Dave Taylor: Tony Granatowski

Posted on 16. Sep, 2004 by in Remembering Friends

Tony Granatowski

Tony Granatowski

Dear PHS,

Tony Granatowski was one of my best friends for a decade, yet I never met him in real life. He was one of the early players at a place called the Internet Gaming Zone, now known as www.zone.com. The IGZ pre-dated Windows 95 and browsers and the world wide web. It was a place where one could drop in and play a few card games and, in our case, make friends and be part of an actual, if virtual, community. I, and countless others, developed lasting friendships with Tony, whom we all knew as “Potz” from his years-long web nickname, potrzebie. We played hundreds of games of spades and hearts on the internet gaming zone, shared thousands of jokes — mostly corny — and spent hours and hours trying to out-pun each other. But it was more than that. We shared pictures and stories of our families, sought and got advice about life’s trials no matter how big or trivial, and even called each other on the phone to talk in person when times got tough.

As you mentioned, Tony was fun, witty, charming, and so smart! Potz knew so much about music, and as much about old ’60s soul and Motown as I did, and I grew up in Detroit. Behind the humor, he was a sensitive and caring guy, always willing to take the time to help out people new to the zone, regardless of how much time it took from his own playing. When Donna was so ill, back in the mid to later 1990s, I think Tony took some refuge in our little on-line community, late at night after his then little girls were asleep. Online, he found a place to put aside what must have been tremendous pressure and grief over his impending loss — a place to just kick back for a little while, laugh a little, rant and rave about politics, talk about music, tell a lot of jokes, correct each others’ diction and spelling, and complain (a lot) about Windows and Microsoft and Bill Gates.
(Insert smiley face emoticon here).

Later, after finding the second love of his life in Katherine, moving back to Oregon, and watching his daughters grow into their teen years, he shared with us his joy and his newfound happiness. He taught me how to play golf online, and even had tips to correct my real-life slice which almost worked. I know his kids’ birthdays, shared the pain of Donna’s illness and death, the release and resolve he felt as he moved his family from Scottsdale back to Oregon and his unabashed joy when he “re-met” and eventually married Katherine. I heard all about his anxieties as Jess and Emilee grew old enough to get their drivers’ licenses, his pride when Jess was accepted at NYU, and all about the new house in Lake Oswego, so painstakingly rehabbed in his “spare” time.

Over the past couple years, both Tony and I drifted away somewhat from our online community. We kept in touch through occasional emails, swapping jokes and family news. My last note from Tony was — how typical is this — a Polish joke he forwarded to me in December ’03, the month before he died. Today, while catching up on old correspondence, I realized I hadn’t heard from my good friend Potz in way too long. My email note to him bounced back. I knew something was wrong, because Tony and I always kept each other’s addresses current. Google brought me to your website, and the shocking news of this past January when Tony died. I thank you for your touching obituary and tribute to our mutual friend. Although my relationship with Tony was merely virtual, my sense of loss is very real.

It feels a bit odd, writing to his high school alma mater, and telling stories about a man whom I knew so well, yet never met. I envy you, his classmates, who knew him in person and could, no doubt, sense his warmth and caring, and his easy, friendly manner firsthand. But I wanted you to know about this virtual side of Tony G. — the friend so many of us know as Potz — and to tell you that hundreds of us out here in the ether of the Internet will miss him, too.


Dave Taylor
Ashland, Missouri
September, 2004

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2 Responses to “Dave Taylor: Tony Granatowski”

  1. Robin Bloomgarden

    02. Sep, 2009

    Tony G was a great guy. Super straight, but he’s give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And what a cook he was. I miss him a lot, and I’m so glad to have met his sweet wife Donna before she passed in1997, just after our first big Reunion. Every time I hear a Neil Young song, I think of Tony, playing his guitar and singing away.

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  2. Karen

    17. Dec, 2009

    I’m so touched by the comments about my brother. He tried to get me to play Spades online with him when I was visiting him in Oregon for Christmas one year. It had been so long since we’d played that game as teenagers, I’d forgotten all about bags, and I sabotaged everything.

    We grew up playing lots of chess, backgammon, cribbage, board games and cards.

    I miss him every day.

    Karen H.

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