Doris Speech .pdf
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Good evening, everyone. I’m Doris Villanueva-German, Anthony’s eldest sister. On behalf of
my entire family, I would like to thank everyone who took time out to pay your respects to the
memory of my brother. It is clear that he touched so many lives, and I am so grateful that you
were all a part of his.
I was asked to share a brief message with you, and though I am usually hesitant to speak in
front of a crowd, I can almost hear my brother’s voice telling me to go outside my comfort
zone and overcome my challenges. Anthony lived his own life that way, and that is also one
of the reasons why he inspired so many.
As I was composing my thoughts, it became clear to me that my entire message tonight is
centered on one key word: CUSTODIANSHIP. In the dictionary, a “custodian” is “someone
who has responsibility for, and looks after something”. Being the eldest in the family, I
naturally assumed the ATE role for Tony, and tried my very best to be the best big sister I
could possibly be to him. Now therein lies the irony: whenever I meet people from Toyota –
and over the past few days that number has increased considerably – they always paint this
picture of Tony being a no-nonsense commander, who always had a tactical direction and
full control of the situation. They describe him as someone who will demand the very best
from you, but at the same time is fair and approachable. His leadership style was done by
example, and I have heard it said that he would never assign something that he was not
capable and prepared to do himself.
In short, Tony fully understood and lived by the fact that he was a CUSTODIAN of the Toyota
brand. He gave his work all the time, dedication, effort, and passion he could muster,
because it was based on an ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE. Tony carried the Toyota name
proudly wherever he went, and he was thankful to be given the opportunity to represent such
a fine company. This is what he tried his very best to impart to all his colleagues, and I can
say this with full confidence to his extended Toyota family: Anthony Villanueva loved his
work, he loved his team, and he loved the fact that he was given a chance to contribute to
I mentioned earlier, however, that I find some irony whenever I think of my brother as a key
executive of the top car brand in the Philippines. Actually, that’s a consequence of my
custodianship of Anthony: while he was busy protecting the integrity and growth of the
Toyota brand and making sure that everything was ok with the company, to me he remained
my little brother. My little brother who also needed guidance and protection, who at times
needed a ready ear to listen to him, and even a shoulder to cry on. My little brother who
found joy in simple things, and could see the bright side even under the darkest of
You see, the reason for this is that there came a point in his life that Anthony realized one
important truth: that we do not own our lives, but are merely CUSTODIANS entrusted by God
to do the best we can with the gift that He has given us. Tony – though he had his own faults
like the rest of us do – did the best that he could, and in the process made an indelible mark
in our hearts.
If a “custodian” is “someone who has responsibility for, and looks after something”, then I
take great comfort in the fact that God Himself is looking after my baby brother now, and has
him under His heavenly protection and care.
For Anthony’s Toyota family, the challenge is to continue to be custodians of the brand, and
to remember the ethic and professionalism he brought to the company.
For our family, we are now actually assigned to be custodians in a very literal sense: in a few
months, Tony’s child will be born, and it is up to us to raise her in a manner that would make
her father proud. They say it takes a village to raise a child, so please pray for us as we try
our best to make Isabel grow up in a God-fearing, selfless, nurturing, and positive
Once again, thank you to everyone. May your memories of Tony bring an occassional smile
to your faces, and gladness in your hearts.