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Welcome to the memorial page for

Elbert L. Tolman

October 8, 1940 ~ June 3, 2017 (age 76)

Elbert L. (Bert) Tolman, 76, of Boise, Idaho passed away June 3, 2017 at his home, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

Bert was born in Pocatello, Idaho to John Ellis Tolman and Wilma Anderson Tolman. He grew up in Pocatello and graduated from Pocatello High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Idaho State University and his master’s degree in nuclear physics from the University of Idaho.

In 1958, he married his high school sweetheart, Rita Spahr. After graduating from college, Bert worked as a nuclear engineer in Las Vegas, Nevada and Idaho Falls, Idaho, where they raised their family of three children: Jason, Mont and Tami. Bert and Rita then moved to Richland, Washington and enjoyed the adventures of running their own wedding photography business. They eventually settled in Boise, Idaho.

Bert was a gifted photographer, guitarist, and gardener, as well as a welcome sight with his homemade ice cream deliveries. He loved live music, hiking, backpacking, archery, going to movies, a good hamburger, admiring sunrises, feeding hummingbirds and solving technical problems, both practical and virtual.  Throughout his life, Bert was active in Scouting, played a mean handball game, knew some of the best fishing holes in Idaho and encouraged his children to love the outdoors, marvel at the world and appreciate a delicious meal. He was a quiet, steady background influence for good, helping people in need with a minimum of fuss, providing a generous and thoughtful helping hand to many who had no one else to turn to. The sound of his musical humming and a tin of Altoids mints reliably indicated Bert was somewhere nearby. He will be greatly missed.

Bert is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Rita and his children:  Jason Tolman of Boise, Idaho; Mont (Cynthia) Tolman of Boise, Idaho; and Tami (David) Sutcliffe of McKinney, Texas; as well as by three grandchildren and four great granddaughters. He is also survived by four siblings: Pat (Leroy) Mikesell, Corwin (Sandy) Tolman, Darrel (Sandra) Tolman and Julie Ann Schell. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A private memorial service will be held for the family this summer in the Teton mountains, where Bert enjoyed so many happy times.

“And the wind will whisper your name to me/Little birds will sing along in time/Leaves will bow down when you walk by/and morning bells will chime.” ~John Denver

Bert's photo album



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