John O. Toolan

TOOLAN, John O. of New York City, died February 28, 2021. Born in 1943, John left behind his wife of 54 years Nora and his 3 children David, Laura and Daniel. John met his love of his life at a wedding where they both went dateless and were lucky enough to have met under those circumstances. John and Nora moved to Massachusetts in 1978 so John could pursue a career for Social Security. It was there in the South Shore town of Marshfield that he raised his family. John was a devoted Father who gave his children all of his time, and when he found any other available time, he helped other kids by coaching numerous youth sports and dedicated additional time to School Committee meetings. After working his whole career in Social Security John retired and moved briefly to his favorite enclave of Rockaway Beach. Rockaway was a special place for John as he often recollected about the time spent there as a kid. He even made a brief appearance on a local news station talking about the new boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy, where he pontificated about the affect the barefoot had with the old wood boards, which were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and the new sensation of the modern planks.

John was proud of his Jesuit education, first starting at Xavier Academy graduating in the class of 1961. As John loved stating it was his “moving on from his Catholic upbringing.” And then to his Alma Mater Fordham University Class of 65. John loved Fordham, his eldest son David followed and graduated in 93. You Could always find John in either a hat or sweatshirt with the words Fordham. One of his last requests which will be done is to be cremated with his Fordham sash. Every year that he was able John walked 5th Avenue on the 17th of March with his Fordham classmates of years before and after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Although this year will be different, we kindly ask that the next time you walk down 5th Avenue think of John and give him one last wave as he passes by.

After graduating Fordham John served in the 101st Airborne unit, as an information officer in Vietnam. He would always tell people he was afraid of heights but jumping out of an airplane was his best chance to stay safe in Vietnam. Although he did not often speak of his time in Vietnam, we learned through his diagnosis of Prostate Cancer that he had direct exposure to Agent Orange. The cancer spread through his body and metastasized in his bones. Through his care John found it important to spend quality time with his children and 4 Grandchildren Jalene, Madison, Teagan and Quinley. He will be greatly missed but his love, caring nature, honesty and integrity will be carried forth by his family and those that had met him.

It is important for our family to recognize John’s final months. On September 14, 2020 John lost feeling below his waist and became paralyzed. The cancer had spread to his spine and there was no operation or medicine to cure the cancers advancement. John spent a couple of weeks at Maine Medical and received thoughtful and passionate care. On the request of his Doctor John was transferred to the Spinal Ward at the VA of West Roxbury. I know that as a family we could not be more thankful for this decision. The VA in West Roxbury has been nothing short of tremendous in helping John live his last days. John passed away without an immediate loved one by his side, but we know the staff of the VA West Roxbury was by his side. The VA of West Roxbury is now our family, their love, care and dedication was and will always be greatly appreciated. We love you West Roxbury A2, “Why are you so sweet?”
In lieu of flowers and donations we ask that you are kind and generous to others.
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Gormley Funeral Service
2055 Centre Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132