Tony was born on Nov. 7, 1948, in Winfield, KS, the son of Emerson and Alice Elliston. Tony graduated from El Dorado Springs High School in 1966 where he took pride in being one of the first FFA members in El Dorado Springs High School and won several State awards along the way. He met Linda Sue Piper in 1969 while working on building the Stockton Dam. The two married shortly after and had three children, Randy, Vance and Marla Elliston.
Tony joined the Army in 1969 and graduated flight school in December 1969 from Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. After graduating he was elected to the Bounty Hunter Platoon of the 191st Assault Helicopter Company during Vietnam War. Tony completed the Examiners Course at Ft. Rucker, AL, where he was then assigned to the Army Standard Branch, only a select few are given the honor of being assigned to this and it was one the things he was the most proud of, here he was able to share his knowledge and love of Army and flying with future pilots. With the Army Standard Branch he traveled anywhere the US had helicopters and was stationed all over the US. Tony was also part of the Air Cavalry troop in Korea. He served 20 years retiring in 1989 at rank of CW4. During his time in military he was chosen a few times to fly for Presidents and other political figures.
After retiring in 1989, Tony flew for a short while for KY3 News in Springfield, then made a home in Belton, and ran a private airport called Millionaire Kansas City, he also continued to fly helicopters and was often contacted to fly to Governors, well known business men and even movies and TV shows. Eventually he left flying behind for farm life in Caplinger Mills.
In 2003, Tony moved back to El Dorado Springs where he sold cars at Fugate Motors until 2008. Tony loved his weekly cards games with friends, steak night at Eagles, trips to Downstream and Harrahs, John Wayne, Chiefs football, fishing, hunting, farming, traveling (especially to Vegas), Chinese fire drills, musical chairs at campfires, Eddie Rabbit and most of all spending time with friends and family.
Preceding Tony in death is his son, Vance Elliston; parents, Emerson and Alice; sister, Dorothy Young; brother-in-laws, Gene Williams and Jake Hargrove.
He is survived by Linda Elliston (Piper); his son, Randy and Marianne Elliston, (their sons, James and Amanda Barker, their daughter, Freya and Darryl Barker – all of Bella Vista, AR; his daughter, Marla Elliston – Belton, and granddaughter, Madalyn Elliston – Kansas City; siblings, Marty Graham, Tom and Ruth Elliston, Margaret Williams, Laura Elliston, Jim Young and many, many, nieces, nephews and friends he considered family.
He was loved and will be missed by many. Tony asks that we not be sad that he is gone, instead we celebrate all the moments he had, the amazing life he was able to live, the friends he made along the way and that we continue to tell his stories so his legacy lives on.
Please make donations to the El Dorado Springs FFA or Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Service for Tony was Friday, Oct. 7, at Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home with interment at Caplinger Mills Cemetery.
Visitation was Thursday, Oct. 6, at Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home.