Toni Sue Strong of Vicksburg, Michigan, unexpectedly passed away at her home on Sunday January 28th, 2024.
Toni was born April 9th, 1954, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Paul and Jackie Strong. She was later gifted a sister and 2 brothers by her parents, becoming the oldest in a sibling set of four. While growing up, Toni enjoyed spending time on the water, cooking with her mom, and riding any chance she got. She got her first dog as a child and it was instant love. From then on, she was never long without one or more, she even managed to keep one with her in the dorms in college.
Toni graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1972 and began her journey at Michigan State University with plans to become a DNR officer. However, her journey took a turn when she decided to pursue an opportunity at Steward Sutherland which would allow her to purchase her dream properties in Michigan and Virginia, a huge point of pride and accomplishment for her. She loved to be out exploring everything nature had to offer whether it be from the saddle of a horse or with a dog at her heels.
While making her dreams come true, she met and married Kevin Morley. Although, their relationship later ended in divorce, this relationship gave Toni the gift of motherhood with birth of her first child, Luke. The only thing she loved more in life than her horses and dogs were her children, family, and friends.
In the midst of raising Luke, working for her dad delivering auto parts, and building her farm, she met Roger Glidden and it was love at first hay bailing. Roger quickly became an important part of Toni's life helping her to build her dream home and eating her famous cookies. Once he introduced her to his children she began loving and raising Joe and Martina as her own right alongside Luke. As their love grew so did their family adding more animals (and more animals and more animals) and their fourth child Brooks. She later decided that Roger was it for her and married him October 14th, 1996. They continued to raise their children and build their lives together later adding their 5th and final child Theo to the family.
Raising children, horses, dogs, and an eclectic array of other animals soon became the biggest joys in her life. She worked hard and played harder. Riding trails and making changes for the equestrian community in Kalamazoo and surrounding areas soon became another passion. Joining the board for Yankee Springs she got involved in projects to build up and expand on the riding trails, develop programming, and improve the overall experience for riders. Later, she shared that passion and expertise with Fort Custer becoming involved with the Fort Custer Horse Friends Association. Working with the Horse Friend's Association, Toni helped improve the riding experience at Fort Custer by adding hitching rails, more riding trails, and picket poles.
Life went quickly and her children began to grow and expand their own families. Nothing brought her more joy than loving on and spending time with her grandchildren Liam, Grace, David (Red), Abby (Pinky), and Seth. Sharing her love of animals, riding, and cooking with them brought her happiness, frustration, and laughter. She even purchased a unicorn aka, a new pony for the kids to love on and learn from.
Toni's life was full of family, friends, and love. She will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all those that survive her, especially by her husband Roger Glidden of Vicksburg, her children Joe (Heather) Glidden of Portage, Luke Morley of Leonidas, Martina Glidden of Kalamazoo, Brooks (Dave) Layton of Battle Creek, and Theo Glidden of Vicksburg, and grandchildren Liam Glidden, Grace Glidden, David Layton, Abigail Layton, and Seth Layton. As well as by her siblings, cousins, in laws, nieces, nephews, and her many friends that she loved as family.
She is preceded in death by her parents Jackie and Paul Strong of Kalamazoo, brother Ted of Trout Creek, Michigan, and Mother-in-Law Carla Glidden of Vicksburg.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Fort Custer Horse Friends Association in memory of Toni Strong (please put her name in the memo line so that your donation goes to the right place). Donations may be mailed to Langeland Family Funeral Home c/o Fort Custer Horse Friends Association at 622 South Burdick St. Kalamazoo, MI 49007 to be forwarded to F.C.H.F.A. These donations will be used to create a memorial in her name to be enjoyed by current and future riders.
A memorial service will be held at Prairie Baptist Church located at 11210 E P Q Ave, Scotts, Michigan 49088 on February 10th, visitation with family will begin at 10:00 AM with a service beginning at 11:00 AM and a luncheon to follow. Please bring memories and stories of Toni to share with her family and friends. Please visit Toni's memorial webpage to share condolences and memories with her family at http://www.Langelands.com