A Sad Farewell to Tony Reyes

Beloved friend who started conversations with a 'hey buddy!' was laid to rest Tuesday at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Los Altos after a sorrowful service in Cupertino.


A potpourri of more than 400 people packed into a Cupertino church Tuesday morning to say goodbye to their friend Tony Reyes.

"The farewell we give Tony is a temporary farewell. The burial is a temporary burial," said Friar Don Morgan of St. Joseph's Church, where Reyes had been christened and now received his last rites. "Tony will rise."

Born in Mountain View, raised in Cupertino and resident of San Bruno, Reyes bowled for the San Jose State University team and as professional bowler, won one Professional Bowling Association (PBA) title in 2006 with a score of 255. His 300 perfect game still echoes in the memory of PBA diehards. He died tragically in a late-night vehicle accident on Highway 101 in Redwood City on Sept. 28, 2012.

At the funeral mass, Reyes' relatives and bowling friends blended into one large extended family.

"As his mother-in-law, I knew he was popular and we knew he had lots of friends," said Mary Sylls, who carried Reyes' 12-month-old daughter Gianna dressed in a delicate embroidered black and white tulle dress—in Oakland Raiders colors Sylls added, his favorite NFL team.

"He was just Tony to us. Our Tony."

Outside of the church, friends shared memories and thoughts about the guy who cared deeply about the sport of bowling and started conversations with a "hey buddy!"

"He was everything to everyone," said Jamar Lee of Livermore and a bowler for 21 years. "To me he was a brother, a teacher, a coach and a dear friend."

The mother of a 17-year-old junior bowler shared that Reyes had once told friends that his dream had been to be the best bowler ever, but that as time went on—and he didn't reach that goal—his new dream was to help the youth.

"He did it with the biggest smile on his face," said Mardi James, a San Jose resident.

James moved her son from the Cambrian Bowling Alley to 4th Street Bowl where Reyes played, coached and ran the Off the Sheet Pro-Shop. She explained junior bowlers were usually between 13 and 20 years old.

"He had used bowling balls that he would give out. He'd give it to the juniors for free," she said. "His love for junior bowlers was beyond measure and he showed it. He wanted each one to succeed."

A shared passion for bowling—and Reyes' positivity—attracted people to his energy. Reyes helped people fix equipment for free and even reviewed and analyzed video with bowlers.

"He must be the most well-known bowler with only one title in the PBA," said Brett Mercurio, 30. He looked over to where Reyes daughter ran around in the grass outside of the church. "She probably won't remember her father, but she'll be told about him."

Minutes later when Sylls heard about the love friends had for Reyes, she choked back tears. "We lost a son. We loved him and he loved us. I know because he would always tell us," she said.

She looked solemnly at Gianna.

"She will know him," she said, "Because his friends will always share his stories."


A memorial fund has been set up to help wife Nicole and daughter Gianna. For more information click here.

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Sean Mulligan October 12, 2012 at 03:06 PM
When I heard Tony was running a shop In San Jose, I rushed down there to meet him. Instantly we became friends. He helped me with so much whether it be with equipment or lessons. WE always felt good after we visited him! Laura and I will truly miss you Tony!
Mardi James October 14, 2012 at 02:34 AM
My son bowled a 300 today during Junior League at 4th Street Bowl. He used a ball that Tony had chosen and given him a week before he died. Thank you Tony! You are still so much a part of us and ALWAYS will be!
Lynne Ono October 27, 2012 at 03:54 AM
The very first time I met Tony was in Ft. Lauderdale. I accompanied my sons for the Jr. Gold event and was so excited to actually meet a Pro Bowler. He was working one of the booths and we immediately began talking. Being from Hawaii, he made me feel so special. The funny thing is, we were having such a good time when a parent came up to talk with Tony and she thought I was his wife.We just looked at one another and starting laughing. The lady was a little embarrassed when I told her I wasn't his wife and then she asked if I was his girlfriend!! That's how Tony made everyone feel, like they were somebody. I will never forget that moment and every time I saw him, whether in Las Vegas, Hawaii , or any other city, we always greeted one another with, "Hi Honey!". He will truly be missed but, never forgotten. Lynne Ono
Kevin Landis October 27, 2012 at 06:37 AM
I met Tony a few times and can say that he is a very special person. I have never met someone so passionate about bowling, especially youth bowling. Tony was always fun to be around with an electric personality. He always had a smile on his face and had such an optimistic outlook. The world was a better place because of Tony. He may not physically be with us but his spirit will live on in us. I will miss Tony. My prayers go out to his family during this time.
Allen Laws October 30, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. I had the pleasure of meeting Tony in Hammond Indiana. As the professional he was he was very approachable, seemed to always have a smile on his face. May God bless your family.


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