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Beloved educator George Toadvine remembered for leadership, commitment to education, as man of faith

By Vicki Prichard
NKy Tribune reporter

Florence Mayor Diane Whalen doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t know George Toadvine. The former school teacher and principal was a permanent place holder in her life, from childhood at Florence United Methodist Church Sunday school, to her parents Sunday school class dinners, to her days at Boone County High School.

“He was the absolute best of the best in all things he did,” says Whalen. “He was a kind and gentle man, a leader, and friend of my family.

Toadvine, who passed away on January 24, is remembered as a man of deep faith, integrity and dedication.

“He was a man who loved God, his family and his friends, and who lived his faith in every aspect of his life,” says Whalen. “We are better people because we knew him and he shared his time on earth with us. His loss is our loss.”

George Toadvine

George Toadvine

Born in Sylvan Dale, KY, in 1936, Toadvine earned a BA from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY in 1957, and a Master of Education from the University of Cincinnati in 1961. He did post-baccalaureate studies in Christian mission at Scarritt College in Nasvhille, TN, and completed studies in Spanish at the Instituto del Idioma Espanol in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Throughout his career and commitment to education was his wife Shirley. Together, they served the Methodist Board of Missions as teachers at the Instituto Americano in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The two shared a 35-year career with the Boone County School system. Over the course of his career as an educator, Toadvine taught numerous courses, from Spanish to political science, and was Assistant principal of Ockerman Junior High School, and principal of Boone County for seven years.

In addition to his commitment to education, Toadvine served his community through civic organizations such as the Florence Rotary Club, where he received the Roy Lutes Citizen of the Year Award in 2004.

Gary Greisser, director and past president of the Florence Rotary Club, was a longtime colleague and friend of Toadvine’s through their work together in Boone County schools, their church, and the Rotary.

“He was just a wonderful Christian man in everything he did,” says Greisser. “Everybody respected him and his wife Shirley. Each of their children were valedictorian. They had high academic expectations for their own kids, and those in the classroom of their school”

Greisser recalls a prayer closet the Toadvines constructed in their Florence home.

“There was something unique about George and Shirley,” says Greisser. “When they built a home in Florence, they built a prayer closet where one might build a closet for coats. It was one of the most used rooms. He was exceptional.”

Toadvine was a member of the Florence United Methodist church. He taught Sunday school for more than 40 years and was a lay leader, lay speaker, President of the Methodist Men and led the church’s prayer ministry. He served on the board of directors of the Methodist Children’s Home in Versailles, KY. He is survived by his wife of more than 58 years, Shirley Matilda Simmons Toadvine, orginally from Burlington, NC, their three children and spouses, Dr. Stephen Kendall Toadvine and wife, Ann (Wiese) Toadvine, of Nicholasville, KY; James Rene’ Toadvine and wife, Robin (Gaddis) Toadvine, of Nicholasville, KY; and Cynthia (Toadvine) Zimmerman and her husband Kurtis Paul Zimmerman, of Santa Cruz, Bolivia; and 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Stith Funeral Home, 7500 U.S. 42, Florence.

Visitation is Friday, January 29 from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, January 30 from 10 to 10:45 a.m. at Florence United Methodist Church, 8585 Old Toll Rd.. The service will be held Saturday, January 30 at 11 a.m., at Florence United Methodist Church.

The family requests that memorials be given to Florence United Methodist Church, or to World Gospel Mission/Bolivia, P.O. Box 948, Marion, IN 46952-0948.

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