He Will Forever Be Missed
Antun "Tony Painter" Peric
An Adventurors Life Journey
In honour and celebration of Tony — a strong, loving, quiet, hard-working, playful and colourful man who approached life with great enthusiasm, boundless creative energy and a quick smile with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes.
We share with you a small glimpse into Tony's passions and life journey that has touched all those who knew him.
Tony was born March 10, 1942 in Crnići, a small village nestled between vineyards and rolling hills in southern Herzegovina. He was a quiet child who was always eager to help. As a young boy his family moved to Djakovo, Croatia where he grew up with his 3 brothers and 2 sisters in the neighbourhood of Ćikago, or Chicago as we jokingly referred to it.
Tony and his brother Viktor were particularly close – always together, whether playing or going to school. And although there was a big age gap with his youngest sister Nada, he always found time in their youth to treat her to beach vacations in Pula. Later, all 3 siblings emigrated to Vancouver Canada and lived close to each other.
Tony was an explorer and creator with a healthy dose of mischief which he shared with his gang of close friends. He had a zest for life and for working with his hands — whether building a boat, casting and painting garden gnomes, foraging through the forest or tinkering with his army green motorcycle. Eager to get out into the world, he began training as a painter’s apprentice and after his mandatory army duty in Kolašin, Montenegro, realized his goal of traveling and working through Germany and beyond.
Upon his return to his hometown, he was in dire need of new socks and went to the local shop called ‘Moda’. There he met his future wife Jelica, who helped him pick out the perfect socks! He invited her for ice cream on the Main Street, and the rest is history! They were engaged that summer and two weeks later married after what they called ‘The Shortest Engagement’ ever.
Arriving on the scene not too long after was Tony’s first child, son Robert. Now that he had a young family he wanted to provide the best opportunities for them so they emigrated to Vancouver, Canada and started a new life in a new country – first stop, the Dufferin Hotel, which still stands today in downtown Vancouver! Years later Tony’s daughters, Anita and Melita arrived and the family was complete. Tony loved to entertain his kids in the vast backyards of their childhood homes with sprinklers in the summer, swing sets, tree climbing and tobogganing in the winter. He loved capturing the family moments with his Hi-8 video camera, and was always taking photos, a passion he shared with his older brother Marko.
In his quiet moments, he enjoyed listening to his daughters play classical music on the piano, playing chess or watching a classic cowboy film. In his playful moments he loved making jokes, playing a high energy game of ping pong in the family game room while listening to the Beach Boys or spontaneously breaking out into a series of flips in the backyard. When in need of relaxation, he traveled often to Hawaii with his wife Jelica since their first trip to Waikiki to celebrate their 10th Anniversary or dancing the Waltz together at regular Croatian Dances or 'Zabave'. We can still hear him counting out the steps 'Vun, Two, Tree'!
Tony was also a doting grandfather to his Benjamin and took pride and joy in watching Benji tower over him in height at the age of 13! In awe of his height and hard soccer kicks, they were often found kicking the ball around, mostly into trees and bushes. But that did not stop them from climbing trees and over fences to grab the ball and continue playing until sunset. They enjoyed their walks to the train tracks, enthusiastically waiting for the next freight trains to pass through. Afterwards, they would return to Dida's (Grandpa's) garage where Benji would happily pick up some tools and assist Dida with his projects. Then up to the kitchen where Baka (Grandma) would have lunch ready, turn on the TV and enjoy some Three's Company episodes together.
Community and Professional Life
Tony's creativity knew no bounds. He was a consummate professional and delivered timeless European craftsmanship in his painting and interiors career — delighting his long-time clients with every project. For more than 25 years he worked side-by-side with his dedicated son Robert who took over the family business in 2005. Although, it was hardly work for them all those years because they had such a good time creating together!
Not just a dedicated family man, Tony was also deeply involved in his communities — from the close-knit Croatian community in Vancouver and abroad, as a dedicated Catholic man at the Croatian church in Vancouver, and with his wonderful neighbours. He had a huge heart and was always ready to help by donating his knowledge, time and skills to whomever was in need. He created and enjoyed valuable lifelong friendships in the process.
Tony was also many times over a Godfather or 'Kum' and a painting mentor to his son-in-laws and relatives who visited from overseas.
In Loving Memory
Tony is lovingly remembered by his wife of 52 years Jelica, children Robert, Anita (Joseph), Melita, grandson Benjamin Anthony, brother Viktor (Ruzica) Peric, sister Nada (Zeljko) Markovic, niece Mira Hanzek and his extended family, relatives and friends in Canada and Croatia.
He was predeceased by his brothers Miroslav and Marko, sister Bozica and his parents Vidoje and Ruza.
We celebrate Tony as full of life, energy and vigour, who brought colour and laughter to this world. May you be sitting on top of the highest mountain, swimming in the bluest of seas and enjoying the finest glass of wine. We are sure you're amusing everyone up in heaven with your delightful sense of humour. Until we meet again... God bless you and rest in peace.