The Nautical City Festival has become an annual event where ?hometown? is synonymous with fun and festivities. It is the big time of the year when local residents, past residents, and visitors all become one group with one goal: to have a grand time. With that in mind, it is fitting that the 2006 Nautical City Festival Grand Marshal is life-long, dedicated citizen of Rogers City, Anthony ?Tony? Przybyla Jr., the third Przybyla to be given the honor. His father, Anthony Sr., and his brother, Jim, were both named as Grand Marshals in previous years.
TONY IS a familiar face in Rogers City. He was the seventh child of Anthony Sr. and Anna Przybyla. ?I was born and raised in Rogers City,? said Tony. ?I?ve been here all my life, except for the two years I was in the Army.? He is the owner and operator of A-P Super Service, which has withstood the test of time on Third Street in Rogers City. The family business has evolved over the years, and Tony has been a key component to that growth almost every step of the way. Tony?s father, Anthony Sr., started the business in 1928. Tony joined the ranks at the family-run business as a secretary, and took over bookkeeping in 1956. He, his father, and brother, Ralph, incorporated in 1968. After Ralph unexpectedly passed away in 1984, Tony took over as full owner. Perhaps one of the most memorable years for Tony is 1976 ? the year he married his wife, Mary. Mary grew up in Grand Blanc as the middle child of Bob and Freida Pleasant. While teaching in Houghton Lake, she was asked to be a bridesmaid in a wedding in which Tony was also involved.
?WE MET AT Brenda and Mac Lamp?s wedding,? said Mary. ?I was a bridesmaid, and Tony was doing the readings.? The two met and married a year later, and this year marks 30 years of their successful union. Mary has worked as a substitute teacher in Rogers City for eight years, and also works at the Rogers City Country Club golf course in the pro-shop. Tony and Mary have two children, Katie (Kimball) and Anthony (?A.J.?). Katie, the older of the two, lives in Grand Rapids with her husband, Kris, and their one-year-old son, Paul. Tony and Mary admit they are proud grandparents. ?Paul is a real active baby,? said Tony. ?He is walking, and he really loves it outside.? Tony and Mary?s son, A.J., has been known as such since he was a young child. He is the third Anthony in the Przybyla family, which would also make the third Tony. ?I didn?t want to have two Tony?s in the house, so we called him A.J.,? said Mary. A.J. is now the sales manager at A-P Super Service, and he is also a member of the Army National Guard.
TONY SAID he is very proud of his family, and feels that he is very blessed by them. ?I am very fortunate,? said Tony. ?I have a beautiful wife, and two great kids.? Being involved in his hometown is important to Tony, and he has shown this through his contribution to several different organizations. He has been very active in the past in the men?s baseball league. He also assisted in the Rogers City Little League program. Tony has been an active member of the Knights of Columbus for almost 50 years. He has served as its treasurer and secretary, and is presently a trustee. He also served as Grand Knight for three years, prior to working as treasurer and secretary. He has been a contributing member of St. Ignatius Catholic Church for many years, volunteering as a reader and distributor. He is a member of the Rogers City Servicman?s Club. Tony is also proud of his involvement in the local bowling league. His A-P Super Service and Dodge team is the oldest team in the city, and has had a member of the Przybyla family bowling on it at all times. ?We have had the same sponsor (A-P Super Service and Dodge) since 1941,? said Tony. ?I was bowler of the year in 1966-67, and placed in the local Bowlers Hall of Fame, along with my dad.?
Tony is also a fan of golf, although he admits that Mary is the golfer in the family. He supports the Ralph Przybyla Memorial Golf Tournament, which was started by The Sunday Morning Golfers. This year marks its 23rd anniversary. Being named the Nautical Festival Grand Marshal is one way for the city to honor one of its dedicated, life-long residents. Tony said leading the annual parade ?is an honor? for both he and Mary. THE PRESIDENT of the Festival Committee, John Houk, said this year?s Nautical Festival will be August 1-6, with the Nautical Queen?s Pageant slated for July 28. ?This year we have a new Mardi Gras theme night in the tent on Friday,? said Houk. ?We are also planning a Texas Hold ?Em poker tournament, as long as our license comes through in time.? Whether you are a long-time resident, or a first-time visitor, the 2006 Nautical Festival is sure to provide something for everyone to enjoy.