Anthony ZayasAnthony Zayas

UPDATED April 27: Anthony L. Zayas, owner of Tony's All-Sport Barbershop, 721 Mass Ave., in Arlington Center, died unexpectedly on Saturday, April 15, 2023, at age 37.

Initial published obituaries provided no information about the cause of death.

To honor him, some of his relatives have set up a GoFundMe >>  online presence to seek donations to support "his legacy and dream come true" -- the shop across the street from Town Hall. As of April 26, the effort had drawn $11,148 from 153 contributors toward the $15,000 goal. On April 27, this message appeared on the site: "The organizer has currently disabled new donations to this fundraiser."

FSK Hub reported in an unattributed account: "It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Tony Zayas, a beloved member of the community, who left us far too soon."

He left "behind a legacy of kindness and passion for his work," the article said.

Business neighbor shares memories

Alan Tauber, owner of the DrumConnection, knew Zayas as a business neighbor and a friend. He told YourArlington on April 19 that Zayas had opened his original shop here in East Arlington on Mass. Ave. on the same side of the street his shop is on now.

He recalls Tony’s All-Sport Barbershop opening about the same time as DrumConnection, which was in 2011.

"Tony’s attitude as a business owner was exemplary; he did everything by the book. We learned from each other and constantly shared information on the current state of business in Arlington, especially on the East side.

"He did have a laid-back appearance, but, behind the scenes, he was extremely hard-working and constantly thinking of how to improve his shop, the customers' experience and making sure he had clicked all the right boxes.

"He never gave up on trying to have the best barbershop he could make happen. Getting to know Tony over the years was a pleasure and a journey together that I will cherish in my memories forever. His spirit helped bring that Capital [Square] block together, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude. Great man gone way too soon.

"He took his customers' experience very seriously. He once gave my friend’s baby girl a free and beautiful haircut. I thank him for his close friendship and sharing all we had together made going to work in the morning, doable. Everyone I know carries much respect for Tony, and we’ll miss him and wish him well on his journey." 

A 'contagious smile'

Zayas was born and raised in Boston; he attended Fenway High School and graduated in 2003. He continued his education at ITT Technical Institute in computer engineering but later found his true calling in barbering. In 2007, he graduated from New England Hair Academy.

"Tony was a talented and skilled barber who took pride in his work and was loved by all of his clients," FSK Hub reported. "He was a dedicated family man and a loyal friend who always put others before himself. Tony had a contagious smile and a warm personality that made everyone feel welcome.

"Tony was also a man of many passions, from cooking to music to sports. He loved spending time with his family and friends, whether it was watching a game, cooking a meal or just hanging out. He was always up for an adventure and loved exploring new places and trying new things ....

"Tony's skill, attention to detail and dedication to his craft quickly made him a sought-after barber in the Boston area.

"Tony's talent as a barber was matched only by his kind and caring personality. He was a loyal friend to many, and his smile and sense of humor could light up any room. Tony had a way of making everyone feel welcome and at ease, which was just one of the reasons why he was so beloved by his clients and friends alike.

'Left a void'

"Tony's sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of all who knew him. The message from a friend that mentioned Tony's passing highlighted his friendship with the person who wrote the message, the good memories they shared and the big plans they had for the future. It is clear that Tony's impact on the community was not limited to his skill as a barber, but also extended to his warmth and kindness as a friend ....

"He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and the entire Boston community. Rest in peace, Tony, and know that you made a positive impact on the world during your time with us.

The GoFundMe information reports that Zayas was predeceased by his father, Luis Antonio Zayas. He is survived by his mother, Maria Zayas; his older brother, Luis, and his wife, Marilyn; his sister, Ivelisa, and her husband, Eric; and Anthony’s nephews, Alvin, Kyle, Dario and Manny, and his son, Jandell.

Visiting hours at theBrady & Fallon Funeral Home, 10 Tower St. (opposite the Forest Hills MBTA station), Jamaica Plain, have been set for Monday April 24, from 5 to 8 p.m.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 14 Montebello Road, Jamaica Plain, Boston, at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, followed by interment at St. Michael Cemetery.

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 This news summary was published Wednesday, April 19, 2023, based on various online sources. It was updated April 26, 2023, to add the contribution total to date plus a tribute from a friend and fellow local businessman, and on April 27, 2023, to report that the crowdfunding website created by the deceased's family had temporarily has ceased accepting donations.