Tom was born on January 24, 1947, in Spokane, Washington, to William Ernest Toone and Clarella Brice. The oldest of five boys, he was a gentle, creative child. He loved his brothers and they maintained strong ties all their lives. Their father built a home in town, but Bill wanted to teach the boys to work, so when Tom was about twelve he moved the family to a farm where Tom and his brothers worked, very hard. Tom loved robots, spaceships, and dinosaurs. He also loved books, music, drawing, and painting.
Tom served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central Saints Mission from 1966-1968. As a missionary he touched many lives.
During the Vietnam War, Tom joined the ROTC while at BYU and ultimately became an Army captain. There he met the love of his life, Dotti. He was impressed that she played the cello and was smitten with her beautiful and creative spirit (and the tight shirt and pants she wore to a western-themed church activity). After a brief courtship they began their eternal adventure together on June 2, 1969.
Mom was Dad's best friend. She supported him as he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees at BYU, and his doctorate at the Pennsylvania State University. He was hired as an Art History professor at USU in 1981. He was a gifted teacher. His students loved his infectious enthusiasm about art and great ideas. He delighted to share what he knew and hearing him teach was hearing him share wonderful secrets. In 1997 he published his book, Mahonri Young, His Life and Art, which won the prestigious Evans Biography Award and a $10,000 prize. In 2003 he left USU to teach art history at BYU-Idaho until his retirement in 2018. He was listed in the Who's Who of college professors at both USU and BYUI.
Tom was always creating. He built model ships and planes, created leatherworks, and sculptures. He learned Chinese calligraphy, and he painted beautiful works of art that were immaculately designed and filled with a sense of wonder and whimsy. He loved music; his music collection included everything from Beethoven and Bach to Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, and Marty Robbins. As a student his beautiful baritone voice earned him a place in the BYU Acapella Choir.
Tom's greatest love has always been his family. He loved visiting his children and grandchildren and was never happier than when he was with Dotti (especially if they were on a cruise together). We will dearly miss his smile, his gentle spirit, and his way of finding wonder in the world. His life was a life of discovery, service, courage, and love. He left a legacy of faith in Jesus Christ and a great love of His gospel.
We love you, Dad, and are excited for you to begin your next great adventure. We can't wait to hear you tell us all about it! We will see you soon!
Preceded in death by: Parents William Ernest and Clarella Toone; Paul Toone, brother
Survived by Dotti Toone, David (Brenda) Toone, Kristine (David) Gilbert, Jonathan (Laura), Matthew (Diana), Daniel (Michelle), Mark, Luke (April).
Condolences may be submitted online at www.flammfh.com
Published by Rexburg Standard Journal from Jul. 13 to Jul. 14, 2021.