Anthony Soper, 41: Lived for family and loved ones

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BRUNSWICK — Anthony “Tony” Raymond Soper, 41, of Brunswick, died July 30 surrounded by family and loved ones at Togus Veterans Medical Center in Augusta, after a courageous, odds-defying, seven-year battle with ALS.

He was born in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 11, 1971, the son of Harold and Joyce Soper.

Soper grew up in Fenton, Mich., and attended local schools, where he played football and wrestled. He then enlisted into the U.S. Army, serving honorably until his discharge in 1990. After returning to Michigan, he worked various jobs while attending Mott Community College. In 1991 he graduated as a certified nursing assistant.

In 1992, Soper set out on a spontaneous trek that landed him in Brunswick, where he would go on to make his home.

In 1993, fate led him to the love of his life, Judy. They were married on Sept. 2, 1995.

Shortly after his arrival in Maine, Soper began his career as a commercial lobster fisherman. He continued to work the waters of New England until 2006, when his ALS diagnosis forced him to retire early. Over the course of his career, he developed a deep love of the sea.

He enjoyed fishing, golfing and exploring anything new. More than anything, he enjoyed being with his family, a pastime Soper referred to as “livin’ the dream.”

He loved his espresso. Although always willing to try a new place, his loyalty was home in Brunswick to the “Bo-Ho,” where was a familiar face for nearly 20 years.

After being diagnosed with ALS, Soper quickly became an ambassador for those afflicted with the disease, and a warrior in the fight to find a cure for it. His unwavering commitment and generosity were part of what defined his life, and were evidenced even in his passing, as he donated his brain and spine to ALS research.

The family extends a special thanks to Dr. Richardson, his assistant Cathy, and all the dedicated staff who cared for Soper at Togus; Dr. Staley, Judy Gillman, and all the staff at the SCI Clinic; and home care professionals who have become part of the family.

Soper was preceded in death by his mother, Joyce Soper.

Surviving are his wife, Judy; daughter Crystal Kurotori and her husband Alan; grandchildren Alex, Logan and Annika, of San Jose, Calif.; son Jeff Hurd, of Waldoboro; father Harold Soper, of Montrose, Mich.; brothers Dan Soper, of Fenton, Mich., Jeff Soper, of Haslett, Mich., and Brian Soper, of Spotsylvania, Va.; and sister Kelly Hodges, of Montrose, Mich. He is also survived by nieces Christina Florian, Megan Hodges and Chelsea Soper, and nephews Joseph Soper, Michael Soper and Brison Soper.

A celebration of his life was held Sunday at Stetson’s Funeral Home, in Brunswick. Burial in Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery will be held at a later date.

Donations in Soper’s name may be made to The ALS Association, Northern New England Chapter, The Concord Center, 10 Ferry St., Suite 309, Concord, NH 03301.

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