Frankie Masini Vento, vice president, Circolo Gozitano, writes:

On May 19, Gozo lost a great gentleman who, throughout his life, strove to promote the academic, cultural, social and spiritual well-being of his fellow Gozitans.

A humble dockyard worker at the start of his career, he studied to become a teacher and succeeded in leaving his mark in Gozo’s educational field. Always the innovator, he was instrumental in starting the teaching of several new subjects at the Gozo Technical Institute and Lyceum. Chemistry, electrical engineering, electronics and agriculture all owe their start to Anton, the dedicated teacher whose distinguishing feature lay in being able to communicate all of his knowledge to his students and to inspire them to study even further. He himself never stopped studying and, aged 72, he graduated Bachelor of Arts when such a course started being offered at the University’s Gozo branch.

Anton immersed himself in many social, cultural and religious NGOs and wherever he occupied himself he always did so energetically and dedicatedly while continuously embarking on several new projects.

As an official of the Legion of Mary he gave birth to Vexillina, a bi-monthly magazine still being published today. The popular annual Festival Marjan was his brainchild. He also used to operate the Legion press and was in charge of the Philately Club.

As a committee member of the Leone Band Club he founded the Aurora Youth Movement and the Aurora Folk Group, the first folk group in the Maltese islands.

As a member of the parish council of the Gozo Cathedral he was a co-founder of the Cathedral Library and was a principal contributor to Radju Katidral in its early years. He taught numerous cathecism classes and gave free tuition in different subjects to the youngsters of the community.

Anton was also active in the Gozo Scout Group and occupied the post of chairman for five years. He founded the Gozo Radio Amateurs Society and was the first person on the island to obtain a radio licence. He was a member of the Għaqda tal-Presepji and president of the Agius de Soldanis girls secondary school for 10 years. For several years he served on the Kunsill Malti għall-Anzjani. In 1982, Bishop Nikol Cauchi appointed him a lay minister for the Holy Eucharist.

In spite of all these commitments, Anton still found time to write several literary works , his best-known being the Ballata tal-konvoj ta’ Santa Marija which was performed on various occasions. Another publication of his was the Quiz storiku reliġjuż because Anton was a well-known quizmaster of spiritual matters and organised numerous quizzes all over Gozo. He was also a guest speaker at many parishes, proficient in many subjects and much liked by his audiences.

In his lifetime, Anton received various tributes such as Ġieħ il-Parroċċa, Ġieħ iż-Żebbuġ, Ġieħ il-Belt Victoria and Ġieħ Għawdex (awarded by the Circolo Gozitano). Though he appreciated such honours, he remained a very humble and unassuming man to his last days.

As a lifelong member of the Christian doctrine society MUSEUM, he subscribed to Saint Ġorġ Preca’s maxim of thinking about death on a daily basis in order to live a good life.

To illustrate the unimportance of material goods he used to tell his fellow workers at the Cathedral Library, where, as he grew older, he spent most of his day, that when he died he wanted them to hoist his shirt on a stick and say: “Anton Farrugia did not manage to take even this with him to the afterlife.”

That is true indeed with respect to worldly goods but he surely managed to take with him his many good deeds and also managed to leave Gozitan society much richer thanks to his sojourn on this earth.

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