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Warren T. Toland

BOSTON, MA Warren T. Toland died on July 5, 2012, in Boston, Mass., of complications after a lengthy illness. He had been transferred to a nursing home there in April of 2012, so that his son could more directly supervise his care. Warren is survived by his second wife, Jean C. Stevens, of York His first wife, Beverly M. (Smith) Toland, had died in 1975. Warren is also survived by his son, Peter T. Toland, Peter's wife, Lillian J. LaRosa, and their daughter Christine Toland, all of Boston, Mass., and by Jean's three sons and their families. These include: Bryan Stevens M.D. and his wife Lucy, of York; Peter Stevens and his wife Marge, of Corvallis, Ore.; and Tom Stevens and his wife Ginny, of Aurora Ore.; along with eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Jean and Warren had met in 1979, at the funeral of Jean's first Husband, Henry B. Stevens. Warren was dating Henry's cousin at the time. Subsequently Warren began visiting Jean, a long courtship followed, and this culminated in the marriage of Jean and Warren on March 9, 1991, when Jean was nearly 75 years old, and Warren was 72. Despite their ages at the time of marriage, Jean and Warren led a lively life together, beginning with a honeymoon to Ireland to visit some of Warren's cousins. Later they traveled to various exotic and distant places, including Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. They traveled to South Africa, so that Warren could observe the area where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans met. Warren was a person with great curiosity about the world, so all of this travel suited him. Warren often talked with his York relatives about his interesting life. Born on June 1, 1920, Warren had grown up in Newburyport, Mass., completing High School in the middle of the Great Depression. Work was scarce then, and one of Warren's earliest jobs was with the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC. In that position, he was on a crew building forest trails, near Stowe, Vermont. He told amusing stories about his co-workers, who were prone to pranks and intemperate acts. Subsequently, Warren became an apprentice Sheet Metal Worker, and he was assigned to fabricate toolboxes for United States Naval submarines that were being constructed at New London, Connecticut. Later he worked as a sheet metal worker at the Boeing Aircraft plant in Seattle, Washington. Finally, he was accepted at Harvard University, where he followed up on his two great interests - mathematics and astronomy. Because Warren had to earn the money for Harvard as he went along, it took longer than the usual four years for him to complete his studies. After earning his Bachelor's degree in Astronomy, Warren was soon hired to work as an astronomer at the United States Naval Observatory, in Washington, D.C. He worked there from around 1951 until 1982, when he retired. As a member of that staff, Warren was sent to work in various stations that were connected to the observatory. For example, he spent some time in Miami, Florida, at a government observatory there. This was the U.S. Naval Observatory Time Service Alternate Station (NOTSAS), which shared responsibility for coordinating the clocks in other astronomical stations, all over the world. Warren found this an interesting place to work, because when the viewing slit in the roof was opened, to permit the telescope to observe the night sky, one never knew what sort of creatures might enter the observatory, in the darkness. Oversized insects were the most frequent visitors, but sometimes one encountered a barely visible snake. On occasion, Warren and another astronomer were responsible for physically escorting specialized and highly accurate clocks to distant stations, such as those in South America, to synchronize the astronomers' time measurements. Just as musicians book an adjacent seat in an airplane for their valuable musical instruments, Warren would book one for each of these heavy and elaborate clocks. Warren's last years were difficult. His memory began to fail and his balance became unreliable. Sometimes he fell, and it required several members of an ambulance crew to pick him up. He no longer felt comfortable leaving the house. However, he remained a devoted husband, constantly offering to help his wife in any way that he could. Finally, his needs grew to the point that he spent his last year in York at the Autumn House East, where he was well cared for, but homesick. When his condition worsened drastically, and he could no longer be managed at Autumn House, Warren's son moved him to a nursing home in Tewksbury Massachusetts, outside Boston. Ten weeks later Warren died. Long ago, Warren had arranged to be buried beside Beverly, his first wife, at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Hopkinton, R.I. His York relatives are not yet aware of the specific plans for his interment. The family wishes to express its profound gratitude to caregivers from the ComForcare Senior Services home health agency, and ambulance crews from the White Rose Ambulance Service, for the excellent care that they provided during Warren's final years at home. We also thank the staff of Autumn House East for their kindness and expertise.

Published in York Daily Record & York Dispatch from Nov. 4 to Nov. 5, 2012
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