Tony Maurovich: Deep faith,
passionate journalist, animal lover
That Tony Maurovich was dressed for heaven with a Giants cap perched near his head, and a scarf in the blue-and-gold of the University of Notre Dame around his shoulders, seemed perfect to those closest to him.
His sports teams were just one of the devotions of Anthony J. Maurovich, who died Oct. 25 in his beloved San Francisco. He was 84.
Although rosary beads were wrapped around his hands, there might have been room for a proofreader's pencil, sharped to a fine point.
For 50 years, since its beginning in 1963, Tony Maurovich was a member of the staff of The Catholic Voice, the newspaper of the Diocese of Oakland. His brother, then-Msgr. Frank Maurovich, was appointed its first editor by Bishop Floyd Begin. His younger brother taught himself newspaper design, a skill he would use for half a century.
"For Tony, working at The Voice was not a job. It was the place where his deep faith and his journalistic excellence could intersect on a daily basis," said Monica Clark, editor of The Catholic Voice from 1986 to 2010.
"Whether he was proofreading an editorial page, compiling Datelines or deciding the placement of ads, he was attentive to every detail, making certain that each issue of the paper was accurate, artful and reflective of Catholic belief," she said. "He really cared. Even after 45 years, he would come into the office each day with enthusiasm and readiness to help put out the next edition.
"I most valued his wisdom and insight on theological and ecclesiastical matters," Clark said. "He kept current with the latest Church trends and developments, and I could count on him for an energetic conversation that often led me to improve a headline, rewrite a paragraph or rephrase a photo caption.
"He was our sage, but with the deepest humility," she said.
Over the years, readers of The Voice also saw his byline on sports stories.
"To me, Tony was the essence of journalist, dedicated to the Church," said Bill Ford, longtime director of the CYO sports program. "We would see him for hours engaged in layout work in our building, before the days of computers.
"Most of all to me, he was always someone that would 'talk sports.' When anything happened, especially during the baseball season, I would seek him out to get his informed sports opinion of Giants' pitching or hitting and often the lack of it! He would bemoan various moves by the team, but always held hope for the future of the team," he said.
His Giants, it should be noted, were up 3-2 in the World Series on the day he died.
Mr. Maurovich was his "ace-in-the-hole," said brother Frank in a 2009 interview. Frank Maurovich took care of the editing, while brother Tony took "care of the production and technical stuff."
Frank Maurovich said at the funeral: "His real passion was The Catholic Voice. He loved that job." He noted that the medical incident that ended his career happened on the way to do the work he loved.
"Tony was a perfectionist, which was for him both a blessing and a burden," he said.
Mr. Maurovich' s devotion to his faith, his community and animals were also noted during his funeral Mass Nov. 3 at St. Monica Church in San Francisco, where he served as volunteer weekend sacristan and usher.
The funeral Mass was celebrated by Bishop John S. Cummins, the bishop emeritus of Oakland, who got to know the Maurovich brothers when they were teenagers. Concelebrants included the priests of St. Monica Church, as well as Revs. Don Osuna, Paul Schmidt and Richard Mangini of the Diocese of Oakland. Father Mangini was the second editor of The Catholic Voice.
"This is a giant lineup," Frank Maurovich would say later.
In his homily, Bishop Cummins drew connections between the perseverance described in the Scriptures and Mr. Maurovich's life.
Mr. Maurovich graduated maxima cum laude from St. Joseph's College in Mountain View in 1949. Although illness prevented him from being ordained a priest, he spent his life in service to the church.
Before his move to The Catholic Voice, he served Latino farmworkers in the fields of California and Mexico with the Spanish Mission Band, led by four priests from the Archdiocese of San Francisco and also assisted in pastoral work at St. Cornelius Parish in Richmond.
Leaving The Catholic Voice was not something he did willingly. "He did not hear the suggestion of retirement," Bishop Cummins said.
Mr. Maurovich's service to animals — he would feed feral cats in Golden Gate Park before heading in to work — was carried out even during his commute. He would take the Geary Express bus to a BART station downtown.
At Third and Market streets, he got to know Turk, a pit bull whose human, Randy, died and left him to Robert Long. Tony being Tony, he brought treats regularly for Turk, who is 9.
"Tony knew him all his life," Long said.
When congestive heart failure confined Mr. Maurovich close to home two years ago, Long and Turk would make the trip to the Maurovich house every Tuesday, where treats were always waiting.
Long brought Turk to St. Monica's to say farewell to their friend, but Turk was not having it. "Turk loved him too," he said. "He tried to drag me to his house today."
Mr. Maurovich is survived by his brother Frank Maurovich, sister-in-law Betty Castro Maurovich, nephew Peter Anthony Maurovich and niece Phylura Maurovich.
The family said donations to St. Monica School, 470 24th Ave., San Francisco, CA 94121 would be welcome.
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