'Kids really looked up to him'
Boyenga was a cattle producer who dedicated his time to his family, youth wrestling.
ELLSWORTH — Family, loved ones and friends will gather this week to celebrate the life of Anthony ‘Tony’ Boyenga, a 31-year-old son, brother, husband and father who died Saturday as the result of a sudden, massive heart attack while swimming at River’s Bend Campground in Rock Valley, Iowa.
People have left condolences this week to Boyenga’s family, which includes wife Megan and their five children. The couple’s youngest included triplets born in 2015.
A GoFundMe Page was created to provide financial assistance to his family. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than $13,000 had been raised in two days.
According to his obituary, Boyenga grew up on a dairy farm near Ellsworth. He loved the work, and pursued a degree in production agriculture following graduating from Luverne High School in 2006. In 2013, he built and began operating a cattle confinement.
The operation kept him busy, but he found time to coach youth wrestlers. That’s how Lance Ripka, current assistant wrestling coach at Luverne, came to know Boyenga.
Ripka said Boyenga began helping with the Luverne Youth Wrestling program a few years ago. He served as the assistant coach the last two years, and was also recently named the Luverne Wrestling Association’s vice president.
“He was very knowledgeable about the sport,” Ripka said, adding that Boyenga helped at practice, team tournaments and fundraisers. “He was always trying to better the program. Kids really looked up to him.”