Ronald James Tolley, 83, passed away peacefully on Monday, April 27, 2020 with his three children at his side.

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Ron was born August 23, 1936 to Fonda McPherson and James Elmer Tolley in Pocatello, Idaho. His father owned the Peoples Market Slaughterhouse along the Portneuf River. They lived in a house that was connected to the store. He said the house always smelled like a butcher shop, but they got used to it. He had a proper Idaho upbringing… riding horses, sledding, skiing and playing sandlot baseball. Before Ron could ride a horse, he would saddle up the “Y” of a tree and pretend to ride for hours. The Tolley family had one of the very first television sets in the neighborhood and would get quite the gathering of people coming in to watch it. When the boys got in fights at school, their teacher, Mrs. Wagner, would sit in the windowsill and drop a bunch of books on their heads until she felt the sense was knocked back into them. Ron said he spent a lot of time with a headache.

It was at Irving Junior High that Ron became interested in football. Coach Garth Lee saw him centering the ball during an intra-mural game and asked that he try out for the team. This sparked an interest that carried Ron through his high school years as the offensive center on the varsity team for the Pocatello High School Indians. The Korean War ended in 1956 just as Ron graduated from High School preventing him from being drafted.

In the fall of 1956, Ron attended Utah State University in Logan, Utah for two years before he was set apart as a missionary by Elder Spencer W. Kimball. Ron served a faithful two-year mission in Western Canada. After returning, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health with a minor in Bacteriology and Chemistry from Utah State University.

In the fall of 1964, Ron took Margene Rawle on their first blind date to deliver a wedding present to one of his good friends. He immediately knew through talking to her in the car that night that he would marry her. He said that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. Ron and Margene were married April 30, 1965 and later sealed in the Logan, Utah temple June 12, 1970. They were delighted to have three children join their family, Doug, Andrea and Alisa. They were each born about a year apart.

Ron started his professional career as a Food and Drug Inspector for the Utah State Department of Agriculture. In 1969, he accepted a position with the National Canner’s Association in Washington, D.C. The young family enjoyed living in Falls Church, Virginia where they spent time visiting American history sights. Ron was a hard worker and eventually accepted a job to work as a manager for Ore-Ida Foods in Boise, Idaho. They loved raising their family in the small town of Eagle. He retired from Ore-Ida in 1998 and started his own food sanitation and pest control consulting business. After retirement, Ron also started serving a church service mission at the Garden City Cannery. He served in this capacity for almost 15 years.

Throughout his life, Ron was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was significantly involved in the Scouting program and had a huge impact on all he served through his scouting positions. He took his troop camping every month and was one of very few troops that earned the National Camping Award.

He was a talented handyman with a great singing voice, an amazing whistle and a serious sense of humor. He enjoyed woodworking, tinkering with cars and was an avid reader. He was very friendly and remembered the names of everyone he met and everybody in town knew Ron Tolley. He singlehandedly kept Evans Lumber afloat during the 2008 recession.

Ron was a devoted husband, loving father and adoring grandfather. He couldn’t have been more proud of his 16 grandchildren.

Ron is survived by his three children: James Douglas (Denise) Tolley, Andrea (Adam) Sangster, and Alisa (Chad) Johnson; his grandchildren: Kady (Jacob Stephan), Kelly (Chance Tolman), Victoria, J.D., Dominic, Olivia and Mariah Tolley; Jake (Callie), Alexa (Brandon Bitner), Annie, Alec and Luke Sangster; Jessica (Austin Wright), Megan, Sarah and Rachel Johnson; his great-grandchildren: Adelie and Christen Stephan, Henley Tolman, Henry Sangster and Bennett Bitner; his sister, Sharon Stevenson; brothers-in-law: Joseph (Anna) Rawle and Larry (Joan) Rawle; sisters-in-law: Joylene (Marsel) Tingey and Judy Rawle and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife, Margene Millet Rawle Tolley; his parents: Elmer and Fonda Tolley; his brothers: John (Shirley) Tolley, Dee (Patsy) Tolley and brother-in-law: Reid Stevenson.

We would like to thank all the kind nurses and staff at Sagewood Assisted Living and BRIO Home Health & Hospice for their loving care of Ron.

A viewing will be held on Saturday, May 2, 2020 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Larkin Mortuary located at 3688 W. 12600 S. Riverton, Utah. Due to COVID-19 guidelines, only 20 people will be allowed to participate in the viewing at one time. As people come out, others will be allowed in.

Interment with a graveside service, for immediate family only, will be at the Evergreen Cemetery located at 1997 South 400 East Springville, Utah.

In lieu of flowers, do something nice for one of your neighbors, that’s what Dad would have done.


Services Handled By

Larkin Mortuary
260 E South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT

Life Story Info

Post Date

Apr 30, 2020

Personal Info


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Dear Doug, Andrea and Alisa,

We were sorry to hear of your sweet father's passing. It was Judy Teuscher who informed us. Our first thought was, "We are glad he and Margene can be together again." Their example of love and companionship touched our lives. We loved your parents and look forward to the day we can meet them again, as we know you children anticipate. You were blessed with hard-working, goodly parents.

With Love, Dan and Laura Bradshaw

Daniel & Laura Bradshaw , Star, ID, US May 10, 2020

From the Behunin's to all the Tolley's we love the Tolleys and wish you all well at the sad time.

Your dad and I first met in September of 1954 at Nampa High's Bulldog Bowl. Actually we never had to face one another in that fall football game, as we both played offense. Had I been on defense in that game I would have been a defensive guard or middle linebacker and probably would have faced Ron's vaunted forearm (gland I didn't have to).

This chance meeting was not revealed until some thirty years later in 1977 when the Behunins moved into the Tolley's neighborhood, Downing Downs, Eagle, Idaho.

Your Dad and I went on many scout activities over the years, but I was not a Scouter like Ron Tolley, he put everything into everything he did. The most memorable was the overnighter at Rocky Canyon north of Eagle. After breakfast we trekked through the canyon narrows. At the narrows one had to scale a rock wall and laterally maneuver across the wall for 10' or 15', I had gone ahead with some of the boys. When Ron was on the rock wall a rock gave way and he fell 8' or 10' into the creek bottom injuring his back on a large rock. Some of the boys already through the narrows built a fire the rest of use helped Ron get from the creek bottom to the fire to warm and dry. One adult went to move one of the cars closer our position in the canyon, while one other adult and most of boys stayed with Ron. When he was warm, somewhat dry, and felt he could make it out of the canyon we started up. It was not easy for Ron, but with adult help he made it to the car and eventually home. While we did not know it at the time he had no broken bones, we thought we needed to get him to a place where he could get medical attention. The boys for the most part recognized the potential serious nature of his fall and did their part to provide him help. Ron as I remembered, was happy to see these young scouts respond in such helpful way that day.

There were many other activities Ron and I helped on and Lynda and I were happy to be called to be their Home Teachers for several years before they moved to Utah. We had may fun visits over those years.

Love Garry Behunin

How we love you all and would like to be with you. You told your dad"s story well, it was beautiful. For about a year before the move to Utah On Thursday morning Garry went with your dad to prepare the wardhouse for Saturday cleaning and I got to stay with your mom. How I looked forward to Thursday! We loved the time together. Her stories about the grandkids were the best. And memories of you kids growing up. Sometimes we made our way downstairs, with me praying all the way to go through the games and books that meant so much to both of us. I love them both so much. Your dad never looked on callings as work, he just always loved what he was doing and was so appreciative of whatever we were able to do. He and Garry worked on many projects together and they just enjoyed whatever they were doing. We miss them both, and you , dear ones. Thank you for being part of our lives. Love,Lynda

Garry J Behunin Family , Meridian, ID, US May 03, 2020

James, Angela, Alisa,

I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your Father. I just loved Ron and Margene so much. Hearing about his passing made me think of a lot of memories of both of them.

I know they are both so happy now that they are together.

My prayers are with each of you and your families.

Love, Pat

Pat Wilde , Eagle, ID, US May 03, 2020

To the family of Ron Tolley,

I work at Sagewood in the salon. Your father was a delight! I am so grateful that I got to know him a little, speak with him, laugh with him and always receive a smile from him. What a legacy he left! May this be a peaceful time for you. I understand the sadness that comes at this time. Thank you for letting us serve him, because he served us wonderfully.

Lorene Butler May 02, 2020

Please accept my condolences on Ron's passing. He was a great man. I hold wonderful memories of Ron and the work we did together teaching basic microbiology and food safety to laboratory workers from the numerous food processing plants throughout Idaho. God speed and peace!

Russell J Centanni, PhD , Boise, ID, US May 01, 2020