Remembering Tony: a proud Yorkshire man
Last updated Mar 10, 2021

Today we look at the life of Tony Wass, in the third of a series of articles remembering those lost to coronavirus over the past year. We’d like to thank the families and friends who have been in touch with the Stray Ferret to share precious memories of their loved ones.

Tony Wass was born on June 15, 1942 in Helperby. He died aged 78 on February 19, 2021 at Harrogate District Hospital.

Tony was loved dearly by his wife and two daughters as well as friends from Grosvenor Park on Boroughbridge Road.

Growing up in Helperby with his three sisters and one brother, Tony began his working life helping his dad on the farm.

Tony Wass aged 11

Tony Wass aged 11

He then went on to work for Cyril Wrights coal merchants in Boroughbridge for 15 years. His daughter, Tracey, said “he was so happy there”.

At 25, he married Ann in York on June 17, 1967 and welcomed his two daughters Tracey and Lesley shortly after.

His next long-term job was in North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department. During this time, the family were living locally in Langthorpe and then Skelton.

Tony Wass wedding

Tony and Ann at their wedding in 1967.

A “Yorkshire man through and through”, Tony loved the outdoors and enjoyed fishing with friends. He was a keen cyclist and runner completing his third and final Great North Run just before he turned 60.

His love for staying active meant he was cycling 50 mile routes up to the age of 60.

A “larger than life” character, Tony always stayed local and later became a traffic warden in Ripon until retirement.

Tony Wass after one of his Great North Runs

Tony Wass, aged 58, after completing a Great North Run.

Tony and Ann loved Ripon and its community and built up a good network of friends. The pair moved to Grosvenor Park, 15 years ago, building strong friendships with the other residents.

At 72 Tony was diagnosed with Alzheimers. He still enjoyed the outdoors and Tracey remembers her dad parking his chair up on the road at the top of the park to “just to watch the world go by”.

He continued to live at his home with Ann tending his beloved garden.

Tony Wass and his beloved garden

Tony receiving his silver award from the Mayor for Ripon in Bloom ‘Winning Garden’ (left) and his beloved garden and caravan (right).

Tony was classed as high risk so coronavirus restrictions meant he never met his great-grandson. Over the past year, his daughters and 2 grandchildren only saw him through the window or in the garden.

Towards the end of his life, Tony was taken into hospital and later contracted coronavirus whilst at Ripon Community Hospital. Tracey was able to see him once for ten minutes to say goodbye.

When he passed away, Tony was alone. Tracey said “that was the worst bit of it all, we couldn’t see him”.

Although small, Tracey said her dad’s funeral was packed full of the people that loved him including his loving friends at Grosvenor Park who called him the “life and soul of the park”.

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