Anthony Older (Tony) Friedman died at home on Feb. 10. He was 82.

He was born in Charleston, W. Va. in August, 1939 and graduated from Charleston High School in 1957. He commenced college at Washington & Lee University until serving in the U.S. Army, the West Virginia Air National Guard and the U.S. Air Force. While in service he also drove a delivery van for Purity Maid Bread, a business owned by his mother’s family. To the delight of his nieces and nephews, he then drove for Mr. Softee. He loved to hand out free ice cream to children he recognized.

Tony’s public service continued in Washington D.C. He served in management positions on the staffs of Senators Robert C. Byrd, Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh while completing his degree at the University of Maryland in 1969. Ever the entrepreneur, he bought and renovated houses on Capitol Hill, living with co-workers and developing lifelong friendships.

Inspired by family trips to the Virgin Islands, he worked on the Princess Holly, a day cruise ship based on St. Croix. There he met his future wife, Barbara Jeanette Buell. Barbara’s fond memories of childhood sailing lessons drew them to Martha’s Vineyard and they married on the Island in November 1974. At this time, Tony singlehandedly sailed his sloop, The Brother Jack, from St. Croix to the Vineyard, worked on the Schamonchi ferry and obtained his Coast Guard Merchant Marine Master Auxiliary license.

The family relocated to Arlington, Va. when he accepted an appointment from President Jimmy Carter to be the director of public affairs to the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. He served until the end of the Carter administration and the family returned to Martha’s Vineyard.

Tony and Barbara opened Fat Tony’s restaurant in West Tisbury, which went on to be known as Sunset Gardens, The Roadhouse and The Red Cat. His happiest years were mainly spent at his restaurant, often employing his children and their cousins to serve ice cream and cool drinks from the carryout. He still captained some waterways trips during the off-season and served as a trustee and member of the West Tisbury Library finance committee. He wrote the novel Dead Season on Martha’s Vineyard, published in 2010.

Tony and Barbara divorced in 1989 but remained mutually devoted to caring for their children. Ever the adventurer, he again took to the seas but as a passenger: he circumnavigated the world by freighter to take his brother Bill’s dog to him in Mozambique. He returned to the Vineyard until he became ill with prostate cancer. He retired to West Virginia in 2001.

In Greenbriar county, he recovered from cancer, dabbled in real estate and bought the local Cosmic Cab franchise. While driving he employed his best skill: telling stories of his adventurous life and listening to his customers’ stories with compassion and kindness.

Tony is survived by his brother Bill and his spouse Becky Kramer Friedman of Charlottesville, Va., his cousin and best friend Charles Friedman of Lewisburg, W. Va.; and his cherished daughter Mariana Marie Friedman, her husband Jacob Hankamer and his treasured grandson Simon Hankamer, all of Santa Cruz, Calif. He is also survived by cousins, nieces, nephews and numerous relations.

He was predeceased by his parents William Joseph and Anne Marie Older Friedman, his brother Jack and his wife Jeannie Turner Friedman, and his son Adam Charles Friedman.

His family thanks the Veterans Association of America for its care.

In Tony’s memory, take time to show kindness to an animal in need, treat a child to an ice cream cone on a hot day, or turn your ear to a story that someone needs to tell.