Eliot F. Tozer Jr. ’43

Eliot F. Tozer Jr. ’43 died on July 25, 2017, in Tappan, New York.

(The following was published in The Journal News from July 27 to July 28, 2017:)

His life was beautifully written. His life-long study and deep love of the English language expressed itself in many ways. He studied English in college, taught it to students in high school, college, and in Pakistan. As a freelancer he wrote articles on a wide range of subjects for general interest magazines and a book on how to give up smoking. He produced television shows for PBS, and managed public relations and public information for CBS News and CBS Radio. And he delighted his grandchildren with his ability to instantly pronounce words backwards.

Eliot began life in East Milton, Massachusetts and studied at Bowdoin College, graduating early, in 1943, to enlist in the Navy during World War II. At Bowdoin he sang with the Meddiebempsters, an early small a capella singing group. After Bowdoin he found himself in Corpus Christie, Texas, learning to fly, where his instructor in the Link Trainer, Betty Farmer, became his beloved wife of 61 years. He continued as a flight instructor and ground school instructor until the end of the war when Eliot and Betty moved to Shanks Village. Both attended Columbia on the GI Bill while raising the first two of what, over time, became their five children.

With 31 other Shanks Village families he was a founder of the Hickory Hill Cooperative in 1951 and brought with him lessons in cooperation, community, and self-reliance first practiced in Shanks Village.

He believed that education, good government, history, care of the environment, and cooperative communities were important for a thriving life and volunteered his time to support these beliefs. He was the Deputy Supervisor of Orangetown under Thom Kleiner for 14 years, was a leader in the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, was a member of the Orangetown Shade Tree Commission and was a founder of Keep Rockland Beautiful. He was a judge of History Day events, and worked to support the Tappan PTA and the Tappantown Historical Society. He was a rape victim counselor for many years.

He tragically lost his oldest son, Eliot, III, in an accident while E III was flying an F8 off a carrier deck in the Pacific. He is survived by his children Raleigh, Joel, Donna, and Geoffrey and his daughter in law Joan; their spouses Catherine, Mary Ann, Steven, Sam and John; his grandchildren Matthew, Julie, Katherine, Lindsay, and Grace; their spouses and partners Commander Benjamin Martin, Lt. Col Maynard Porter, Katie Ingersoll, and Michele Tedesco; and his great grandchildren Eliot, Lucy, Maynard, and Georgia.

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