elevated FFKEC June 13, 1941 ~ December 27, 2023

elevated FFKEC Visitation
Wednesday, January 3, 2024 from 11:00 am  – 1:15 pm
Holy Cross Catholic Funeral Home
211 Langstaff Road East Thornhill, Ontario L3T 3Z6

elevated FFKEC Funeral Mass
Wednesday, January 3, 2024 at 1:30 p.m.
Chapel of St. Joseph at Holy Cross Catholic Funeral Home
211 Langstaff Road East Thornhill, Ontario L3T 3Z6

elevated FFKEC Interment
Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery
8361 Yonge Street Thornhill, Ontario L3T 2C7

elevated FFKEC Streaming
Click Here to Stream the Mass

elevated FFKEC In lieu of flowers, you can dedicate your donation in memory of Antonietta Antonio to The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta “Babie” Antonio loved Christmas more than any other holiday, so it seems fitting that she decided to make her heavenly journey two days after December 25. At the age of 82, she passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, in Toronto, Canada.

elevated FFKEC In spite of everything, I believe that my Mom’s departure from this world at Christmastime was most unexpected, a rare and wonderful act of self-love. She hated to be a burden and would never want to spoil Christmas for anyone, so she waited a few days and then slipped away during her favourite time of the year.

elevated FFKEC Her memory will forever and indelibly be associated with the sacred and magical spirit of Christmas, which she embodied every day of her life.

elevated FFKEC On June 13, 1941, the sky was a canvas of stars, and one shone brighter than the rest, announcing the arrival of a precious and radiant soul.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta was born to Adoracion and Juan Pono, in Pinamungahan, Cebu, Philippines, where she grew up in a very strict and devout Catholic family. She was preceded in death by her older sister, Leticia, and is survived by her younger brother, John, of Palm Coast, Florida.

elevated FFKEC She was the stunning and saintly wife of Rolando — who was lucky and blessed to have her, and the cherished and adored mother of Wilmer, Maria Gladys and Noel.

elevated FFKEC According to her brother Johnny, my mother was very bossy. She had incredible zest and passion for life, and boundless energy, even as a child.

elevated FFKEC She loved to climb coconut trees — sans shoes or any safety gear.

elevated FFKEC One of her earliest hobbies was crochet, which she passed down to me, and which she learned from her mother. As a dutiful and resourceful daughter, she spent her after-school hours unravelling cotton string from bags of rice and concrete mix that her mother would crochet into delicate lace doilies and tablecloths.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta was a bright, conscientious student who earned a full scholarship to study chemical engineering at CIT, Cebu Institute of Technology. She was one of the few women in her field at the time, and she paved the way for many others to follow.

elevated FFKEC In 1964, for better or worse, she married my father, Rolando Antonio, a fellow engineering student. They shared 59 years of marriage and three amazing, beautiful and humble children.

elevated FFKEC In 1967, she followed my Dad to Toronto, Canada, gathering her young family and embarking on a journey to a brighter future. My older brother, Wil, and I were mere babies, aged two and one. My Mom told me she cried every night for two years, missing her family, and sunny and tropical homeland.

elevated FFKEC She dedicated herself to being a supportive, nurturing wife and mother, with two little ones in her arms and Noel on the way. As a stay-at-home mother of three, she also worked part time at Safeway, The Bay, and as a substitute teacher with the Toronto Catholic School Board. She later became a successful real estate agent and broker with Caldwell Banker and Right At Home Realty.

elevated FFKEC She was an unusually generous and compassionate guide for many new Filipino immigrants who sought her expertise and trust in finding homes, which were beyond their reach without her assistance.

elevated FFKEC For fun and personal development, my Mom studied Income Tax at H&R Block, and aced her exams so impressively that they offered her a job.

elevated FFKEC Beyond her stellar résumé, which she never boasted about, Antonietta had many passions in life: babies and small children, religious pilgrimages, exotic travel, luxury cruises, Broadway musicals, even slot machines and pungent French cheeses.

elevated FFKEC Yes, yes. My very pious Mom had no qualms about plunking down $50 on a small but exquisite slab of Roquefort, her preferred cheese.

elevated FFKEC And she had a not-so-secret love affair with the one-armed bandit. I will always treasure the memories of our mother-daughter escapades at Fallsview in Niagara, and in Las Vegas, where she pampered us with a luxurious stay at the Bellagio Casino Hotel.

elevated FFKEC My Mother was crazy about gardening. She was a green thumb and flower fairy, who brought back to life many of my dying orchids and bonsai. My parents’ house was a jungle of plants and flowers, occupying every corner and crevice. Anyone who dropped by unannounced would have been stunned by the sight of her botanical paradise.

elevated FFKEC She had a fondness for jade, aloe vera — all manner of succulents, as well as snake plants, philodendrons, and any plant with large, glossy, heart-shaped leaves. They were everywhere, not just on the window sills in the living room, but on every floor, on the marble countertops in the den with the fireplace and bar, and even in the bathtub and shower.

elevated FFKEC Several times, she won the Scarborough Blooms annual contest for her beautiful front yard, adorned with statues of the Blessed Virgin, Saint Francis of Assisi, angels and a Japanese pagoda.

elevated FFKEC Her favourite flower was the “Sampaguita,” also known as jasmine — and not because it was the official flower of the Philippines. She especially loved the nocturnal variety, which had tiny white buds that opened their petals and released their intense perfume only after the sun had set. I think my Mom loved the metaphor, aspiring to be like a little flower that bloomed only in the dark, at night.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta was an extremely devout Catholic who could have been a lay nun. She attended mass and received communion twice a day for many decades.

elevated FFKEC She was a mighty but modest pillar of Precious Blood church, where she served on various liturgical committees and helped organize annual events, such as the Fall Fair and International Night. Father Bob O’Brien praised her as “community-dedicated,” saying that she was always feet first and part of the glue that held the church community together.

elevated FFKEC She left behind a legacy on the Decorating Committee, as her design of two Christmas trees and lights, the outdoor nativity, red and white Poinsettias, and other elements, is still the template used today.

elevated FFKEC For forty years, my Mom was a dynamo in The Legion of Mary, performing all four roles of a lay Legionnaire Officer: Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President and President (six years each). She attained the highest level of active Legion membership — Praetorian, which does not denote higher status or rank but rather a desire for a more devotional life.

elevated FFKEC She performed various Works of Consolation, accompanying Archbishop Larry Saldanha and other priests, visiting and comforting the sick, the elderly, the prisoners, and the dying. Every first Friday of the month, she helped give Communion to 15 to 20 households, residents at Scarborough General Hospital and several nursing homes in Scarborough (Rockwell, Wexford, Providence Villa), as well as prison institutions in Milton.

elevated FFKEC Together with Sister Portia Arriola, she also brought the Blessed Virgin statue to a different home every week, praying the rosary. Rain or shine.

elevated FFKEC She and Sister Jeanette D’Souza brought the Junior Legion to Precious Blood. Together with Sister Portia and a humble male auxiliary member, my Mom prepared the Rosary making kits. She sourced the beads, buying them in Philadelphia. She was in charge of ordering and distributing the Maria Legionis magazine.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta was a founding coordinator of the Immaculate Conception Novena Group Two, the first offshoot of the original Novena group established by Attorney Cipriano Rey Hipolito & Doctor Pacita Rey Hipolito in 1977. She and my Dad were fervent advocates of the devotion to the Immaculate Conception among the Filipino community in Toronto. My Mom spearheaded the formation of Group Two to accommodate more devotees who wished to join the annual Novena and potluck dinner, which culminated on December 8, the Feast of The Immaculate Conception.

elevated FFKEC One of her fellow Legionnaires told me a story of Antonietta the miracle worker. She said that once when she was down and out, about 15 years ago, unemployed and broke, my Mom approached her, selling raffle tickets for her church fundraiser. She sold her the last ticket she had for one dollar. A few days later, she got a call from the Precious Blood office, informing her that she had won $200.

elevated FFKEC Indeed, my mother could also turn water into wine.

elevated FFKEC Beyond her regular spiritual activities, Antonietta performed many hidden acts of charity, much to the dismay of my father.

elevated FFKEC —————————————————————

elevated FFKEC Mom, you taught me so many things: that it is better to be kind than to be right, to suffer with grace, and to approach the uphills in life as opportunities to learn, grow, and build muscle.

elevated FFKEC I am deeply grateful to have you as my Mother — Pure Light & Rainbows: supportive, nurturing, and unconditional in your love. You will forever be my precious Guardian Angel and Fairy Godmother.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta’s message for us all:

elevated FFKEC Make every day Christmas: merry, festive & bright. 
Strive to be the very best version of yourself — not just at Christmastime, but all year round.

elevated FFKEC Spread the Spirit of Christmas wherever you may go: with magic and sparkle, good cheer, good will, generosity, and kindness, always.

elevated FFKEC May the soul of Antonietta, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

elevated FFKEC I love you, Mom.

elevated FFKEC Antonietta is survived by her husband, three children, and grandsons Daniel Christian, Justin, Nolan, Lucas, Leonides, Lenox and Logan. Pre-deceased by Rya, our Golden Retriever.

elevated FFKEC Confer, O Lord, on us, who serve beneath the standard of Mary, that fullness of faith in You and trust in her, to which it is given to conquer the world.

elevated FFKEC Grant us a lively faith, animated by charity, which will enable us to perform all our actions from the motive of pure love of You, and ever to see You and serve You in our neighbour; a faith, firm and immovable as a rock, through which we shall rest tranquil and steadfast amid the crosses, toils and disappointments of life; a courageous faith which will inspire us to undertake and carry out without hesitation great things for your glory and for the salvation of souls; a faith which will be our Legion’s Pillar of Fire – to lead us forth united – to kindle everywhere the fires of divine love – to enlighten those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death – to inflame those who are lukewarm – to bring back life to those who are dead in sin; and which will guide our own feet in the way of peace; so that – the battle of life over – our Legion may reassemble, without the loss of any one, in the kingdom of Your love and glory. Amen.