Donald Eugene Toland, homeowner and 34-year resident of Mesa Antero (Nathrop), passed away from complications related to COVID-19 on Monday, January 3, 2022 at Overland Park, Kan.
Don was born in Dickens, Iowa on March 7, 1926. His parents were Harold and Myrtle Toland, whom Don shared with brothers Gordon, Charles and Ardon, as well as a sister, Edith, who died in childbirth.
He married his sweetheart, Beverly Strong, in Estherville, Iowa in 1952. Three children were born to that union: Randall James, Cynthia Jean and Christine Joann.
Don was a talented musician and played clarinet while leading the Army show band for a stretch during the 1940s. He also was a gifted pianist and singer. In fact, he met Bev at the Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah in 1951.
Don graduated from the University of Minnesota (Business Administration) in 1949 and received his Masters in Mass Communications from the University of Denver in 1968.
Don began a lengthy career in broadcasting in 1950 when he signed on as a broadcaster with radio station KICD in Spencer, Iowa.
Working his way up to similar roles in progressively larger radio stations, Don’s career made a substantial leap when he was hired by radio station KOA in Denver in 1957. Among his accomplishments while there, Don hosted his own early morning program called “The Timekeeper”. Early on he actually sang on the program, while accompanying himself on a studio grand piano.
In the later years, Don “spun records”, delivered news at the top of the hour and frequently greeted his family on air. He finished his working career teaching speech and broadcasting for 10 years to his well-loved students at Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Ill. He also managed the university’s FM radio station (WKOC) and was instrumental in the raising of a new transmitter tower.
Don’s personal relationship with, and great love for, his God fueled many years of service in multiple churches, as pianist, vocal soloist, choir director and Sunday School teacher. He was also a church leader, serving pastor and people on many church boards and, with wife Bev, was instrumental in helping to plant a Nazarene church in Buena Vista following his retirement in 1988.
Don also enjoyed many camping trips with his family, erecting tents and pulling trailers to most of the continental United States. And oh, how he loved the majestic Colorado Rocky Mountains!
Don is survived by his wife of 69 years, Beverly, children Randy (Debbie) Toland, Spokane Valley, WA, Cindy (Stan) Rodes, Lenexa, KS, and Christy (Gary) Kuzmich, Kansas City, MO, seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life service is planned at High Country Church of the Nazarene in Buena Vista for late July 2022.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to High Country Church or to the Donald E. and Beverly J. Toland Scholarship (T007) at Olivet Nazarene University, One University Avenue, Bourbonnais, IL 60914. (olivet.edu)
Funeral arrangements are pending. A Celebration of Life service is tentatively planned for late July 2022, to take place at High Country Church of the Nazarene in Buena Vista.