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Anthony Joseph “Tony” Vitek, Jr., age 80, of Watertown, SD, passed away on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at the local hospital. A Memorial Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, at Immaculate Conception Church. Celebrants will be Fr. Denis Meier and Fr. Paul Rutten. Music will be provided by Danielle Holmquist-Holida with the IC Funeral Choir. The family is requested to meet at the church by 10:00 a.m. for a family prayer service.
Visitation will be at Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel on Monday from 5-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will also be prior to the service at the church on Tuesday.
Burial will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the Watertown Police Department. Active pallbearers will be Tim Toomey, Lee McPeek, Nic Ahmann and Troy VanDusen.
Anthony Joseph “Tony” Vitek, Jr. was born the middle child of five to Anthony J. Vitek, Sr. and Mary Agnus (Fuchs). Tony was born at Baltimore City Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland on May 6, 1939. He began working in the grocery store business at a very early age and he joined Safeway Stores in 1956. In March of 1957, Tony married Sandra Brock and they had six children. While still working for Safeway Stores, Tony joined the Baltimore County Police Department in 1962.
Tony enjoyed a significant law enforcement career of 25 years. In 1975, he graduated from the 100th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Subsequently, Tony was promoted twice in 1976 to ranks of Captain and Major. He retired from Baltimore County Police Department in 1986.
Between 1987 and 1990, Tony joined the National Security Agency (NSA). In 1990, Tony moved to Florida and became the Deputy Chief of the Cocoa Beach Police Department until 1993.
On December 17, 1993, he married Joanna “Jo” Vitek. Retirement did not agree with Tony and he went back to work as the Dairy Manager of Publix Supermarket between 1995 and 2000. In the fall of 2000, Tony and Jo built their dream home in Merritt Island, Florida near the Kennedy Space Center. Tony was an avid fan of the Space Shuttle program and collected memorabilia from every shuttle flight. Tony enjoyed watching the launch countdown on television and then walking outside into the front yard to feel the roar and rumble of the launch; to witness the rocket boosters fall from the sky back to the earth; and, to follow the glow of the shuttle until it was out of sight to the naked eye.
Tony loved Saint Teresa’s Catholic Church in Titusville where he served as head usher and money counter. He was a staunch supporter of Saint Teresa’s School. He enjoyed serving at many church functions and his service included greeting, ushering, Eucharistic minister, altar server training, and stuffing envelopes.
When Jo accepted the Police Chief’s job in Watertown, they joined the Immaculate Conception Church where he trained altar servers and served on the envelop committee, but his favorite ministry was to the Benedictine Sisters of the Mother of God Monastery. Tony drove for the Sisters for 8 years and he affectionately referred to his ministry as “Nun-Runs.” Tony also served as a Eucharistic minister at Benet Place Senior Living for 6 years.
In 2016, Tony and Jo established the Watertown Area Community Foundation Chief Jo’s Hope, Healing, and Hoof Prints to benefit children of sexual abuse and Hope In God to help women survivors of child sexual abuse and sexual assault in NE South Dakota. In 2017, Tony and Jo founded Divine Providence of South Dakota—a ministry which leads people, especially those wounded by sexual abuse and sexual assault into a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ and to strenghten local churches in NE South Dakota. Tony has always been the “wind beneath Jo’s wings” and he will forever be her soulmate.
Tony is survived by his wife of 25 years, Jo; his two daughters, Jeri McDaniel of Baltimore, Maryland and Joan Carlton of Ellicott City, Maryland; three sons, Anthony J. Vitek III (Donna) of Manchester, Maryland, Robert W. Vitek (Leslie) of Riestertown, Maryland, and Richard P. Vitek (Catina) of Mount Airy, Maryland; one sister, Frances Shaw (Carroll) of Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania; ten grandchildren; and, 4 great grandchildren and his special niece, Karen “Missy” Kelly (Tom) of Shrewsbury, PA.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Nora Catherine Hernandez and two brothers, Daniel T. Vitek and Patrick R. Vitek, one son, Michael S. Vitek, and one grandson, Brandon T. McDaniel.
Arrangements by Crawford-Osthus Funeral Chapel www.crawfordosthus.com