Mishawaka- Antonio “Tony” Fernandes Tavares, Jr., passed peacefully surrounded by his loving family on November 25. He was born on March 31, 1936, to his parents, Antonio Sr. and Helen (Niespodziany) Tavares in Waterbury, CT. He is survived by his wife, Carol Tavares; son, Bryan (Sherri) Tavares; daughters, Lisa (Jim) Tavares, Jill (Joseph) Calderone; sisters, JoAn (Richard) Ball, Mary (Ernie) Niedbala, Helen (Richard) Matthews; brother, Victor Tavares; grandchildren, Holly (Ryan) Odynski, Dadyn Calderone, Emily (Michael) Fansler, Chandler Calderone, and great granddaughter, Harper Odynski.
Tony moved to Mishawaka with his family at the age of seven and became a lifelong resident. He was an alumnus from Mishawaka High School, class of 1954, and loved attending many alumni reunions. He remained lifelong friends with his childhood buddies, but over the years became a good friend to many.
Tony met the love of his life, Carol Korpal, in August 1961, at Weko Beach and they were wed a year later on September 22, 1962. A family soon followed, and became the most important part of his life. He loved any excuse to get everyone together and planned many family vactions to Florida, the Smoky Mountains, and camping trips with his children. His favorite time of the year was Christmas when everyone was able to enjoy the holidays from the home he shared with his loving wife. Tony was also a loyal employee of Gunite, from which he retired in 2000, after 17 years of employment.
Those who knew him loved his distinctive sense of humor and his ability to create his own version of every song. Always a prankster, he had a unique nickname for everyone, loved to make people laugh, and took it in stride when he became the brunt of the jokes. He was an avid Notre Dame fan (when they were doing well), had an insatiable sweet tooth, was a classic car enthusiast, and enjoyed summer car shows at Essenhaus. He often reminisced about his younger years with his beloved 1957 Thunderbird and red Mustang. We will fondly remember Saturday nights at the South Bend Motor Speedway, watching Svengoolie and old westerns, and the highly spirited Sunday night game of dominoes. His family will be blessed with a good laugh with each memory and will be envious of those in heaven that will now enjoy his corny jokes.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, December 3, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Hahn Funeral Home in Mishawaka. A Mass of Christian Burial will be on Wednesday, December 4, at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mishawaka. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Heartland Hospice.
To leave the family an online condolence, please visit www.hahnfuneralhomes.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Antonio Tavares, please visit our floral store.