Michael Allen Toler was born on October 12, 1951 to Kermit and Geraldine Toler (Thomas). He was the fourth of seven children: Ron, Monticello, KY; Beverly (John) Andrew, Hagerstown; Patsy (Jim) Langston, New Castle; Daisy (Steve) Gullion, Greenfield; Verna (Kyle) Huddleston, New Castle; Dale (Lisa) Toler, Greenwood.
Mike’s life came to a sudden and heartbreaking end on July 12, 2019 after suffering injuries from an ATV accident while taking a short ride with his son-in-law and grandkids at a Family Reunion in Toler Ridge, Kentucky. Mike’s life was tragically lost but true to his character, he kept his grandson, Sam, out of harm’s way.
Mike Toler was a guy with many names: Husband, Dad, Papaw, Brother, Friend, and as he often referred to himself and signed every birthday card, M.T.T.G. (Mike Toler the Great). Of course, this was used completely in jest but those of us who knew him, knew just how great he really was.
Mike met his best friend, Kara, fifty years ago and would have celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary in October. Their life together was full of happy times but also tragedy, especially through the loss of their two infant sons. Through it all, though, they never left each other’s side. For half of a century Mike and Kara were nearly inseparable. A love story for the ages.
Mike loved his many nieces and nephews who knew him as goofy Uncle Spike. He was proud of his Toler Ridge roots and we believe there’s nowhere he would have rather taken his last breath.
Mike was a guy who never met a stranger, whether it was a neighbor or someone in the checkout line at the grocery store. He’d go out of his way to make everyone feel welcome, important, and part of the family. Mike loved to spend time with close friends, like his best friend, Mike, who he talked to nearly every day. He loved to camp and spend time in Brown County. He was spontaneous and always up for a road trip.
Out of all his many roles in life, undoubtedly his favorite was Papaw. Living on in Papaw Mike’s legacy is his youngest grandson, Henry, who he was so proud of and couldn’t wait to watch play basketball. Sam, the ornery one whose big smile always kept him out of trouble. Sassy Cora, his favorite granddaughter, he told her often (causing her to giggle, roll her eyes, and say, “Papaw, I’m your ONLY granddaughter!”). And Ben, his oldest grandchild, fellow lefty, and best buddy. Mike was often put on “probation” after spending time with the grandkids because he’d leave them wound up and wild!
Mike was the greatest dad ever to two daughters: Tiffani (Jarrod) Hokey and Lindsay (Matt) Truesdell. He’d come home after a long day of work and lay down on the floor to play Barbies before ever thinking about eating supper. He made great “Fox and Rabbit” paths to chase each other around in after a snowstorm. He could pack a mean snowball, build the biggest bonfires, made the best Frankenstein at Halloween, gave the biggest hugs, and always made time to play. In fact, he was often the biggest kid in the room. Many of us have heard Kara laugh and say, “Mike, are you ever going to grow up?” But none of us ever really wanted him to. He was great at many things, but he was a lousy joke-teller! His jokes were often met with head-shakes and groans but it never slowed him down.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents and two sons, Ryan Michael and Kyle Allen. Finally, it is their turn to get to know the man that so many others have had the chance to love.
Mike was one of a kind. Truly, a gentle giant. He was a simple man who had his priorities straight and always thought more of everyone else than he did of himself. Dad, this world is a better place because of you. Thanks for everything.
Visitation for Mike will be held on Wednesday, July 17, from 4-8 pm at Marshall & Erlewein Funeral Home in Dublin. Service will be held at the funeral home on Thursday, July 18, at 10:00 am. Burial will follow at West Lawn Cemetery in Hagerstown. Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent to two organizations that were close to Mike’s heart: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 26 Broadway 14th Floor, New York, NY 10004 or The Humane Society, 1255 23rd St, NW, Suite 450, Washington, DC 20037.
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