Tony Hollenbacka former Chicagoan who resided in Santa Barbara, Californiahas passed away. He was 52.
Journal & Topics noted that Tim Hollenback said of Tony, "During a dental procedure, my brother Tony fell into anaphylactic shock from anesthesia. He was on a ventilator and never recovered. He was pronounced brain-dead. He is gone…"
Tony was a regional manager of behavioral wellness for the County of Santa Barbara since 2019. He previously worked at Dominican University and for the Village of Niles (the latter as family services director), both in Illinois.
Previously, he was also a eucharistic minister at Chicago's Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church's regular Sunday-afternoon mass and a member of the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach (AGLO) board, according to a Chicago Tribune article.
Tony graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in communications and psychology. He later received a master's degree in social work from Loyola University Chicago.
When Hollenback left to go to California, he said before he started working for the village in 2013 that he never would have imagined working in a government setting, according to the publication Journal & Topics. He said the work he was able to do in Niles was an "answer to a prayer," allowing Hollenback to influence policy away from a reactive crisis model to one that is proactive.
Tony's Facebook page was flooded with tributes and remembrances.
Jay Jerome Hollenback, a first cousin, posted, "Born less than a year apart, so naturally paired. Together, Anthony John and Jay Jerome carried our grandfather's name. We shared a godmother. My earliest memory (age 3), Tony was there. As we stumbled our way into coming of age, my cousin was there, toppling into each other yet somehow propping up each other. As unlikely a pair as Mutt & Jeff we miraculously kept our collective tripping from turning into a fall. Bones and the Shrimp Kid shared a bond only forged by a lifetime of bending and folding, hammered out again."
Cary Weldy posted, "Tony was one of the sweetest souls and finest of people I've been privileged to know for at least 15-20 years. He embraced everyone with a smile and open heart. His gentle spirit will be remembered by many, especially in Chicago."
Tim added on Facebook, "Many have asked about services. Those dates will be coming soon. I am planning with my parents for a service in [Wisconsin]. With the help of his friends we are also planning another in the Chicago area. Thank you for all your support."
Windy City Times plans to provide updates soon.