Life Story / Obituary
Eugene (Gene) Gilman Toornman, age 87, passed away on Friday, May 10, 2019, surrounded by his loving family. Gene was born on October 22, 1931 in Kalamazoo, MI to John Henry Sr. and Cornelia (Gilman) Toornman. Gene was a 1949 graduate of Kalamazoo State High School. He served in the U.S. Navy Air Corps from 1951 - 1955. During this time, he was an accomplished boxer representing both the U.S. Navy and the city of Kalamazoo. In 1955, Gene started working at the Upjohn Company in Portage, MI and then decided to pursue a college education to advance to a higher position within the company. Gene graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in industrial engineering. Gene continued his career as an engineer at Upjohn until his retirement in 1988. He enjoyed his 30-year career, never taking a sick day. In 1961, Gene married Marie (Boekeloo) Toornman. They celebrated 56 years of marriage. Gene enjoyed telling his six children and many grandchildren stories from his youth. These stories included valuable advice and life lessons. Gene was interested in classic automobiles and restored several during his retirement. His biggest project and accomplishment was restoring a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, which he generously donated to the Gilmore Car Museum in Augusta, MI. He also enjoyed reading books and magazines about WWI, WWII, and classic cars. Gene was preceded in death by his loving wife Marie, daughter Carrie Toornman Kimble, his brothers John Toornman JR. and James Toornman. He is survived by his son Tom (Cathy) Toornman, his daughters Tammy Guzzo, Deborah Toornman, Laurie (John) Hare, and Penny Major. Gene is also survived by several nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren. In keeping with Gene's wishes, there will be no memorial service. Per his request, in lieu of flowers, please make donations to local Hospice services, Salvation Army, Loaves and Fishes, or a local charity of one's choosing. The family would like to thank everyone for all the support and well wishes.
The family is being helped by McCowen & Secord Family Funeral Homes, Marshall - Gren Chapel, Plainwell, MI 49080 (269-685-5881). Please visit Gene’s webpage at www.mccowensecord.com where you can read sign the guestbook, and share a memory.