Obituary of Joseph J. Toleno
Townshend, VT – Joseph James Toleno, 90, formerly of Boonville, NY, and recently a resident of Valley Cares Assisted Living, died on Thursday, January 6, 2022 of natural causes. He was born on May 16, 1931 in Englewood, NJ, son of Joseph J. Toleno Sr. and Rose (DePalma) Toleno. He graduated from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood in 1948. He attended Rutgers University, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, graduating in 1952. After college, Joe began his teaching career at St. Cecelia’s in Englewood where his first class was all sixth-grade girls – quite something for a young 21-year-old guy! He continued at Saints until 1957, when he moved to Boonville, NY, and taught American history and social studies at Boonville High School and then Adirondack Central High School, retiring in June of 1986. During his thirty-four-year teaching career, he touched the lives of many students and was well known for his strict classroom demeanor, his emphasis on correct spelling, and his organized lesson plans. His influence extended beyond the classroom, as he was the advisor for the Student Council (later Student Association) and the National Honor Society. In 1953, his favorite cousin Anita set him up on a blind date with Eva Gosda; romance ensued, and they were married on April 19, 1954, in Tuxedo Park, NY. After a honeymoon car trip through central New York, they decided to move to that area. They made their home in Boonville for over 35 years, raising four daughters in a three-bedroom house with one bathroom. After his retirement, he and Eva enjoyed traveling the United States in their motorhome and also visited relatives in Norway several times. They were married for 42 years when Eva died in July 1996. Just a little over a year later, he met Fran Conover, and in November 1998 Joe and Fran were married. They divided their time between Lakehurst, NJ, and Ellenton, FL, and Joe enjoyed having two step-sons and three step-grandsons as Fran’s family became part of his own. Joe and Fran traveled extensively during their marriage, taking cruises and trips around the United States and abroad. They were married for nearly 18 years when Fran died in November 2016. At that time, Joe moved to Brattleboro, VT, to live with his daughter Marilyn and her husband Bob, and to begin the next chapter of his life. It wasn’t long after that when he met Betty Ann Nelson, and they struck up a special friendship that continued until his death. Even when COVID protocols prevented them from being together in person, they spoke on the phone several times each day, and never ran out of things to talk about. Throughout his life Joe enjoyed spending summers at camp, first as a camper and as a teenager and an adult working as a counselor and program director. Whether it was church camp, YMCA camp or Boy Scout camp, he enjoyed being in the outdoors, making lifelong friends, and organizing some crazy activities! For several years he organized the Boonville summer recreation program. At various times he was a member of the Erwin Library Board, the Scandinavian Club of the Mohawk Valley, and the Adirondack Community Chorus. A man of deep religious faith, he was a longtime parishioner, lector, and choir member at St. Joseph Church in Boonville, and he more recently attended Newfane Congregational Church. He is survived by three daughters and one son-in-law, Liz Toleno ofKingston, NY, Marilyn and Bob Distelberg of Brattleboro, VT, and Barbara Toleno of Prudenville, MI; two grandchildren, Brian Distelberg of Amenia, NY, and Amy Phillips of Fuquay-Varina, NC; and two step-sons and their families. He was predeceased by his parents, his brother Daniel, his first and second wives, and his daughter Susanne in November 2000. A celebration of his life will take place at a date to be announced, and burial will be at the St. Joseph Cemetery in Boonville. Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice.
Services in the spring
Services with interment in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Boonville, will be held in the spring or summer of 2022, at a date and time to be announced.