Ronald James Tolley, 83, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 27, 2020 with his three children at his side.
Ron was born August 23, 1936 to Fonda McPherson and James Elmer Tolley in Pocatello, Idaho. His father owned the Peoples Market Slaughterhouse along the Portneuf River. They lived in a house that was connected to the store. He said the house always smelled like a butcher shop, but they got used to it. He had a proper Idaho upbringing… riding horses, sledding, skiing and playing sandlot baseball. Before Ron could ride a horse, he would saddle up the “Y” of a tree and pretend to ride for hours. The Tolley family had one of the very first television sets in the neighborhood and would get quite the gathering of people coming in to watch it. When the boys got in fights at school, their teacher, Mrs. Wagner, would sit in the windowsill and drop a bunch of books on their heads until she felt the sense was knocked back into them. Ron said he spent a lot of time with a headache.
It was at Irving Junior High that Ron became interested in football. Coach Garth Lee saw him centering the ball during an intra-mural game and asked that he try out for the team. This sparked an interest that carried Ron through his high school years as the offensive center on the varsity team for the Pocatello High School Indians. The Korean War ended in 1956 just as Ron graduated from High School preventing him from being drafted.
In the fall of 1956, Ron attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah for two years before he was set apart as a missionary by Elder Spencer W. Kimball. Ron served a faithful two-year mission in Western Canada. After returning, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health with a minor in Bacteriology and Chemistry from Utah State University.
In the fall of 1964, Ron took Margene Rawle on their first blind date to deliver a wedding present to one of his good friends. He immediately knew through talking to her in the car that night that he would marry her. He said that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. Ron and Margene were married April 30, 1965 and later sealed in the Logan, Utah temple June 12, 1970. They were delighted to have three children join their family, Doug, Andrea and Alisa. They were each born about a year apart.
Ron started his professional career as a Food and Drug Inspector for the Utah State Department of Agriculture. In 1969, he accepted a position with the National Canner’s Association in Washington, D.C. The young family enjoyed living in Falls Church, Virginia where they spent time visiting American history sights. Ron was a hard worker and eventually accepted a job to work as a manager for Ore-Ida Foods in Boise, Idaho. They loved raising their family in the small town of Eagle. He retired from Ore-Ida in 1998 and started his own food sanitation and pest control consulting business. After retirement, Ron also started serving a church service mission at the Garden City Cannery. He served in this capacity for almost 15 years.
Throughout his life, Ron was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was significantly involved in the Scouting program and had a huge impact on all he served through his scouting positions. He took his troop camping every month and was one of very few troops that earned the National Camping Award.
He was a talented handyman with a great singing voice, an amazing whistle and a serious sense of humor. He enjoyed woodworking, tinkering with cars and was an avid reader. He was very friendly and remembered the names of everyone he met and everybody in town knew Ron Tolley. He singlehandedly kept Evans Lumber afloat during the 2008 recession.
Ron was a devoted husband, loving father and adoring grandfather. He couldn’t have been more proud of his 16 grandchildren.
Ron is survived by his three children: James Douglas (Denise) Tolley, Andrea (Adam) Sangster, and Alisa (Chad) Johnson; his grandchildren: Kady (Jacob Stephan), Kelly (Chance Tolman), Victoria, J.D., Dominic, Olivia and Mariah Tolley; Jake (Callie), Alexa (Brandon Bitner), Annie, Alec and Luke Sangster; Jessica (Austin Wright), Megan, Sarah and Rachel Johnson; his great-grandchildren: Adelie and Christen Stephan, Henley Tolman, Henry Sangster and Bennett Bitner; his sister, Sharon Stevenson; brothers-in-law: Joseph (Anna) Rawle and Larry (Joan) Rawle; sisters-in-law: Joylene (Marsel) Tingey and Judy Rawle and many nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife, Margene Millet Rawle Tolley; his parents: Elmer and Fonda Tolley; his brothers: John (Shirley) Tolley, Dee (Patsy) Tolley and brother-in-law: Reid Stevenson.
We would like to thank all the kind nurses and staff at Sagewood Assisted Living and BRIO Home Health & Hospice for their loving care of Ron.
A viewing will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2020 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Larkin Mortuary located at 3688 W. 12600 S. Riverton, Utah. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, only 20 people will be allowed to participate in the viewing at one time. As people come out, others will be allowed in. Interment with a graveside service, for immediate family only, will be at the Evergreen Cemetery located at 1997 South 400 East Springville, Utah.
In lieu of flowers, do something nice for one of your neighbors, that’s what Dad would have done.