1931 – 2011 (January 26)
Anthony Wasko was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania on May 16, 1931 to Joseph Wasko and Elizabeth DeConcini. When Tony was a small boy, his father died in a coal mining accident. His mother later married George Price. He professed vows in the Order on September 10, 1951, and graduated from Villanova University in 1955. Following studies, he was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1958.
In 1959, Father Wasko was assigned to his first priestly assignment, and arrived at the San Diego train station wearing a straw hat, not typical for the locale. His east coast sensibilities were at first challenged by perceived west coast impropriety, but soon Father Wasko fell in love with California, and particularly Catholic high school education. He Tony taught for ten years at St. Augustine High School in San Diego. He was the headmaster of Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, California from 1969 to 1975. In 1975 he became the principal of St. Augustine High School, and proved himself a most effective administrator. On September 25, 1978 his leadership was challenged as principal in a way that no one could ever imagine. PSA flight 182 crashed over North Park and the school gym became a triage and command and control center. Father Wasko proved to be the most effective of school ministers and civic leaders.
In 1984, Father Wasko became the Director of Development for St. Augustine High School. In 1989, and for the next eighteen years, he was an effective and beloved parish priest, serving first at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Los Angeles, and then at Saint Patrick’s Church in San Diego. In 2001, he was named archivist for the California Province. Intermittently, over many years, Father Wasko celebrated the Sunday mass at St. Augustine’s High School Chapel.
While still teaching, he created the California Province’s “Augustinian Guild,” for the education of students in formation. Father Wasko had a master’s degree in drama and made use of it at will, making him an effective preacher.
On January 26, 2011, Father Anthony J. Wasko O.S.A. died at home suddenly of a combination of illnesses, including a bad heart. Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego.