Celebrating the life of Anthony Joseph "Bulldog" Balesteri
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Tony, "Bulldog", Balesteri died March 19, 2017 from excruciatingly painful colon cancer. He wants you to listen to him and get a colon cancer screening - he says it’s way less painful than dying from this s#&t. There will be a memorial gathering to honor and celebrate Anthony’s years with us at 4 PM, Friday, April 7, 2017 at Lensing Funeral & Cremation Service, Iowa City. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to The Shelter House
He was born November 17, 1956, in Monterey, California in a large family of hard working Italians, to the late Maxine Arlene Knight Balesteri and Anthony Joseph Balesteri, Sr.
He told stories of stealing artichokes from nearby farms and generally misbehaving, with guilt and regret for the angst he caused his mother and younger sister, Lucia as a youngster in Monterey. Bulldog ran into frequent learning opportunities during his years inside and outside, as he slowly moved eastward from Monterey - first to Omaha and then to Iowa City, where he did warehouse work. He eventually landed his favorite job as a warehouse worker for Goodwill.
Anthony felt safe and welcome in Iowa City. He credited his mental health care team for changing his life. While staying at the Shelter House, he worked with a UI Writers Workshop Community Program and put his storytelling down on paper. With public readings at the Prairie Lights Book, we were able to laugh with him as he told stories of times with his daughter, Gotti. These stories of his life make us all see the world in a different way.
Many of us remember first meeting a tough guy with an attitude. He needed no one. He relied on himself to get by and wanted to make sure we knew that. But then, with sobriety and mental health care, the real Anthony emerged.
Says his employment specialist:
“Over the years I learned that Anthony was one of the most caring folks I have had the pleasure to meet. He got great joy in working at the Goodwill center with clients that had many barriers. He enjoyed some of the most challenging folks we worked with. He called them his 'favorites' and looked for ways to interact with them. One coworker was non-verbal. Anthony, just to get a reaction out of her, would stir his coffee with a fork. He made her laugh every day.
Anthony was very loyal to his friends and folks he thought highly of. He was very protective of people he cared about and would do anything within his power to help them out. I loved his sense of humor. He always had a story to tell that made me laugh, usually in relation to his Italian heritage. One year for his birthday he received a birthday card from Goodwill’s dayhab program. It had a hand on the front of it. He told me later he was leery to open it as it reminded him of an Italian tradition of sending someone a note with a hand on it as a threat. I really loved hearing his stories about growing up in the large Italian family in Monterey that included many cousins, aunts, and uncles."
As a man who liked routines in life, he walked the streets of downtown Iowa City each morning looking for the good stuff lost by 'messed up' college students the night before. He'd then donate the stuff to others who could use it. When he'd hear of an immigrant family that was hungry, he'd empty his pockets so the kids could have some food in their bellies. He collected nice backpacks and school supplies throughout the years so that kids could be 'cool' when they went back to school. These were his routines and they served him well.
Anthony's early death is felt intensely by his best friend and partner Jill Hereda Moore of Coralville, IA, who nursed his body and his soul up to the very end. He leaves behind a son, Anthony Joseph Balesteri III of Santa Rosa CA, daughter, Gotti Balesteri, of Mountain Home, AK and his younger sister, Lucia Balesteri of Windsor, CA. Anthony was loved by many, including nieces Alicia Santiago, Stephanie Sanchez and Rosalia Wellen and 2 grand nieces and 2 grand nephews.
Slow but steady 10-year-old Gilbert Stevens, aka Turtle Dove, found by the Bulldog just a few blocks from the Iowa River when on a morning walk-about, recently came out of hibernation and stretched his neck upwards, long and hard, searching for his human companion. Turtles know things.
As one final note, Bulldog loved hot cars…especially the Low Riders, cars that were lifted with hydraulics - detailing them, looking at them, racing them, watching them race, and cruising the streets in them. There is unsubstantiated rumor an older Impala is stored safely away in a garage somewhere in Iowa. If you know anything about this missing car please let the family know…
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605 Kirkwood Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240
605 Kirkwood Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240