Cover photo for Austin Anthony "Tony" Leyden's Obituary
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Austin Anthony "Tony" Leyden

July 10, 1959 — February 3, 2023


Austin Anthony "Tony" Leyden


Austin Anthony “Tony” Leyden, 63, of Chicago, IL., passed away peacefully in his sleep, on Friday February 3, 2023. He was surrounded by those who loved him, at his parents’ home in Palos Hills, IL.

Tony was born on July 10,1959, at Little Company of Mary Hospital, in Evergreen Park, IL., or as young Tony would refer to it as “the hospital with the rocket ship on top”, then he would giggle.

Tony was the 1st born, to his parents, Margaret Guerin Leyden & Austin Leyden. Austin Anthony was named in honor of his father, Austin, and St Anthony, our family’s patron saint.

Tony had been plagued by various health issues from birth. In spite of those challenges, Tony displayed a gifted intellect & artistic talent from an early age.

Tony’s leadership skills came to fruition, when in 1969 he organized “The Monster Club” with all the other like-minded boys in the neighborhood. Much to the dismay of his baby sister, “girls were not allowed “.

In 8th grade, at O’Toole PS, in West Englewood, Tony was elected “School Mayor”.

Tony graduated from

Quigley South Seminary High School in 1977.

After high school, it was Tony’s dream to be a Rock & Roll musician, where he attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music. Though he was initially a self-taught accoustic guitarist, he then became proficient in electric guitar, banjo, piano & snare drum.

Tony started a garage band w/his high school buddies. They played at various bars & taverns on the Southside of Chicago. Tony was the bands frontman on lead vocals & guitar.

Tony then chose to pursue a more traditional academic career path. He graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology, in 1984. Afterwards he was accepted into the doctoral program at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. During this period, Tony received his master’s degree, & was voted “Most Popular Teaching Assistant” by the undergraduate body. Tony was awarded a Fellowship to study African Economic Anthropology in Kenya, “the gateway to East Africa”. He was able to complete his field work while living there with his host family. Tony was fluent in Swahili, French, German, & academic Latin.

Tony left his academic career in 1992 to pursue his passion for fine art. His artwork, as his  music, was  mostly self-taught, & prolific. He used multiple mediums, in varied styles & expressions. As an “Outside Artist”, Tony was featured at many successful art shows in Chicago, specifically the Izzo Studio & Gallery in the South Loop, Lill Street Gallery on the Northside & various Wicker Park Galleries. Tony had the unique distinction of being a musician, academic & fine artist.

Tony was predeceased by his Godmother Eleanor Guerin Phelan, April 2015; most recently his father Austin Leyden, August 2022; & his current quirky favorite cat, Jinx , October 2022. Tony is survived by his mother, Margaret Guerin Leyden, sister Sarah Leyden-Vazquez, brother-in-law Charles Anthony Vazquez, God Brother Connor Leyden, and many Aunts,Uncles & Cousins in Illinois, Tennessee, New York, California, Hawaii, Ireland & England.

Tony’s Memorial Visitation will be held on Saturday May 6, 2023, from

9am-10am. Service to follow at 10am at the Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home, 112 W Main Street, Peotone,IL. 60468


Interment to follow at Peotone Cemetery. Fr Michael Simone will Officiate.

All are welcome to join us in a celebratory luncheon afterwards at

12 noon


12960 S Lagrange Road

Palos Park, IL. 60464


Tony’s favorite color was purple. Please feel free to honor his memory by wearing an article or accent of purple on this day.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to your local no kill animal shelter/rescue. 

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Past Services

Memorial Visitation

Saturday, May 6, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home

112 W. Main St, PO Box 1048, Peotone, IL 60468

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home

112 W. Main St, PO Box 1048, Peotone, IL 60468

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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