West Berlin and later returned to the States to pursue doctoral studies in classics at Princeton University. He always joked he could read and understand Italian and German, as well as Latin and Greek, without difficulty, but only spoke English. During the summer months, Tony and several of his colleagues would travel to a college in the South, where he offered his teaching services for free.
He moved to Houston in 1977 to teach at the University of Houston. He became an honored member of the faculty at St. John's School in 1982, teaching Latin, history, and philosophy there for 26 years.
Tony was one of the greatest of Socratic teachers, a "turner of souls" who cared for his every student in every encounter and helped them aspire to the "examined" life that – for him, as for his Greek model – made life worth living. As a person, Tony was all Italian: great of soul and buoyant of spirit, a consummate lover of life – relishing opera, movies, fine cuisine, hand-crafted gardens, rambunctious dogs, and intimate conversations. He was a phenomenal cook and a host nonpareil. In retirement he became an indefatigable browser of the web and commentator. Little escaped his discerning gaze.
Tony is survived by his wife of 27 years, Leah Krevit, his brothers Peter and Neil Sirignano, his sister Rosemarie Anner, his sister-in-law Mary Ellen Sirignano and his brothers-in-law John Lloyd Anner and Ed Krevit. His eight nieces and nephews remember him with fondness, particularly when he babysat during their early years - they always beat him at Clue, for which he never forgave them. His family, his friends, and his students will always remember him for his contagious elation. With his passing there is less brightness in the world.
A visitation will be held Friday, October 22, 2010, 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM, at the Heights Funeral Home, 1317 Heights Blvd. Flowers are welcome, as are donations to the American Diabetes Association.