In Loving Memory

Anthony Raspa

This is Ana. It feels like the whole world is mourning the tragic loss of Anthony Raspa, 24, of Highland Park, NJ.

Anthony was a truly extraordinary person, a child artist and charter member of the Academy of Art of Highland Park (AAHP), back when it began on my kitchen table as the Creative Genius Workshop, at 2 River Rd., Highland Park, some 17 years ago.

Anthony trained with me for several years, often alongside his sisters Maria and Stephanie, with younger sister Christina following in his footsteps several years later.

Anthony loved to bring me pages and pages of cartoons sketched at home, where he would spend hours drawing endlessly. He loved studio. Anthony was in love with his life as artist and with the study of his craft.

Anthony’s parents Sal and Elizabeth Raspa, and his paternal and maternal grandparents, all gave total, loving, support to his several pursuits, including the arts, as well as diverse sports, international travel, and community service.

Anthony ‘s enthusiasm inspired me to keep teaching, sharing, building. To be sure, Anthony and his loving family have played a large role in supporting the arts and learning in general, and the Art Academy’s mission in particular.

We will never forget Anthony’s huge, loving heart, and that arresting smile, full of enthusiasm and generosity. Anthony was, is, and will remain, a wondrous blessing amongst us all.

A is For Anthony

Big-hearted boy grows up
And he’s the big-hearted man
With the big handshake
And bigger smile yet,
A smile as broad and bright as day
You turn your head to the Sun
And now your boyish eyes are smiling, too
Thinning away as they do,
Thinner, thinner
Until they disappear altogether
From your face
Except for that spark of light
That quickens out to us
Through your big eyelashes, big life, big love.


Everything about you a light, a devotion,
Something welcoming and kind;
The unspoken goodness of a good man
A Goodness so, so, very big,
That nothing could hurt you.

Nothing can hurt you now.
But the great gift you were to us all
Still hurts
Still is.

A.E. Soto-Canino 5.30.15

Young Anthony Raspa as a sensitive and bold explorer, producing an advanced piece — a study of his own eye — alongside Ana at her Creative Genius Workshop, shortly before it grew into the AAHP. Anthony’s challenge was to work from direct observation, using a tabletop mirror. Everything from his precise handling of his tools, to his posture, to his winsome smile, reveals great love of learning and creative action. —AESC

Anthony in uniform, and serving as a NJ State Trooper. Anthony was on patrol duty when a motor vehicle accident drove his life to a sudden end.