Martha Jane “Janie” <I>Harris</I> Toler

Martha Jane “Janie” Harris Toler

Uriah, Monroe County, Alabama, USA
Death 27 Jun 2003 (aged 84)
Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA
Burial Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA
Plot Christus Garden
Memorial ID 30547067 · View Source
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Martha Jane "Janie" (Harris) Toler was the eldest child born to John Harris and Eliza Henrietta (Brown) Harris; the wife of Eugene Columbus Toler, with their wedding date being October 1, 1937 (married for 32 years; he was 15 when they married and she was 18 years of age); mother "Momma" to Shirley Louise (Toler) Gates McFalls, Thomas "Tommy" Eugene Toler, Sr., Linda Mae (Toler) Meadows West and Barbara Ann (Toler) Hohaus Trawick; grandmother "Grandma" to Richard "Ricky" Curtis Gates, Theresa Jane (Gates) Pedigo, James "Rusty" Russell, Jr., Thomas "Tom" Eugene Toler, Jr., Charles "Wes" Wesley Meadows, Jr., Darren Eugene Hohaus, David Evan Toler, Lori Renee (Meadows) Vrcan and Amy Michelle (Meadows) Sherman.


The below noted information was created/written as a reference point "eulogy" for Reverend Ronald Hall's review for Martha Jane (Harris) Toler's [his aunt by his mother, Ida (Harris) Hall] funeral that was held on Monday, June 30, 2003.


Martha Jane (Harris) Toler, "Janie" as her father called her, was born on March 28, 1919 in Uriah, Alabama, and was the eldest of 8 children born to John Harris and Eliza Henrietta (Brown) Harris. She was named after both her maternal and paternal grandmothers. "Martha", coming from her mother's mother, Martha Anhester (Lister) Brown, and "Jane" coming from her father's mother, Laura Jane (Barlow) Harris.

She had four sisters: Bertha, Lillian, Ida and Cleo, as well as three brothers: Willie, Johnnie and Leo. She and her brothers and sisters came from a family of very simple and meager means, with Janie being an older sister that was happy to lend a helping hand when needed. She never forgot where she came from, where her roots began, nor did she ever forget the deep felt love and pride she had for each of her brothers and sisters.

On October 1, 1937, Janie became Mrs. Toler when she married Eugene Columbus Toler at the age of 18. Up until that point in her life, Janie had spent most of her childhood in Atmore, Alabama and the surrounding areas, but she and Eugene soon moved to a variety of cities over the course of the next few years, deciding to permanently settle at 2603 W. Fisher Street in Pensacola, over 60 years ago.

Along the way, four children were born from Janie and Eugene's union together. Three daughters: Shirley Louise (Toler) Gates McFalls, Linda Mae (Toler) Meadows West and Barbara Ann (Toler) Hohaus Trawick, as well as one son, Thomas Eugene Toler, Sr..

In March of 1957, Janie received a special birthday present, the birth of her first grandchild, Ricky. Soon to follow were Theresa Jane, named in her honor, Rusty, Tom, Jr., Wes, Darren, David, Lori and the youngest being born in 1971, Amy, creating a total of 9 grandchildren, which eventually grew to also include 12 great grandchildren…Amber (Ricky), Micah (Ricky), Randy (Rusty), Jake (Rusty), Little Tommy (David), Sheena (Tom), David Lee (Tom), Devin (Amy), Taryn (Tom), Ramon (Amy) and twins; Ayla and Mirra (Darren).

As the years unfolded and her family continued to grow, Janie found great satisfaction and pleasure in her role as a bus driver for the Escambia County School Board, where she worked for several years, retiring in 1978. When having asked her grandchildren their favorite memories of their grandmother, one that seems to repeat itself was their being allowed to ride the bus with her when she went to work to pick up her bus route of grade school children. It was a proud honor to sit with their grandmother on her yellow school bus, as she drove to complete her route for the day, picking up school aged children along the way and deliverying them safely to their destination.

In January of 1970, Janie lost her husband, Eugene, to cancer when she was only 50 years of age. This was a most difficult time for Janie, having been with him for most of her adult life, but she prevailed and became an independent, single woman of the early 70's.

The strength and faith she found when she lost her husband, Eugene, assisted her in getting through the painful loss she experienced 15 years later when her beloved son, Tommy, died suddenly at the age of 42 from a massive heart attack.

Having grown up in southern Alabama, Janie was a country girl at heart and in her personal time she enjoyed gardening in her yard, putting up fresh strawberry fig preserves, harvesting pecans from her pecan tree in the backyard, listening to country music, and as most women do, she also enjoyed shopping for clothes and getting dressed up to go out on the town.

Without a doubt, she enjoyed most her love of fishing on the Tensaw River in southern Alabama. A deep love she gladly shared with her children and grandchildren, with several of her grandchildren having since created a lifelong pastime of making frequent visits to hunt and fish in the places she took them to as children.

Of her 9 grandchildren, all can candidly recall special visits with her to the fishing camp at Patrick's Landing, perched atop the hill and the late nights of playing cards as a family at the table in the screened in kitchen area, being scolded countless times for playing with the old bus steering wheel, swinging from the scuppernong vines surrounding the camp area, long talks at bedtime with Grandmother, eating potted meat and scrambled egg sandwiches and thinking they were better than a steak and potato dinner served at any restaurant, as well as Grandmother's special morning breakfast meal of eggs and fried bologna. These are just a few of the many special memories that were made with their Grandmother during the years of their youth.

Yes, Janie was a very special grandmother, but she was also called by several other names too: Mother, Great Grandmother, Aunt Janie, Sis, Momma Jane…but most frequently, friend. She was a friend to everyone, regardless if they were a relative or otherwise. She was the type of person that no matter how little she had, she would willingly give you whatever she might have in her possession if she felt you needed it more than she did. She was most definitely a very giving and unselfish soul, traits in which we can all learn by.

In her recent years, Janie became ill due to multiple strokes and diabetes. By her side, through the entire ordeal have been her three daughters: Shirley, Linda and Barbara, as well as her eldest granddaughter, Theresa Jane. It's been a most difficult time for the Toler family these last few months, but the standard of strength that has been portrayed by these four women can only be attributed to one factor…the example set by their mother and grandmother, Martha Jane (Harris) Toler, throughout the course of her lifetime.

And during this same time period she was blessed to encounter one of the best and most loyal friends of her lifetime, Myrtle Pugh. With Myrtle by her side, prior to becoming so ill she could not speak, she asked the Lord, her creator, to forgive her for all of her sins and asked that she be saved. So rest assured, those that are here to honor her life and memory today…your Mother - your Grandmother - your Aunt Janie - your Sis - your Momma Jane - your Friend…is safe in the arms of the Lord in heaven. May she rest in peace, being reunited with her parents: John and Eliza, her two brothers; Willie and Johnnie, her husband; Eugene, her only son; Tommy and her grandson; David.


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  • Created by: Lolli
  • Added: 12 Oct 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 30547067
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Martha Jane “Janie” Harris Toler (28 Mar 1919–27 Jun 2003), Find a Grave Memorial no. 30547067, citing Pensacola Memorial Gardens, Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Lolli (contributor 47059555) .