Anthony Whalen. A brother, a cousin, a son, a nephew, a scientist, a designer, a dreamer, a friend, a philosopher, an intellectual.
I am so proud to have known him, to have shared this planet with him; his passion and creativity were shared with us all.
How proud and honoured I was that he was the best man at our wedding – my brother, my cousin, my friend.
To have known Anthony was to know his stories, his adventures, his life — a life that was shared — that was welcoming, warm, and engaging.
Anthony was beaming with creativity, with energy, and passion. But most importantly — with drive. He taught me how to ride a bike, how to swim, and most importantly, how to live.
At an extremely young age, Anthony was stitching and designing his own clothes; making modifications to his shoes to enable him to skateboard better. He understood the mechanics of materials, of forces, of systems. Skateboarding was just another system that he could improve.
Growing up and spending time at 1151 Evergreen Ave, meant that science and learning were everywhere. The Whalen family has always encouraged science and art — and at Anthony’s disposal were the appropriate tools.
Tools like electric grinding stones, beakers, liquid mercury, hydrochloric acid, acetylene, oxygen, and need I mention *fire*.
There was learning everyday with Anthony — and we would construct collaborative pseudo-lesson plans, usually consisting of building something, destroying something, and eventually hiding something.
Anthony and I would dig huge tunnels in my backyard much to our parents dismay. It seemed like entire weeks were devoted to seeing how deep we could go. Anthony would draw diagrams of the fort that were designing — and this was when he was no older than eight.
Anthony once came across a small sailboat; which one summer we spent ages painting it, sealing it, hoisting a battered and torn sail to a mast; dreaming of places that we would sail it. Never really knowing that our parents had no intention of it ever touching water.
But water would be reached. One chilly October in Monmouth Beach, we, ten and twelve years old respectively, carried an aluminum row boat down the street — the air so cold we had to warm our bare hands with out breath — we carried the boat down Riverdale Avenue, around to the reeds — and then launched.
It took us about thirty minutes to get to the middle of the Shewsbury River, and then once the wind picked up we struggled to row back to shore.
Anthony — ever encouraging and positive about challenges continued to yell out encouraging words — we will make it — another twenty minutes and we will make it.
Anthony was always this kind of spirit; alive. Inviting. Helping and brotherly.
When we weren’t outside as kids; we played video games. Anthony found all the secrets in games — he had a way to see systems, and to reverse engineer how they might work. He was the first person I knew of that figured how to get unlimited 1 UP’s in Super Mario Bros by jumping on the turtle shell in level 3-2.
Anthony was a person that truly lived – he touched our lives with his creativity, his intelligence, his love, his kindness. He was a real person that spoke about life experiences, shared his stories, and we became new.
New in the sense that we were more enlightened, more curious, more like him.
Thirty-five years young: but what a life he lived — surfing, riding, teaching us and loving us. He is always with us, we were affected by him, and his life will always be with us — as we tell his stories, think about his smile, and remember this beautiful man.