Former Rhode Island General Treasurer Anthony Solomon, 89, who served in the position for more than 11 years, died yesterday after a lengthy illness.
A lifelong resident of Providence, Anthony operated a pharmacy in Olneyville for many years before running for the state House of Representatives (11th district) in 1966.
He served in the House for nine years before running for and winning the Treasurer’s position in 1976. He served in that position until 1984, when he ran for governor, losing to Republican Ed DiPrete. In 1988 Anthony again ran for treasurer, winning that election and reelection two years later. He retired from the Treasury in 1993 for health reasons.
Before entering politics, Anthony was a pharmacist, opening Anthony’s Drugs in Olneyville when he was just 25, and operating the store for decades. Upon his retirement from the Treasury, Anthony would often spend his days at the store, where he greeted old friends and customers.
He was known for his compassion, often answering a call at home from a customer late at night in need of a prescription. That same compassion carried over to his years in the treasury, when he was known to reach out to those in need, often cautioning his staff that he did not want any publicity.
When a young boy needed a transplant, Anthony and his staff were able to arrange a ride with the corporate angels for the boy and his donor to Seattle, and when an elderly man was kicked out of his home on Christmas Eve, Anthony and his aids remained in the office, finding a place for the man to stay.
Anthony and his family were part of what has been described as a very tight-knit Lebanese community in the United States, tracing its roots to a small mountain village, Kfarsghab, in the north of Lebanon.
He and his wife (Sarah) of more than 50 years, were devoted to their church, St. George Maronite Catholic Church. Anthony and Sarah received the prestigious Gold Massabki Award by the National Apostolate in 1999. Sarah passed away in 2006.
Anthony was educated at Providence College and Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, and received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of New England College Osteopathic Medicine.
He is survived by four children, Donna Harrison, Sharon Santilli, Anthony E. Solomon, and former Providence City Council President Michael Solomon.