Life Story / Obituary
A kind and gentle soul willing to give anyone in need the shirt off of his own back, Edward Toma leaves behind quite a legacy in this life. He was a loving husband, a beloved father, a cherished papa and a friend to everyone he met. He will be dearly missed.
Life was good in 1951 when Ed entered the world! With WWII far off in the past, and by the observations of President Harry S. Truman, the economy was booming and unemployment was extremely low. There were so many people working and commuting that the New Jersey Turnpike was created; however, automobiles still had a way to go in terms of safety - in fact, turn signals were still considered merely a luxury option forcing drivers to use hand signals to communicate intention. In homes, families gathered around eagerly anticipating the new show, “I Love Lucy” and were marveling at the new direct dial telephone that made operators unnecessary for calling loved ones across the country. This new way of communicating was just in time for Tony and Katy Toma because they had exciting news to share! Their precious son was born on February 24th in New York. They named him Edward, and he was the light of their lives. The family was complete with Ed's brother Mike.
With two boys in the home, Ed's parents were busy. His mother was a homemaker making sure their lives stayed organized, and his father supported the family working for the city of Watervliet. The boys grew up spending time doing the typical boy stuff - a bit of trouble here and there but always making for good stories later on in life. Some of that trouble was shared with their Toma cousins! To occupy his trouble-free time, he liked to play baseball, go fishing with his father, and hang out with his boyhood dog, Major. As Ed grew into a young adult, he jammed with a band called the Outcasts as the lead guitarist. The band won the band of the band's contest in 1969. He also frequented the local pool hall, Whities. Ed always looked forward to Saturday poker nights with his family.
He met the love of his life through mutual friends, early on, at the tender age of 16 years old. Her name was Chris, and she stole his heart for almost 50 more years. Before the two rang wedding bells, he graduated from LaSalle High School and attended some college at HVCC (Hudson Valley Community College). After three years of young love, Ed and Chris decided to exchange vows on October 3, 1970, at Mount Carmel Church. Before too long, the newlyweds added two children to their family, Scott and Julie. He loved spending time with his family enjoying the simple life together. Along the way, his family adopted beloved cats, Bella, Willa, and Finnegan, and they held a special place in Ed's heart as well.
Ed supported the family working at the Ford Motor Company as a member of UAW Local 845 Committee where he later became Vice President as well. He had contagious compassion for his Union, as he always worked hard to educate his Union Brothers and Sisters. He was employed in this location for 33 years before retirement. Ed was the one to be counted on when someone might need a helping hand. After retirement, he had his dream job which was working on a golf course, with his boss and best friend Mike Fouty.
When Ed was not working, he had many activities that kept him busy. He and his bride of 46 years went on a few memorable adventures together. They spent many wedding anniversaries touring Northern Michigan and its grand and beautiful display of color. Many long weekends were also enjoyed in the upper peninsula or on random mystery getaways with their friends. Some of the best times, however, were enjoyed simply playing cards at the table with the Russo's - after Ed and Pete completed an afternoon jam session. As Ed's partner, Pete would always get mad about losing a nickel to the girls, but Ed never cared; instead, he just loved to overbid Chris just to bust her butt. It never failed, though, Chris and Patty always seemed to come out ahead in the end. This couple friendship extended beyond the card table, as they created many other memories out and about together too. Ed loved to play at the casinos, and many of these excursions were shared with the Russo's - the Christmas Eve trips were the most memorable.
Many great and not so great shots were shared on the golf course with Ed's good friend, Mark Sweet in Garland, Michigan. And it would be impossible to forget the delicious homemade pasta and antipasti shared during holidays with family and friends. New York was also always part of Ed's heart and so was going back there to visit all of his family and friends. He was especially fond of playing golf with his brother and cousin, Mickey in Saratoga Springs. When all else in life was quiet, Ed could certainly settle in to watch some television, and among his favorites were "M*A*S*H," "All in the Family," "Storage Wars," or just about anything on The Food Network channel. When the comfort of a favorite movie sounded appealing, Ed would choose classics like "Caddy Shack," or National Lampoon's "Vacation," or "Christmas Vacation." Sometimes a little rock-n-roll was called for, and it was typical for classic rock to blare from the speakers especially the likes of Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Two of the best days of his life, however, were when he was Father of the Bride in Julie's wedding and Best Man in Scott's wedding. Along with that, he and Chris joyfully celebrated the blessing of their only grandchild, Luke. Edward loved being Luke's Papa! Luke certainly provided an extra bit of sparkle in his Papa's heart.
It is difficult to say goodbye to such a good and kind soul. After struggling with pancreatic cancer, Ed was unable to fight the disease any longer. He passed away on May 30, 2017, at his home in Canton, Michigan surrounded by the loving spirits of his family. We were fortunate enough to spend 66 years with Ed in this life. As we look to one another for the comfort of our shared memories, we will keep Ed close to our hearts.
Ed was the loving husband of Chris. Beloved father of Julie (Keith) Thompson of Westland and Scott (Christie) Toma of Manteo VA. Cherished Papa of Luke Toma. Dear brother of Michael (Sandy) Toma of Saratoga Springs NY. Also leaves behind several aunts, uncles, cousins, brother in laws and sister in laws in NY.
The family will receive guests Friday, June 9, 2-7 pm, at the Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 45100 Warren Road (between Sheldon and Canton Center Rds) with a service at 7 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St Joseph Mercy Home Care & Hospice - Ann Arbor.