TONN Jr., Richard Victor|
Richard Victor Tonn, Jr. ("Dick Tonn") was born and grew up in Jennings, Louisiana. He was the youngest child of Richard Victor Tonn and Dolores Longman Tonn and a precious nephew of Herbert and Edith Tietje. Dick had one older sister, Nona Herring, who preceded him in death.
Dick did well in school, worked on tugboats during the summers, and enjoyed boating and water skiing on the bayou with his friends. While they lived in two small towns just 10 miles apart in Louisiana, Dick met his sweetheart, Carol Ann Coles, on a UN high school trip to New York City in 1962. They courted through high school and college, and married on July 1, 1967. Dick continued calling Carol "his bride" and "his sweetheart" throughout their 47 years of marriage.
Dick earned his bachelor's degree in 1968 from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana and was a proud member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. He taught History for a while (like his mother, who was also a teacher). While he continued to love the study and subject of History throughout his life, his love of cars led him into the automobile business, in which he was involved for over 27 years.
He began his automotive career in 1969 with Motors Insurance Corporation in Lafayette, Louisiana. He was one of the original General Motors finance and insurance instructors in the early 1970's. During his thirteen years with General Motors, he traveled all over the southwest United States, calling on dealers from New Orleans to Phoenix, which resulted in he and Carol making their home in Odessa, El Paso, Phoenix, Beaumont, and Houston over those years. Also during that time, 2 more sweethearts came into his life; his daughter Shelly in 1970, and his daughter Vicky in 1971.
Dick began his tenure with Service Life and Casualty in 1982 as a Vice President, which brought him and his family to Austin, and led him and Carol to build their family home of 32 years, which they named "Sunny Slope Cottage." He continued as an instructor, teaching finance and insurance sales in the Service Life F&I school from 1982 until early 1992. Dick was promoted to the Board of Directors and served as President of Service Life and Casualty in 1985. In this position, Dick oversaw the operations of the company and its several divisions, which provided service for over 1,100 automobile dealerships in 48 states.
While Dick loved his work and the people he worked with, he achieved his goal of early retirement at the age of 52 and was able to enjoy many years with his bride, traveling to the coast, boating and fishing, golfing, and taking adventures to the Caribbean with family and friends. His early retirement also allowed for him to truly spend time with his grandsons, Coleton and Reece, who came into his life in 2001 and 2004. They are the reason that he is known as "O'Pop", a name that he preferred being called over all others in the last years of his life.
Despite being diagnosed with Fronto-Temporal Dementia/Alzheimer's in 2009, Dick continued to be a joy, a smile, an active husband, father, grandfather, friend, and teacher to all around him. He was known for his generosity, and being an example of patience, persistence, kindness, love and gratitude for every day up until his last day, in which he left peacefully at his home in the company of his family on May 27, 2014 at the age of 68.
He is survived by his wife, Carol; his daughters and spouses, Shelly and Robert Wilcox of Pflugerville Texas, and Vicky and Neil Mijares of Seabrook, Texas; his brother-in-law Al Herring of Charlotte, North Carolina; his sister-in-law, Mary Lee Coles of Welsh, Louisiana; his nieces and their families Lynn and Wayne Northrop of Raymond, California, Dee Smith of Charlotte, North Carolina, Kim and Shane Boudreaux of Spring, Texas; and his grandsons, Coleton and Reece Wilcox.
A visitation for Dick will be held at four o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, May 31st, 2014 followed by the funeral service at five o'clock at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas 78752.
A graveside service will be held at four o'clock in the afternoon on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at Oaklawn Cemetery, 555 Beaufort St. Welsh, Louisiana, 70591.
Condolences may be left for the family at www.cookwaldenfuneralhome.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from May 31 to June 1, 2014