Tony Waldmire, 31, a co-operator of the landmark Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois, and grandson of its founder, died Saturday, according to a post from the restaurant’s Facebook account.
The post read:
This is the hardest post I have ever had to make. With a heavy heart I am sad to announce the passing of my brother Tony Waldmire. We lost him on Saturday Oct. 8th. The details are not what’s important. I can’t even describe the pain I am feeling as I write this. Just trying to cope the best I can. Please be respectful of our family during this tragedy as we are trying to cope the best we can. I love and miss you my brother…….you are the bravest person I know.
The visitation will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Wilson Park Funeral Home in Rochester, Illinois, with services to follow at 11 a.m., according to a family member.
The restaurant closed Monday because of a “family emergency.”
Here is a 2014 video of Tony explaining the history of the Route 66 restaurant:
The Cozy Dog Drive-In launched in Springfield in 1946 after its founder, Ed Waldmire, developed the Cozy Dog corn dog while in the Air Force in Amarillo, Texas. Variations on cornbread-coated hot dogs had been around before, but they took too long to prepare. Waldmire’s batter coating over the wiener that was fried in oil allowed it to be served faster. It could be compellingly argued Ed Waldmire was the father of the modern-day corn dog.
The Cozy Dog Drive-In opened on Route 66 in Springfield in 1949. Ed’s grandsons — Josh, Eddie, Tony and Nick — carried on running the restaurant in recent years.
The Springfield State-Journal Register published an incomplete obituary Wednesday. A full obituary will be published by the newspaper by Thursday.
UPDATE 10/13/2016: Here is the obituary the funeral home emailed to me:
Tony Michael Waldmire, 31 of Springfield passed away on Sunday, October 9, 2016.
Tony was born on February 17, 1985 in Springfield, the son of Edwin Sutton Waldmire III and Susan Marie Owens. He married Laura Ann Baptist on July 25, 2013.
He was a graduate of Rochester High School and a proud co-owner of the family business of Cozy Dog Drive Inn, Inc., in Springfield. He was an animal lover, loved the outdoors and music. Beginning at a young age he was very artistic. Tony was a very loving husband, son, brother and friend to everyone.
Tony was preceded in death by his grandparents, Ed and Ginny Waldmire and Mary Garner; uncle, Bob Waldmire; and cousin, Billy Waldmire.
He is survived by his wife Laura; father, Edwin “Buzz” Waldmire III (companion, Stacey Difuccia); mother, Susan Waldmire Impson (Terry); grandfather, Ross Owens; brothers, Joshua Waldmire (Fran), Eddie Waldmire (Kristine), Nicholas and Jason Waldmire; sister, Tannya Jackson; step-sisters, Carrie and Katie Impson; and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. until time of memorial services at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at Wilson Park Funeral Home in Rochester with Reverend Samuel Janssen officiating.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Animal Protective League in Springfield.
Wilson Park Funeral Home, 200 E. Main St., Rochester, IL 62563 is in charge of arrangements.
(Image of Tony Waldmire via Cozy Dog Drive-In’s Facebook page)