Eugene P. Tone
1928 - 2021
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Eugene P. Tone
March 22, 1928 - January 6, 2021
Tacoma, Washington - Gene Tone was born in Tacoma on March 22, 1928 the third of five children to Ralph and Nora Tone. He grew up in South Tacoma, graduated from Lincoln High School, the University of Puget Sound, and received his PhD from Washington State University. He served in the Korean War and had a 30 year career in the Tacoma School District serving as a teacher, counselor, principal, and district administrator. He spent his work years developing and implementing programs that would directly benefit the students of Tacoma. His mantras during this time were "What's best for kids" and "Let's Go!" One of his last programs was the nation's first publicly funded school for homeless children. It operated within the Tacoma School District and was named The Eugene P. Tone School.
Always a staunch believer in physical fitness and nutrition, Gene was walking two hours a day until his 90th birthday. He could be seen in all kinds of weather walking through Fircrest and, in the last ten years, University Place.
Gene loved all kids – especially his grandchildren, and was fond of saying that given a choice of talking to an adult or a child, he'd pick the child every time. He adored listening to their views and said that he learned something every time he visited with them. His gentle and listening nature drew friendships wherever he went.
A stroke two years ago, along with dementia, slowed his movement but not the Irish twinkle in his eyes. Mom was an amazing caregiver for her husband and they were best friends for 68 years. We'd like to thank Dr. Waltman and the Weatherly Inn Memory Care for taking such wonderful care of our dad the past ten months.
Gene is survived by his wife of 67 years, Colleen, daughter Claudia Ball (Jim), daughter Cindy Johnson (Dan), son James Tone (Cindy). Grandchildren: Danny Gall (Wendi), Nate Gall (Lauren), Brian Johnson (Annie), Stephen Johnson (Lindsay), Emily McBride (Corey), Isabella and Riley Tone, and 8 great grandkids.
Although it's really hard to lose the patriarch of our family, he has left us with so much kindness, love and friendship. In his memory, take a minute to visit with a child, go on a brisk walk, or do a kind act for someone. And, as always, "Take Good Care".

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Jan. 10, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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11 entries
January 16, 2021
Uncle Gene was a great man, always warm, kind, and all about kids, he will be sorely missed❤
January 14, 2021
I was blessed to be in a class taught by "Mr. Tone" at Gray Junior High in 1960 and I credit him with inspiring me to take pride in whatever the assignment might be by doing my very best. That mind set stayed with me through all of my challenges in life. He genuinely cared about his students and I was able to continue seeing his kind, caring nature when he was the Senior Counselor at Mt. Tahoma High School and I was one of his Assistants during my Senior year in 1963. Our paths crossed decades later at The Tacoma Little Theatre as I was thanking cast members for a play well done. Another person was also greeting the actors and then turned toward me, and said a warm hello to me by name. I immediately recognized the kind face of my favorite teacher. He touched many lives as he shared his love of learning, and I'm glad I was one of them.
Sandy McKibben (Eklund)
January 12, 2021
God bless, Mr Tone. This Eulogy is well said. Gentle Kindness, advising and caring about each of us. So gifted to make each of us feel special.
Carolyn (Alexander) Sanford
January 11, 2021
He was a wonderful man. My mother was his Sunday School Teacher. He helped me through school with a gerous amount of personal time and advise when I quite High School and went to the University of Puget Sound. All of us that were his student profited fom his help and understanding. He will be missed.
Lynden Bridges
January 11, 2021
I will always remember his smile, and his good nature.
January 10, 2021
A legend in the family.
Paul Kampbell
January 10, 2021
I was in the 1963 graduating class of Mt. Tahoma High School. I also attended Gray Jr. High where I first got to know Dr. Tone. He was such a special man and I admired him so much. He made me feel like I could do anything. He was simply the best.
Karen Odell
January 10, 2021
Sending our love to all of the family. Keeping you all close to our hearts and in our prayers during this time of loss. Uncle Gene was a great man. ❤
January 10, 2021
He was amazingly non-judgmental. I had very average grades and needed a recommendation for a college application. Rather than discourage me from applying to a four year college he happily agreed to write a recommendation even though my high school grades didn't show much promise and he really didn't know me. I was accepted and went on to teach at both high school and college levels for 45 years. He was just a very generous man.
Joe Peterson
January 10, 2021
Today's youth are inundated by people posing as "influencers", mostly on the internet where those influencers don't even know the names of those they influence. Our class had its share of influencers, too, but our influencers not only knew our names, they knew the names of our family members, what we were interested in, where we were screwing up, and where we were excelling. They were called teachers and counselers and we both feared and adored them.

Mr. Tone entered our lives when we attended Gray Junior High and stayed with us through high school graduation. When I had the occasion to run into him, he'd say, "Please call me Gene. We're both adults now." My response was the same as many of yours, "I can't. I know you're Dr. Tone now, but when we first met your first name was 'Mister' and your last name was 'Tone' so you'll forever be Mr. Tone to me." I still can't think of him any other way.

Rest in peace, Mr. Tone. You had a huge impact on a whole bunch of scraggly junior highers who grew to be (mostly) responsible adults thanks to your influence.
Darleen Price
January 10, 2021
Sorry for your loss
Cary Nilson
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