Josef “Joe” Emanuel Toman
Monday, December 17, 1928
Date of Death:
Sunday, July 17, 2022
93 years old
Josef “Joe” Emanuel Toman
Josef “Joe” Emanuel Toman, age 93, of Byron, MN died July 17, 2022 at Seasons Hospice under the care of his loving wife and Season’s Hospice staff.
Joe was born December 17, 1928 in the small town of Brti, Czech Republic. He attended school in Brti until World War II began and the Germans took control of the schools for army purposes. Joe received his remaining education by going to different homes and graduated at age 16. He then studied to be an electrician and worked as one until he was drafted in the Czech Army at age 18. While in the Czech Army, he served as a switchboard operator. On Christmas Eve 1949 while on duty near the border, he fled his communist country to seek a life of freedom. He successfully escaped and made it to Germany where he received protection under political asylum. He lived in a refugee camp and eventually got assigned to guard the ammunition area for the United States Army. He later learned the Army was looking for volunteers to serve in the Korean War and in 1952 he signed a 5-year contract and enlisted in the Army Infantry as part of the ground troops. Upon enlisting, he was transported to Fort Dix, NJ for basic training and then sent to South Korea where he fought in the Korean War. Upon completion of his tour of duty in the Korean War, he was stationed in Augsburg, Germany where he met his wife. Joe was united in marriage to Hannelore “Lori” Sommer on August 14, 1957 in Augsburg, Germany.
During Joe’s time in the United States Army, he moved up the ranks serving his final role as Sergeant First Class (SFC) in charge of 200+ soldiers. After being discharged from the Army in December 1957, he sought his U.S. citizenship and opted to settle in Minnesota where the landscape and seasons reminded him of his homeland. In Minnesota, he felt honored to meet Senator Hubert H. Humphrey who signed his citizenship papers. Joe lived in Rochester for a few years until he purchased a hobby farm outside of Byron. He worked at IBM for 30 years as a machinist and enjoyed part-time farming. Joe only returned to his homeland 41 years later after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Joe was a proud American and felt blessed to be in the land of opportunity where he could pursue his dreams and make a better life for himself and his family. He adored his grandchildren and loved putting them to work. He had a passion for being outdoors and “making friends with nature”. He was happiest when he was busy doing something outside, which sometimes even included painting various objects with interesting color choices. He had an unbelievable work ethic and was still chopping wood in his 90s. Joe loved garage sales, polka music and dancing. He also enjoyed making jokes, telling stories and had a beautiful twinkle in his eye when he smiled which will be missed by many.
Joe is survived by his wife, Lori and his children, Michael “Mike” (Suganda) Toman of Austin, TX and Kristine “Kris” (Jeff) Underwood of Byron, MN; grandsons, Jason (Kristina) Toman of Sugar Land, TX, Christopher (Taylor) Toman of Austin, TX, and Bailey, Tyler and Travis of Byron, MN; great-grandsons, Brooks and Austin “AJ”.
He was preceded in death by his son, Garry; parents, Vaclav and Rozalie; brother, Vaclav; sisters, Ludmilla and Maria; and 3 infant siblings all born in different years but died shortly after birth.
The memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, August 8, 2022 in the Byron Funeral Home. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service on Monday. Burial will be in Byron Cemetery.
Memorials are preferred to the Garry Toman Scholarship or Seasons Hospice.
The family of Josef “Joe” Emanuel Toman has received the following condolences.
Dear Lori and family. my sincere sympathy at the passing of Joe. I am sorry we, Teresa and I, did not know until today. It is a sad reality of life that our Friends and family leave us until our time comes.Mein herzliches Beileid in Deinem Verlust.Deine Ruth Carstensen (Lieber).
Sorry for your family's loss sound like he lived a very exciting life with many journeys and the love of family