AP NEWS

Retired Greenwich police officer, WWII medic, dies at 94

April 9, 2019

GREENWICH - Anthony Presto, a retired Greenwich police patrolman and World War II medic, has died at age 94.

Presto began his 22-year career with the Greenwich Police Department on April 16, 1951 and retired on July 15, 1973.

He died April 4 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Anthony (Tony and Tut to his friends) was born to Angelina and Antonio Presto on May 26, 1924. Raised in Greenwich with a strong work ethic, he became a medic in WWII, and a Greenwich policeman, known to many on Greenwich Ave and at Manero’s.

Highlights of Officer Presto’s Career include multiple commendations for his alertness and calm handling of guests and employees during the Pickwick Arms Hotel fire of 1962 and resuscitating an individual using CPR on a separate occasion.

The Pickwick Arms Hotel opened in 1920 on the corner Greenwich Avenue and the Boston Post Road. It became a favorite destination for spectators heading to and from the Yale-Harvard football game in New Haven, as well as a wedding site for impatient couples who discovered Connecticut state laws had easy loopholes to get to the altar fast. (The hotel was the setting of marriage vows between Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh in 1951. Jerry Lewis was the best man.

According to his death notice, “Anthony lived in Greenwich for 80 years until his wife, Mary Gambaro Presto, died. He moved to West Palm Beach where his love of greens, games and generosity found him even more friends. Golf, bowling, card games, shopping, arcades and attending musical productions filled his days.

“Music was always playing, loudly, in his home. He sang, on tune and well to his favorites - Sinatra, Como, Cline and The Four Seasons.

“Food and love were synonymous in an Italian household. One cabinet filled with sweets. A stand-alone freezer in residence in the living room with ribs and pizza. For a man born during the Depression, living in a tenement house where his fourteen siblings shared three beds, and pigeons were caught through open windows for meals, food was definitely a delight.

“Anthony’s generosity and kindness to strangers knew no bounds. If you walked in his door, you walked out with something from his statue collection. His mailbox was jammed with requests for donations, all of which benefited from his largess.”

A memorial Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Church, at 95 Henry Street in Greenwich at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

“We join all members of the Department in extending our sincere sympathy to the Presto family,” the Greenwich Police Department posted on its Facebook page.

Presto’s death following the passing of Michael Cofone, who was a Greenwich police officer from 1948 to 1973. Cofone died March 10. At 97, Cofone was the oldest retiree of the Greenwich Police Department.

Like Presto, Cofone was praised for his service in Pickwick Arms Hotel fire of 1962 . Cofone the helped rescue a man trapped in the Pickwick Arms Hotel during a fire and performed CPR on another town resident, saving his life, according to the department.