SUGAR GROVE – Anthony Oliver will be remembered as a kind and gentle soul.
Oliver, 73, passed away on Dec. 23, 2017, after a 12-year battle with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a form of cancer.
Oliver is survived by his wife, Marcia; his daughter, Sandra; and his two sons Tristan and Fletcher. Anthony and Marcia Oliver's oldest son, Leighton, passed away in 1996.
Anthony Oliver served as a president and trustee of the Sugar Grove Public Library Board. As a Sugar Grove resident, he devoted much of his time to supporting the library in every way he could. He also served for many years as an elder of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Aurora.
He was a native of Hillingdon, England, and was born on March 23, 1944.
Marcia Oliver described her 40-year marriage to her husband as peaceful and full of kindness as much as humanly possible.
Their love story began when Anthony Oliver was working as an architect building a hospital in Africa. Marcia Oliver's father, Raymond, owned a manufacturing company called, Capaul Ceilings. The Dutch distributor flew Anthony Oliver out to Dallas, Texas, to look at acoustic ceilings that wouldn’t lose their form in humid conditions.
“It’s a love story,” she said. “[Anthony] Oliver then flew to Chicago to our home in Aurora in January of 1977 in a record-breaking cold winter. We met, and my mother, Gertrude, noticed us catch fire from across the room. I thought that was cool she saw that.”
Both of their lives would never be the same as they made a lifetime commitment over the phone.
“He flew back the next day, and we talked all night. He told me he missed me and wanted to see me," she said. "I asked him if he was asking me to marry him, and he said, ‘yes.’ He wanted to marry me and that changed everything. I was 27, and he was 32 at the time.”
They were married in August of 1977.
The couple enjoyed kayaking together and challenging each other to go farther each time.
“We would set goals and go till we got exhausted,” she said. “We would go all summer long, and we took the Fox River all the way to where the Illinois River joins.”
People in the community have reached out to the Sugar Grove Public Library after Anthony Oliver’s passing. Sugar Grove Public Library Director Shannon Halikias has received notes and letters that are a testament to Anthony Oliver’s love for his community and the library.
“We are a work family, not just a community,” Halikias said. “We all care for each other. We have received notes from all over from other library directors after Mr. Oliver passed. I got to meet with him when he was at home in hospice. It was nice to see him before he passed. I brought flowers and visited. He was a kind and giving man, while also bringing a dignity and authority to the position of president, which served us wonderfully."
Anthony Oliver's roles at the Sugar Grove Public Library have included trustee, vice president and president since he joined the board in 2011.
Halikias remembered when he spoke at the "Portrait of a Soldier" event in 2015.
“Mr. Oliver was originally from England,” Halikias said. “He has deep personal sense of our freedoms. He was very appreciative of our freedoms we have here. At the 'Portrait of a Soldier' event, he talked about how meaningful it was to think about America’s involvement in World War II and the hope he had for his country.”
Services for Anthony Oliver will take place Jan. 20 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at 10 N. Edgelawn Drive, Aurora. The service will start with a visitation at 10 a.m. followed by an 11 a.m. service.