Thank you for keeping up with Tony's status as he was battling cancer.

If you have questions to ask, add a comment to the blog, and I will be notified by email. Be sure to include your email in your comment so I can respond.

If you want to comment, and have trouble, you can always select Anonymous in the "Comment as" field and add your name at the end of your message.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It is over...

Tony died about 3:45 PM today. We are sad he is gone, but glad his struggle and suffering are over. He appears to have gone peacefully. His sister is with her best friends in Arkansas.

We don't have any plans yet for any kind of visitation, service, etc.

Thank you for your prayers.


  1. Sending hugs. Looking forward to the day we will be together at the throne. Tony has taught us the lessons of the serenity prayer, and you sheparded him home. We love you.

    Mark, Kathy Sue, and Logan

  2. I am sorry for this sad loss and I can't hold back tears...but you are so right that his struggle and suffering are over. He is in his glory.


    Curt Jensen

  3. It's so painful for us left behind on this earth. We know he is at rest from his battle, but we still struggle with the sorrow and the pain. Anyone who knew Tony, his gentle spirit, his dedication to God will want to strive to live so that we can reach a heaven filled with spirits like Tony.

    Mike McChurin

  4. His struggle and suffering are over. Our love and memories of Tony will last throughout our lives. His grace, courage and strength have changed me forever.

    I love you.

  5. I'm so thankful that God is with all of us. If not for the strong arm of God, how could we bear the things life throws at us?

    God give you peace, and understanding, and love. And may God help you smile.
    It will be a great, great day when we all are reunited again.

  6. It is well with Tony's soul...but I know your hearts and souls are aching. We cry with you. Much love and prayers for all of you. Pattie Parks

  7. As you so beautifully put it, we will follow, Tony is in the lead. Our hearts break for you and your family! Please know that our continued prayers are that our kind and good Lord will comfort you as only He can. We love you.
    Jeff, Linda, Beau, Carolyn, Jerry and Joel Sisson

  8. THe past year and a half have been hard but I am thankful that today, he is not suffering and he has fought the fight with more grace and dignity than any young man his age should have to. Vika and Veronika had made him birthday cards today and are sad that he wont have a birthday now and he wont see them. They love you guys!
    I love you and wish I was there to hug you and share your sorrow. Praying for your peace.

  9. So sad to hear of Tony's passing. For you, it is so much sorrow and loss. For him, it is victory! We mourn with you and know God is with you and will comfort your heart. We are lifting you up to our Father and will continue to do so in the days to follow. Love you all. Joan & Walt

  10. I have no words. Greg and I love you both so much, and our hearts just break for you. You remain in our prayers as much as always.

  11. We feel so blessed and honored to have been part of Tony's life. He is one of the must remarkable young men that we know. He taught us so much in the way he lived, the things his been through in the past year and a half, and in the way he handled his transition from this life to the next. Neal, Sherri, and Randi, we love you and continue to pray for your comfort.

    Love, Tim & Kim

  12. I was in band and the RFC's with Tony a few years back. I didn't know him very well but I'm glad I knew him a little bit. Prayers and tears from Houston,

    Laura Badgett

    P.S. I just learned a few days ago that Tony had cancer. If I had known y'all were coming to MD Anderson I would've come to hug you all. So here's one to make up for missed visits. {} Much love.

  13. Peace to you all Neal, Sherri and Randi, we will miss him until we all get home. We will continue to pray for you all. Thank you for letting us all be a part of this journey.
    Danna and Sandy

  14. Matthew 11:28 : "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

  15. Neal, We pray for peace and comfort for you, Sherri, Randi and the rest of your family during this very sad time.

    Bob & Jan

  16. I'm sure you know what a tremendous influence Tony had on everyone he came in contact with. I have never met someone as humble, caring and fearless as him and I know (because he wasn't afraid to share it) it was because of his strong faith. Tony made a huge impact on me in the short time I knew him from the UA band and the RFC's. His faith and his zeal for life in spite of his fight against cancer will always be an inspiration.
    There is comfort in knowing that Tony is now in God's hands and no longer in pain. May God comfort and bless your family.

  17. I'm so sorry for your loss, Tony is at peace and not suffering.

    I'm part of The Hugs Project and starting following your blog from the beginning. Prayed with you through the highs and the lows. You family will continue to be in our prayers.

    Yankeetown, FL

  18. There are no words. Sherri, Neal, Randi, we hold you in our hearts with love & prayer. We praise God that Tony is at peace. May God strengthen & uphold you.
    Ann Ellen, Steve,
    Angela, Teresa & Joey

  19. Although my heart aches for you, I know that God has a made a place for Tony & is showing him around even now. I say, "Thank you!" to you, Neal & Sherri, for loving each other & for loving your children enough to show them The Way. We can only look forward to going where Tony now resides. God be with you all!

  20. I know that there are no words that will offer true solace. I have so many memories of Tony growing up, playing with the girls, sitting around the table at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I feel so grateful to have you all in my life. Know that you are loved, and that Tony touched many, many lives with his. These last 18 months, he inspired us with his courage and determination, and most of all his faith. I am so sorry that he is gone. His sweet memory will live on with us.


  21. We are not acquainted but I heard of your loss through my friend Stephanie. I weep with you and I pray for you during this time.

    Tim Johnson

  22. I can't help but look at the title of your post. "It is over." Yes. And no. Because for Tony, it has really just begun.

    My heart aches for the pain and struggle that you all have been through these past few years, as well as for the pain and struggle that I am sure are still to come in the future as you miss Tony. Know, though, that you are surrounded by so many people who are lifting you up in prayer to the God who knows all about suffering first hand. Our prayers will not stop, even as time goes by. And though some of us are far away, we send our hugs, our comfort, our love to you and pray that you are able to receive them.

    We truly were blessed to have Tony in our lives. His joy and his passion for life and God were infectious. He has touched my life and so many others in ways that are immeasurable and unforgettable.

  23. Tony was an exceptional man. I will never forget him on the first night in the hospital before Sherri even got there. He knew something was wrong, something bad, but he told Wendell and I that it was ok if he survived whatever it was and it was ok if he went home to God and HE MEANT IT. This was the first time I had encountered such faith in a young person. Tony knew whose he was and where he was going. I know he would have loved to have stayed around this old earth a little longer for your sakes, but he knew his reward was waiting for him in heaven and he was not afraid. Thank you so very much for raising this wonderful son and for sharing him with us here in Fayetteville for awhile.You and all your family and friends are in our prayers just now and in the coming days.
    Jackie and Wendell Beall

  24. Neal, Sherri and Randi,
    We are so heartbroken to hear of Tony's passing. We are thankful to hear of his peaceful transition from this earthly life to his new life that will have no pain and no tears. We are praying for all of you.
    Tony was an exceptional young man. I still have vivid memories of him in the 4th grade Bible Class I taught in Anchorage. He was such an enjoyable boy and he grew into such a wonderful young man. We were so impressed with him the few times we got to visit with him in Fayetteville when we would visit Aleshia and Matt. We are blessed to have watched him grow up and become such a strong member of the Lord's church.
    We love you and pray for your strength and peace.
    In His Love,
    Mansel and Jimmie

  25. We love you very much and pray that God will surround all of you. God has all of you in his hands, and Tony has you right where he wants you, in your own hearts and mind. Although he has gone to our father, he remains with us in our memories and in the love he brought just by being near us.

    Wish we could be there to hug you,

    Brad & Debby

  26. Brother you will be missed... and you may have won the race to heaven... but i think someday we will share the prize... i love you man... you have been a great example to me and have showed me great ways to walk like no one has ever showed me...

    George Hamrick III

  27. We are thinking of all of you at this time and will continue to pray for you. We know that Tony fought the good fight and will hear the words"Well done thou good and faithful Servant.
    Tony will be missed but never forgotten for all of the lives he touched are better for it.

    The Hedrick Family
    Brian, Christy, Anthony and Aaron

  28. We are grieving with you and your family at this time, and yet we are rejoicing that he was God's child.
    Rick and Ant Collins

  29. I feel bad because I have known Tony for about half my life but never did anything with him outside of church, we weren't friends that way, but I admired him, he was a stong christian soldier and a dovoted soul to Christ. I enjoyed watching him lead songs and prayer, going to camp with him as long as I can remember. I remember when I heard that he found out he was sick, I felt my heart break, and had my family and friends who had never even met him pray for him and updated them all the time on what I heard his status was. I am kicking myself because the last time I saw him at church I didnt go talk to him because he was busy talking with someone else, I will always regret that.

    I will pray for all of you to have great strength in this time of sorrow and wish he was here to celebrate his birthday next week, he will deffiently be in my thoughts and prayers. May God be with you and remember that he is where he has lived his whole life to be. He lived for God word by word as instructed in the bible and has the greatest gift any of us will ever receive.

    With Love,
    Kimberly Kuntz

  30. Tony, you will be missed. Our prayers for comfort go out for your family that continue on our journey here.

    We look forward to seeing you again on that blessed day.

    The Johnson Family
    Tommy, Amy, Hayden and Ashton

  31. It is with heavy a heavy heart to have to say goodby, but hopefully with the peace knowing you will follow him, will make it somewhat easier. To have such a wonderful christian son, who fought with so much grace and strength says so much about his parents. He was such an incredible example and I know you are so proud of the young man he became. Our prayers are for you and you family daily.

  32. Thank you for sharing your family's journey. What a fine tribute to a remarkable young man. Tony's spirit has left an indelible mark on our souls.

    Penny (Sheppard) Lowry

  33. Neal, Sherri, & Randi,

    Our children are one of God's greatest blessings. Tony was a wonderful young man and it hurts to have him taken at so young an age. My heart aches for all you have endured, but I am strengthened by your (and most definitely Tony's) courage and faith. Free from pain, having completed his purpose here on earth, he has moved on to the next phase of his life. I know Heavenly Father answers our prayers and He will continue to bless and comfort you. With love & prayers,

    Linda Shattuck

  34. So very sad for you and your family Neal. We will continue to pray that God will strengthen you during this time and please let us know if there is any way that Lindsey and I can help. We love you all very much and we are here for you to lean on.

    Buddy and Lindsey Whitt

  35. Neal, Sherri, & Randi

    There are no words that can express our sorrow for you and the pain your are experiencing now. Your family has always had a special place in our hearts even though the miles have physically separated us for years. We will all miss Tony greatly.

    The promise we all live for Tony has now realized, and for that we hope you find some comfort as we did so many years ago. 1 John 2:25 "And this is the promise that He has promised us - eternal life."

    All our love
    Shawn, Pam, Loryn and Lance McCaughan

  36. I have started to write this several times now but I just couldn't find the right words. Maybe I was afraid it would make it real. I know Tony is where we all want to be but in my selfishness I want him here.

    I am in awe of how many lives Tony has touched in his short life. His love for God showed in everything he did. He was an amazing example of what christianity is about. He will forever have a special place in my heart as does your whole family. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

    My love is with you,

  37. 1 Chronicles 16:23 : "Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day."

    I know that Tony is doing exactly that right now in Heaven with his wonderful voice, and I know that he is exceedingly glad to do so.

  38. Tony was truly an inspiration in both his prospective on life and in his actions. My heart aches for all his friends and family. It is truly beautiful the impact his life has had on others. He will be greatly missed.
    The Wrights

  39. We will continue to pray for comfort and peace. You have been a wonderful example during your time of struggles. As we know that Tony is in a wonderful and peaceful place, our earthly hearts are sad and left wanting more time. Tony's great example to those he met will live on forever. May your memories and those who share their's with you bring joy and pride of your son's accomplishments. We love you and here for you when your ready. Joe and Brenda Przeczewski

  40. I love all of you,
    and I am deeply sorry for your loss.
    His suffering is over, and we will all be with him one day.
    Now he is looking over us.

  41. Jim and Jerl Dean BeatyAugust 6, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    Our prayers are with Tony's family and friends. We loved Tony and will miss him, but he is so happy and free from pain and at peace with our precious God. May peace come to your family! Tony will never be forgotten!!! God has special plans for Tony, and He needed him.

  42. I can't even begin to imagine losing one of my children! Please know that I care and that you will be in my prayers now AND in the coming days, weeks, months...

    May you be enveloped in God's love and comfort and surrounded by the love of family and friends!

    Love and prayers,
    Shari Highland (Kissick)

  43. We cherish all the visits we shared this last year. The final picture in my mind is him sitting on the couch grinning and telling us marching band stories. You raised a wonderful son who is such an amazing example of Christian faith. Our family is deeply affected by your loss and you will continue to be in our prayers.
    Richard, Nancy, Cara and Travis Loveland

  44. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34: 17-18

    We love you!
    Patrick and Jamie Sweeney

  45. Sherry,
    I am so sorry for your loss. There are really no words I could say except for my thoughts and prayers are with you & your family! If you need anything at all, let me know Thinking of you.
    Love You,
    Dodie Tipton Slamans

  46. One of God's Angel's has gone home. Tony, I will miss you on this earth, but I WILL see you again. You've gone on to bigger and better things :).

    Collins family, you are in my prayers, please know that God's love is wrapped around you unlike anything I can explain. For when we are weak, we are made strong.

    Much Love

  47. Stephanie called me last night and passed on the news about Tony, our hearts are aching.

    Brenda and I did not get the privilege of actually meeting Tony in person (our loss). But through the thoughts Stephanie has shared with us and reading the Blog, Brenda and I feel like we have grown to know this remarkable young man, and what we must have missed.

    Through his witness, we may never know the actual amount of people he has inspired and those that he will continue to do so through their memory of him.

    We pray that Gods Love surrounds you with the peace and comfort that only he can give.

    In our Prayers
    John & Brenda Clark

  48. I am so sorry to hear this news of Tony. He was a dear friend of mine when I attended the University of Arkansas. He always had a smile on his face and would do anything for anyone. Thanks to him, I learned how to march. At our first game at Arkansas before we marched on the field, we hugged each other tightly because we were SO excited!! I will truly miss him but know that he is happier where he is today and I look forward to meeting with him again. Tony, I'll be seeing you. Thanks for everything.

  49. Neal & Sherry,

    My reactions to Tony's passing : I rejoice that Tony, in accordance with our faith in the promises of God, is embraced in the arms of God; yet I grieve for you and the loss of tHe earthly presence of your son. I can't imagine the feelings of losing even the temporary presence of one of my children.

    II Cor 12:2-7 excites me about what Tony is now seeing & experiencing; I must confess, I would trade places with him. I believe this "recital" of Paul was about himself : "...he was caught up into Paradise and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for man to utter.". Then in verse 12 , Paul seems to apply this to himself when he reveals about himself the following : : "And by reason of the EXCEEDING GREATNESS of the revelations, that I SHOULD NOT be EXALTED OVERMUCH there was given to me a thorn in the flesh that I SHOULD NOT BE EXALTED OVERMUCH.". Therefore, in Philippians 1:23, when Paul proclaimed, "... Having the desire to depart and be with Christ; FOR IT IS FAR BETTER," he KNEW from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE that to be "where Tony is" IS FAR BETTER.

    SO, I have attempted to go one step further than offer my PERSONAL feelings, and attempt to allow the ASSURANCE OF GOD to comfort you and also express my confidence in Tony's present state of joy.

    Please know how deeply we love all of you, and are so strengthened in the way Tony "slipped into Eternity.". And, since the persons in Luke 13:28 (notwithstanding they were the Lost), still, they WERE able to recognize Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Therefore, it is my personal conviction that "recognition" of persons in Heaven is a reality.

    It is by God's Grace that I pray we shall all see and be with each other in Heaven.

    Love and spiritual admiration,

    John & Marlene Coffman

  50. Neal and Sherry
    We have followed your journey since the beginning. Our prayers have been with you every step of the way. May God grant you an extra measure of comfort and peace.
    Tony was an inspiration for Kate - His passion for music matched her passion and she has been encouraged by his success.
    We love you both and will continue to pray peace for you and Randi.
    Lorrie, lee and Kate Guillemette

  51. Neal, Sherri, and Randi,
    We watched as Tony grew from a sweet little boy into a strong christian man. You both are amazing parents who raised Tony and Randi in a loving, christian home, which is evident by everyone who knows and loves Tony.
    Our hearts are aching over the loss of Tony and what this must be doing to you, but please know that we all love your beautiful family and wish that we could take some of the pain away from you.
    Tony always had a big huge smile on his face, and I can see him now with an even bigger smile, in his new home with our Lord.
    Neal, thank you for keeping all of us updated over the last year and a half. We checked in frequently and it helped us feel closer to Tony.
    We love you and will continue to pray that God will bring you comfort.
    Melissa and Danny Elmore

  52. Almost eight years ago, on one of the happiest days in my life, I married my best friend. Tony and Randi were both there taking part in my special day by walking my dogs down the aisle and taking care of them after the ceremony. Prior to that Sherri, Tony and Randi took me on my first ever sled dog ride! I had only just met you, but your generosity at allowing me to be a part of that wonderful experience has left warm memories in my heart! I was so impressed by your children then and through these past twelve years! Tony and Randi are truly shining examples of their christian upbringing. Neal and Sherri, I have always looked up to you as role models in the raising of my son.

    While my heart is breaking and the tears are flowing, I have NO DOUBT that Tony is in Paradise, and he is in the best company!

    May we all strive to walk in the examples of faith, strength, courage and dignity that Tony left for us so that we can be with him once more.

    My love and prayers continue to be with your family.
    All my love, Lisa Peckham

  53. Neal, Sherri, and Randi
    I have tried to read Tonys blog and continue to pray for him and you too over the last year and a half. As i read about Tony this last couple of weeks it felt as though my heart was being torn out! It is good know that his pain and suffering are over! Me and my family have been blessed to have been a part of Tonys life and will enjoy the memories of many fun times we had together. Tony, we will miss you and look forward to joining you when are time is up here on this earth.
    Love, Tim Johnson

  54. Please accept my deepest sympathies over Tony's passing. I remember the good times shared with Tony when we were in the Arctic Wind Flute Choir together as well as the one year we had in the All State Honor Band together. The last time I saw him in person was just before we had departed to our colleges and he went on about how excited he was for marching band! It's been nice to keep in touch with him over the years on Facebook. I'm glad he continued on to play his flute. Thank you for keeping us up to date at this difficult time. Tony will be missed by all he has ever known. He was inspiring, persistent, optimistic, and energetic. Whenever I saw him, he was ALWAYS smiling.

    Lots of hugs and prayers to you all during this difficult time.
    -Jasmine Brown

    Thank you Tony for being a light in the lives of everyone you knew. You've inspired everyone around you and reminded us all that we should all live our lives to the fullest. NOTHING can stop you, even now.