John Antonio "Tony" Baratti passed away Jan. 1, 2013 at home surrounded by his loved ones. Tony was diagnosed in 2006 with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma. He fought courageously for 6 years, hoping for a stem cell transplant which sadly was not to be. He was born to Patty Lou and James Baratti on March 14, 1959 in Torrance, Calif.
Tony served honorably in the Navy on the USS Cayuga from 1976 to 1980. He loved America, being a veteran and was fiercely patriotic.
After serving his country, he worked at several jobs until going to work for the Cottonwood Pack Station where he was introduced to the occupation that would become his passion for the next 30 years. While at the pack station he was trained to shoe the mules and horses that were used in the operation of the business. The old timers used to say that he had a "way" with the animals and he should pursue shoeing as a career. During this time he met and married Carla Murphy, together they moved to Montana where he would attend the Farrier program at Montana State University and would begin their family. Toni Marie and James Cotton were both born in Montana; Lacey Jo would later be born in Reno in 1990 after the family had relocated to Nevada. Tony shod horses in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, California and Nevada.
As he progressed in his career he developed a passion for competitive horse shoeing and blacksmithing. Upon moving to Nevada he became interested in mule shoeing. He achieved three world championships, 3 reserve world championship belt buckles at Bishop Mule Days in Bishop, Calif. He also took great pride in continuing his education to better serve his customers and the veterinarians he worked with. For a number of years he was known as the "go to guy" for anyone working with mustangs. He served in a number of roles, including president for the Nevada Professional Farriers Association.
In 2000 he married the love of his life and soul mate, Kelli. At this time he also inherited 4 more children; Melissa, Vince, Tony and Stefanie. A mere three months after their marriage, Vince was in a near fatal accident on Geiger Grade. While Kelli tended to her son, Tony shouldered the responsibility of the household and children, supporting her and the rest of the family with his strong character, devoted love and commitment.
Tony discovered he had a natural ability to talk fast and sell stuff! It began innocently enough while attending a banquet in which he was not impressed with the skills of the auctioneer and felt he could do better. In 2003 he attended the World Wide College of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. He donated his time and talents to many different events over the years. He was especially proud of his work with the Nevada State Firefighters Association and the Lovelock Ducks Unlimited Chapter.
In 2005 he became the auctioneer for the Wild Horse Adoption Program at the Warms Springs Correctional Center in Carson City, Nev. He along with his spotters, sister Elizabeth and his wife Kelli did 4 auctions a year to sell mustangs that had been trained by Hank Curry and the inmates at the center. The goal of the program is to provide good homes for mustangs taken off the range. He was featured in several publications and video productions throughout the years.
Tony enjoyed several passions; loving his wife, hunting with friends and family, and of course, riding his Harley in that order. He touched many with his stories, humor and quick wit. Tony was a loyal and trustworthy friend. He was well loved and will be sorely missed.
Tony was preceded in death by his father, James; stepmother, Estene; nephew, Garrett Watkins and sister, Regina Baratti Crawford. He is survived by his wife, Kelli; his mother, Patty Lou (Hans) Sallani; his 3 children - Toni Marie Baratti Hardin, James Cotton Baratti nee Kae McLaren, and Lacey Jo (Ryan) Baratti-Butler. He was also blessed with 4 stepchildren for whom he cared deeply: Melissa (Kevin) Davis, Vincent (Teri) Piersanti, Anthony (Jean) Piersanti and Stefanie (Chris) Stark. Siblings: Elizabeth (Joe) Baratti, Dominic (Jeannie) Baratti, Patty Ann (Bobby) Campos, Joseph (Jeannie) Baratti and Peter Baratti. Step-siblings: Michele (Billy) Watkins, Butch (Louise) Roberts and Laurie (Art) Lunkley. Grandchildren - Austin, Tyler, Jonathan and James; Quila, Blaine, Tailynn, Jaeden and Taeler. Nieces and nephews: Brian, Shelby, Geoff, Marshall; Sissy, Amy, Josh; Regina; Colton, Mackenzie, Brady; Milena, Andrew and Allan; Dustin and Tony.
A gathering for all who know and love Tony will be on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 from 11 to 3 at the Dayton Valley Golf Club, 101 Palmer Drive, Dayton, NV. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tony's memory to the Nevada Professional Farriers Assn. - Injured Farrier Fund at Nevada State Bank, or the Veterans Guest House in Reno, Nevada - www.veteransguesthouse.org