James Larkin Toler Sr.

February 21, 1935February 18, 2012

James Larkin (Jim) Toler, was born on February 21, 1935, in Plano, Texas. He passed away on February 18, 2012, in Dallas, Texas, after a long battle of Parkinson’s. Jim was born to parents Allen Berryman Toler and Ruth Back Toler. When Jim was ten years old, the family moved to Garland, Texas, which became his home town. After graduating from Garland High School in 1953, Jim attended Baylor University and Paris Junior College before marrying Sarah (Sally) Ruth Baker, on June 25, 1955, at the First Baptist Church of Garland, Texas, where they were both members. He attended Southwest Missouri State where he was later inducted into their Football Hall of Fame in 1980. He received a B.A. degree in 1957 from Baylor University, and a M.A. degree in 1961 from East Texas State University. After coaching and teaching in the Dallas, Highland Park, and Garland schools, Jim Toler started a successful real estate business in Garland. He was active in many business, professional, civic, and political organizations in the Garland area. His business/professional activities included serving on the board of directors for several area banks, as well as being a director of the Baylor University Medical Center Foundation and serving on the East Texas State University Board of Regents. Because of his many contributions to the community, he received numerous awards, such as: the Hugh Prather Trophy, an award given annually to the Dallas area home builder contributing the most to the betterment of his community; the Garland Chamber of Commerce "Tall Texan Award," given for outstanding contribution to the Garland community and Chamber of Commerce; the City of Rowlett Chamber of Commerce Big "R" Pacesetter Award; and the Life Member Award of the Garland Chamber of Commerce. Jim Toler was elected Mayor of Garland in 1966, and re-elected as Mayor in 1968. He was chosen as a delegate to county, state, and national Democratic conventions, including the 1968 Presidential Democratic Convention in Chicago. He also served as a member of the National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors.

Following a successful business career, Jim and Sally moved to Athens, Texas, where they both became very involved in serving the community with an organization called “Labor of Love”. Jim began repairing homes and roofs for the elderly and under privileged of Henderson, County, and became affectionately and lovingly called “Mr. Jim”. Jim and Sally also enjoyed traveling, skiing, and of course fishing at their beautiful ranch. Jim was an avid crappie fisherman and could amaze and impress any who would dare to challenge him.Additionally, Jim was always active and involved in the activities of his four children and later his grandchildren. In 2003 Jim and Sally sold their Athens ranch and moved back to Dallas to be closer to their family and especially their grandchildren. “Granny” and “Grandpa” were always present at all of their grandchildren’s and even their great grandchildren’s many events and were their biggest fans. Leaving a beautiful legacy for his family, Jim compiled a detailed and descriptive family history comprising several books for generations to come to enjoy and learn about their heritage. James L. (Jim) Toler is survived by his adoring wife of fifty-six years, Sally, and four children: Amy Toler Weems and husband Ted Weems of Houston, Larkin Toler, Tobin Toler and wife Carol, and Nancy Toler Carroll and husband Russell Carroll, all from Dallas. He is also survived by eleven grandchildren, Jenny Weems Eames and her husband Michael Eames, James Weems and wife Stephanie, Andrea Toler Wamble and husband Trey Wamble, Berryman Toler, Lindsay Toler, Laura Toler, Will Toler, Ben Toler, Sarah Carroll, Alex Carroll and wife Kelsey, and Abby Carroll. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren: Katie Eames, Allen Eames, Sydney Weems, Natalie Weems, and Owen Weems, and his sister Linda Toler Chandler and her husband Alvin Chandler of Rowlett, and a sister-in-law Janie Baker Hutchison and her husband Charles, and numerous other relatives and friends. Jim Toler left his mark in our hearts and we will all miss him each and every day. Instead of flowers, contributions or memorials may be left to the City of Richardson Parks Department and directed to the Ruth Back Toler Park. Private graveside services will be on Sunday morning, February 19, 2012 followed by a public memorial service at 1:00PM in the Ted Dickey Funeral Home Chapel.


  • Memorial Service Sunday, February 19, 2012

James Larkin Toler Sr.

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March 18, 2012

Toby, Larkin, and family,
So sorry to hear about the great loss of your father. I enjoyed getting to know James Larkin and his family over the past 20 years in relationship to our shared ancestry. His contribution to the family research has been tremendous and appreciated and will serve many generations to come. I now have a great grandson named Andrew LARKIN Toler. My thoughts and prayers are with the family in your time of need. May God bless.
James Woodrow Toler, Sr., Columbia, Missouri

sally davis

March 5, 2012

i sure enjoyed going to your house in preston hollow mrs.toler thank you for the kind words,funny old stories and encouragement that you and mr.toler always gave to my blake about football and me being a football mom.i have wonderful memories.
thank you,
sally davis

Kim Roulias

March 4, 2012

My deepest sympathy and prayers to Sally and the Toler family. Jim was a true visionary, and a great family man and businessman, who forever shaped the future of Garland, Rowlett, and Lake Ray Hubbard. I'm glad I got to spend some time getting to know him and Sally and the family during his last years.

Bill Rose

March 1, 2012

Coach Toler, We had a great friendship starting back with football at Highland Park and eventually reuniting at you place east of Athens. Each visit was always eventful and I leaned a lot and benefited from our friendship. I am a better person for having known you, Sally and working with you building your "dream" place. Bill Rose

William (Bill) Hoeser, Jr.

February 27, 2012

Sally, my thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire Toler family. My deepest sympathy in the loss of your best friend and beloved husband. My condolences also extend to the children grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All our lives have been enriched through knowing him. Sally, you and Jim have been my friends for many years and, though distance has separated us for some time, Jim will not be forgotten. God bless and keep you.

Your old neighbor and friend,
Bill Hoeser

Nila Wilhelm

February 25, 2012

My thoughts and prayers are with the Toler Family, headed by a man whose family was everything to him. I just learned from my daughter Betty of Jim's passing. There are so many good memories going through my mind--of a good neighbor, business associate, patron of the arts, civic leader. One great recollection of Jim was as leader of "The Dirty Thirty," who travelled to the Holy Land together--dirty because it was an expedition into many sandy, dirty places, often leaving us in grime at the end of a day--but what a learning experience! Thanks to Jim and Sally for that. The good lives on, so Jim will be remembered well.

Linda Lewis Cooper

February 22, 2012

Remembering Jim, and Sally, from High School days in Garland. Both charming and lovely classmates.
May God bring the family peace through the coming months .

Donna Williams

February 21, 2012

My sincerest condolences to all of you. "Mr. Toler" held a special place in my heart. It was a privilege to know him. May God's love comfort you all. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

Billy Jared

February 21, 2012

Mr Toler was a great man that touchéd a lot of live in Garland he will be missed Thank you for sharing him with us

Cindy Wiebold Findley

February 21, 2012

Such a wonderful caring man to whom family was everything. Amy it has been years since we've seen each other but I will never forgot your dad and how compassionate a man he was. He did so much in his life for you all to be proud of and will truly be remembered in so many different ways. Know he is smiling down from heaven on the tremendous legacy he left behind.