OBIT: Wilton “Bro. Tony” Drayton Anthony

June 26, 1935 – February 1, 2023

My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.

-Billy Graham

Wilton Drayton Anthony passed from this life to his Heavenly home on February 1, 2023, after a short battle with Lymphoma.  He is survived by his devoted daughters, Cheryl Elizabeth Ricer and husband Fred and Carole Michelle Harlien and husband Heath; his beloved grandsons, Michael Bryce Morgan and his wife Megan Molina Morgan, Peyton Anthony Hargrove; and granddaughter, Karsen Harlien; his loving brother, Charles Anthony and wife Clarene and a sister-in-law, Bonnie Anthony (Jimmy); along with countless nephews and nieces that he loved deeply and unselfishly.

He is preceded in death by his darling beautiful wife, Flo; his parents, Drayton Hoy Anthony and Zelma Blackwell Anthony; his brothers, Jimmy Anthony and Robert Anthony; Furman Anthony, Howard Anthony, Elmore (Buddy) Anthony, MG Anthony, Mack Anthony, and Gordon Anthony; and his sisters, Rose Anthony, Juanita DeLatin Blackwell, and Betty DeLatin Hopkins Lafitte.

Bro. Tony (as he was known by many who loved him) was born on June 26, 1935, in Negreet, Louisiana. He graduated from Florien High School in 1953.  He was awarded a scholarship to play basketball at Louisiana College and later East Texas Baptist College. This was a great accomplishment as he was the first in his family to attend college. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Religion. Bro. Tony pastored his first church, Pleasant Hill Baptist, while still in college.  During his time at East Texas Baptist, he met Florene King, who became his wife on September 3, 1955. Later on, he earned a Master’s Degree in Theology from Southwestern Theological Seminary.

Together, Bro. Tony and Ms. Flo served at the following churches:

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Pleasant Hill, LA (1954-1955)

Magnolia Baptist, Ragley, LA (1955-1959)

Baptist Church, Groves, TX (1959-1961)

Bethel Baptist, Lake Charles, LA (1961-1967)

McDonald Memorial Baptist Church, Orange, TX (1967-1971)

First Baptist Church, Port Neches, TX (1971-1983)

First Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant, TX (1983-1989)

First Baptist Church, Arcadia, LA (1989-1998)

Siloam Baptist Church, Many, LA (1998-2023)

Bro. Tony served the longest at Siloam Baptist Church and considered Toledo Bend his home. He introduced the congregation here to many new ideas. For the children, he began Children’s Time during morning worship, Mystery Trips, Basketball and Cheer Camps, Pool Tournaments at Belinda’s as well as Lawnmower Races and the Mutt Strut. The teenagers had never heard of Centrifuge, nor had ever been snow skiing. Under Bro. Tony’s leadership, each year they made the trip either to Angel Fire, New Mexico, or Monarch Pass, Colorado, to enjoy the slopes. Also, it never failed that the old, white church bus pulled out headed to Ridgecrest, North Carolina, and returned home with youth and adults whose lives were forever changed by summer camps at Centrifuge. He never missed the children or youth sporting events and even announced the home games at NHS for many years. The adults were not left out. They, too, would board the bus for a fish fry at Clara Springs or a long weekend to Branson or Ridgecrest.

Bro. Tony had a vision to build a new sanctuary and a Family Life Center. This new construction brought new members and families into the congregation. He set high goals for his church, and failure was never an option. He was not only a leader, but he was also a friend.

His life’s purpose and impact were powerful for the kingdom of Heaven. Bro. Tony led and baptized thousands to faith in Jesus Christ. He united many couples in holy matrimony and dedicated infants to the faith. He was always there for anyone in need no matter the day or time. His family—immediate, extended, and church—relied heavily upon him and without fail. Not only did he carry them with dignity and grace, but he also uplifted and upheld everyone he encountered as a steadfast example of Christian faith, hope, and love. He set a high bar for the vocation of pastor by his example. His wit was quick; his humor, endless; his smile, enduring; his heart, forever light; and his influence everlasting.

Visitation will be held at Siloam Baptist Church, 35480 Hwy. 191, Many, LA, on Saturday, February 4, from 5-8 PM. The service will be on Sunday, February 5, at 2 PM also at Siloam Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Antioch Baptist Church Cemetery in Florien, LA.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations to the Siloam Baptist Church Youth Fund in memory of Bro. Tony be mailed to Siloam Baptist Church, 35480 Hwy. 191, Many, LA 71449.

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