Community mourns beloved businessman Tony Artale after losing battle with COVID-19

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Stateline man’s recent death from COVID-19 is affecting far more people beyond his own family. They say Tony Artale made his community better by giving back to people in need.

His son and business partner tells us that Tony left a lasting legacy.

“I would say more importantly, hug the ones you love because you don’t know if you’ll ever see them again,” said Tony’s son Anthony Artale.

“He touched so many lives of the greater Rockford area,” said Kim Adams-Bakke, the executive director for Rock River Family Pantry.

Stateline non-profits remember Antonio (Tony) Artale as a generous man.

“It put organizations, even the small ones, in front of people that would never have accounted them otherwise,” Jillisa Bondurant, the program director for Winnebago County CASA.

“Tony just had a big heart. He had a heart for the community. He had a heart for the people that lived in the community and he chose to make a difference in so many ways,” Adams-Bakke added. “The Artale Wine Nights was an opportunity to bring a lot of people together…Every glass that was sold a percentage would go right back into helping those in need in our community.”

Tony died from COVID-19 complications. His son and business partner Anthony shared his emotional plea after losing his father to the deadly virus.

“Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Stay socially distant,” Anthony said.

Anthony’s last goodbye was on a computer as his father lay in a hospital bed on a ventilator. Now he is working to make sure his memory isn’t forgotten.

“We are going to start a Tony Artale Family Memorial. We’ll do events through the store to raise money for that memorial,” he added. “It’s in the works, but…since we’re a big soccer family, I want to do a Tony Artale penalty kick contest every summer to raise money for the memorial. Something that everybody could do even if you don’t play soccer.”

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