ROCKFORD — Anthony “Tony” Angeleri is a bar owner, black belt in karate, karaoke singer and drummer.
Perhaps his best quality, however, is his ability to sit and listen and do his best for others, making many friends in the process.
The friends took to social media in recent days to express their sadness and shock at his sudden death.
The 42-year-old co-owner of Victory Tap, a bar-restaurant at 2315 Harrison Avenue, was shot dead at his Lape Street home late Saturday night.
Witnesses told police an adult male shot into the house and fled on foot. No arrests were made.
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Rockford’s Jeremy Van Barriger calls Angelery his best friend.
“I really miss him,” Van Barrig said.
“Tony was always there to serve people. He had a big heart. He was always there to help those in need.”
Van Barriger says he fishes, goes to concerts and sparring with Angileri
“(Tony) is a black belt in Shotokan karate,” a martial art without weapons.
“He studied in Rockford for many years. From the age of 9 until the day he died, martial arts was precious to him,” Van Barrig said. “It instilled in him a lot of honour, respect and morals.
“When we grew up, we walked around and trained. We would actually do a lot of pairings in his backyard with gloves on.”
Van Barrig also said Angeleri was personable. He felt at home at Victory Tap and made sure everyone else felt the same.
“Every time someone sits down, he’s like, ‘Hey. My name is Tony. How’s it going? How’s the food?’ If there’s a mistake, he corrects it. He’s really friendly. He makes sure people feel welcome.”
Rockford’s Mike Gulley is a member of the Acoustic Millennium Band, a three-time Rockford area music industry award winner who performs every other Friday at the Victory Tap.
Angileri does more than manage Victory Tap, he said.
“He’s always there to listen to your problems and try to help you with whatever you’re going through,” Gurley said.
“He’s the guy who always answers the phone. And just one of the nicest guys I’ve ever known.”
Gulley says Angileri is also very good at controlling the beat.
“He plays the drums and occasionally sits with us.”
Another friend, Bill Cook, said Angeleri grew up with his uncle and the rest of the family, and he said he knew him well about two years ago.
“One day I decided to go to his bar. I met him and he made me a really good burger. We had some drinks and started singing karaoke together. From then on, I went to sing every Wednesday, We ended up doing this every week for a year or so.”
Cook said that the two of them always sang “Kickapoo” by Tenacious D.
“He did all the Jack Black parts and I did the Meatloaf and Dio parts.”
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Gulley says the bar reflects Angeleri’s personality.
“It’s always been a fun place. Great service, great food. Never had any scuffles or fights or anything.
“It’s absolutely tragic.”
Anyone with information about the homicide can contact the Rockford Police Department at 815-966-2900 or report anonymously to the Rockford Regional Crime Stoppers at 815-963-7867.
Chris Green: firstname.lastname@example.org; @chrisfgreen