Mount Carmel baseball coach Brian Hurry could not have put it any better.
"Our world lost a great man," Hurry said. "There is no other way to describe Tony Morsovillo."
Tony Morsovillo died Dec. 30, losing his battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly referred to as ALS but better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. The Mount Carmel assistant baseball coach was 45 years old and left behind a wife, Joanne, and three children, Rebecca, John and Tony, who is a senior at Mount Carmel.
If you ever met Tony, you knew he was about the kids. Whether it was an assistant baseball coach at Mount Carmel, or East Side Little League or football at Annunciata Grammar School, Morsovillo was about working with the kids and trying to make them better.
"Joanne says Tony was her 'go-to guy,' well I think Tony was that for a lot of people, myself included," Hurry said. "Whatever you needed, if Tony could do it, especially if it was to help another kid, he would do it -- no questions asked."
Tony Morsovillo is what things used to be like. A neighborhood guy who Hurry said lived in Roseland when he was younger, then his family moved to the East Side.
"Tony was a great husband, father, friend and coach," Hurry said. "No matter how your day was going, Tony could put you in a good mood."
Even though things were not so good with him. He never let on, though he knew he would eventually lose his battle.
When I talked to him last spring, Morsovillo talked about having good days and bad days, but he was more concerned about the Caravan baseball team. He loved the game and he loved talking sports. He also loved asking people how they were doing. Tony was interested in you as a person and he always could come up with a good line.
"I could always count on him, whether it was batting practice before a game or just making sure everything was in order," Hurry said. "Sometimes, it was just advice that I asked for. Tony cared about people."
It showed as the lines at Elwood Chapel were down 112th Street and Ewing Avenue. It looked like a shift change in another era at Republic Steel or United States Steel's South Works. All those people whose lives he touched came to pay their respects to a man who exemplified the East Side. Hard work and family values.
That may sound like a simple description of Tony, but he was not a complicated man. He loved his family and the simple things in life.
"I never saw a line so long," Hurry said. "They all had tears and that had stories to tell about what a great person he was."
I think everyone will agree that knowing Tony Morsovillo made their lives a little bit better.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at email@example.com.