ANTHONY E. “TONY” EGGERS
May 18, 1940 ˜ August 21, 2019
“If I knew dying was going to be this fun I would’ve done it years ago.” Sparkling with wit to the very end, Tony Eggers passed peacefully of heart failure holding the hand of Carol, his wife of 53 years. “She may look like Grandma E. to you, but to me she’ll always be the gorgeous 20 year-old girl I fell in love with.”
Surrounded by friends and family, Tony’s final days were as much a joyous celebration of his legend as a touching farewell.
Born to George and Gert Regan Eggers, Tony was initially raised by his mother and her extended family in Imogene, IA while his father served in WWII. The family soon settled in Omaha, NE and Tony was later joined by three siblings.
Tony was a keen academic with a curious mind. In school he pursued the classics, read and wrote poetry, and explored his spiritual side, attending seminary for the first two years of high school. He eventually found his one true calling: aviation.
Following two years of study at Creighton University in Omaha, Tony enlisted as a junior officer in the US Navy. He excelled in flight school and soon found himself assigned to attack squadron VA-95 aboard the carrier USS Ranger. He was awarded two air medals during his 1964-65 Vietnam tour of duty, including one episode that found him landing his Douglas A-1 Skyraider on the deck of the Ranger with his windscreen completely covered in oil after taking enemy fire. As ever, he dismissed these acts of heroism as being “young, dumb and bulletproof.”
In the spring of 1965, Tony met the young Carol Bottorff. He was awestruck, and the two exchanged cross-country love letters throughout the summer. By November they were married.
Tony finished his Navy career as a Lieutenant jet instructor and may (or may not) have paid a brief visit to his boyhood town in Iowa from the cockpit of an F9F, descending at full power and buzzing his uncle Doc’s farmhouse 20 feet above the rooftop.
In five quick years, the young couple added four kids to the family, settling for a time in Southern CA. Tony joined Continental Airlines during the industry’s golden age of flying, making Captain by the age of 39. In 1974 the family relocated to rural Battle Ground, WA, the trees around the house providing almost enough soundproofing to mask Tony’s enthusiasm for his beloved Nebraska Cornhusker football matches.
Tony’s work schedule allowed him time to be the biggest kid at Eggers Acres, exploring local bridle trails, streams and lakes with the family. They also travelled around the country, with Dad often in the cockpit joking over the PA to his kids.
In the early 90s, Tony and Carol built their dream view home on a Woodland hillside and joyfully welcomed visits from grown kids, grandkids and friends. Tony retired from the airlines in 1998.
They later settled in Salmon Creek, celebrating 50 years of marriage in 2015.
Tony is survived by his wife, Carol; daughter, Ann Vallee (Mark) of Bellingham, WA; son, Mike Eggers (Michelle McEttrick) of London, UK; daughter, Lisa Stanish (Steve) of Seldovia, AK; nine grandchildren, three great-grandchildren; and loads of lifelong friends.
He was preceded in death by his first son, Mark.
Fair winds and following seas, Papa Tony.
Celebration of Life, Sat., Oct. 5, 1:30p.m., Heathman Lodge, Vancouver, WA
Please sign his guest book @ www.columbian.com/obits
To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Columbian on Sep. 29, 2019.