Anthony “Tony” Vigna died peacefully, in his sleep on Oct. 8, 2018, in Goleta, at the age of 82.
Tony is survived by his wife Dolores; children, Eric Vigna, Katherine Archibald and Greg Vigna; siblings, Deanna Goodrich and Marilyn Rocca; and his 10 grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his father Frank Vigna and mother Ida Vigna; granddaughter Camille Vigna and daughter Elizabeth.
Tony was born on Sept. 17, 1936, in Gilroy, CA, to Frank and Ida Vigna. He graduated from Gilroy High School in 1954 where he was a Hall of Fame athlete in both basketball and baseball, and an academic leader.
He attended Stanford University on an athletic scholarship, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1958 and was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
He married Dolores High from Reading, PA, in 1961 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Montecito.
Soon after, the couple welcomed three children into their home, and Tony set about instilling in them his passion for competitive athletics and teaching them the importance of hard work.
His children remember him as a compassionate and patient teacher who encouraged them to work hard and strive for excellence in all they did.
Tony taught history at San Marcos High School for 43 years, and coached boys and girls basketball and tennis at both San Marcos High School and Bishop Diego High School for 26 years.
Additionally, Tony was a long-time Santa Barbara Little League and Boy’s Club coach, and always made time for youngsters who were committed and interested in improving their athletic skills.
We remember Tony throwing batting practice from a chair behind a fence at the little league field, while recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. It took a lot to keep Tony from the athletic field.
Tony was an accomplished basketball and baseball player, and discovered a passion for tennis later in life.
He was a self-taught player and enjoyed competing at the club level at Cathedral Oaks Tennis Club and hitting with his daughter Katherine, with whom he won the Equitable National Father-Daughter tennis title in 1980.
Tony was a dedicated teacher and coach who loved working with kids and who were passionate about the value of competitive athletics as it relates to the drive for success.
Tony thoroughly enjoyed his years following retirement from his 43-year teaching career. His days were spent playing tennis at Cathedral Oaks Tennis Club, playing golf, reading and spending time with his beloved wife Dolores.
Tony and Dolores enjoyed traveling, eating out at the many wonderful Santa Barbara restaurants and visiting with his children and many grandchildren.
His children cherished his visits and weekly letters filled with inspirational quotes and anecdotes from his life.
Most of all, Tony valued his relationships with others and treasured the memories he had of teaching and coaching.
On Oct. 28, 2017, a Tribute for Tony at the San Marcos High School gymnasium was organized, attended by more than 200 of his former students, players, family and friends.
It truly warmed Tony’s heart to hear from those who spoke about the many ways he had impacted and touched their lives.
In 2009, Tony suffered the first of several strokes while playing tennis and his overall physical health declined from there, but not his spirit!
A funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, 5444 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Tony’s life.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Goleta Boys & Girls Club, 5701 Hollister Ave., Goleta, CA 93117.
The family would like to thank the caregivers at Mariposa at Ellwood Shores and Assisted Hospice for their care and dedication.
— Kathy Archibald