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"TOT" 2003 Obituary


TOTH  TOTTEN 

TOTH o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-12-17 published
Zoltan TOTH
By David EUSTACE, Wednesday, December 17, 2003 - Page A24
Husband, father, grandfather, landscaper, winemaker, blaster, friend. Born October 4, 1936, in Felpec, Hungary. Died August 11, in Toronto, of cancer, aged 66.
Zoltan TOTH always wanted a horse. Working in a steel factory in winter, on his parent's farm in summer, he gave all his money to his family, only asking that one day they would buy him a horse.
In 1956 at age 20, horseless still and facing the prospect of conscription, Zoltan decided his horse was elsewhere and joined the stream of refugees pouring from Hungary into Austria. There he waited for a response from the half-dozen countries to which he'd applied for asylum; Canada responded first and several weeks later he walked off a boat and onto the docks of Halifax.
For the next nine years, Zoltan prepared the ground for his life ahead. Inured to hard work from the years of both factory and farm work back in Hungary, he took whatever job presented itself: window-washing, baking, construction, mining, as well as the one at which he would end up working for the rest of his life: landscaping.
In 1965, he returned to Hungary with an iron for his mother and a new cocksure attitude he'd gained from having successfully weathered almost a decade in Canada. On his first date with a striking young school teacher named Zsuzsa (Susan) NEMETH, he proposed marriage. Miss NEMETH refused, but with characteristic doggedness, Zoltan persisted.
By 1969, Zoltan and Susan TOTH were living with a daughter and newborn son in a house on Finch Avenue in North York. By then, Zoltan had already begun to build the landscaping and snow-removal business that would have him working hard in the spring and summer, and have him standing at the end of the driveway in winter, a glass of homemade wine in one hand, wet-fingering the wind with the other.
But, while he embraced his new country, maintaining a quiet but fierce patriotism his whole life, he nonetheless successfully transplanted important rituals from his old country to his new one. For 30-odd years he and his buddies (Hungarian men who, like Zoltan, had come over on the boat years ago and cultivated a new life in Canada), would gather in their respective garages over successive October weekends and make wine. Grapes would be pressed and then, with frugality characteristic of men who had immigrated with nothing but their own ingenuity, the mash of grape skins and stems would be reconstituted with sugar water for a second pressing.
Zoltan had three rules for transplanting trees. "Pick a good plant, pick a good place for it, and vater the hell out of it."
In 1989, 33 years after leaving Hungary, he bought a Lincoln Continental -- his horse, he called it. Zoltan had fierce attachments but also knew how to transplant his dreams and desires to new places and new times. For almost 40 years, Zoltan ran a thriving landscaping business but his most successful transplant, the thing that took root quickly and grew strong and solid and beautiful, was himself.
David EUSTACE is a friend of the TOTH family.

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TOTTEN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2003-03-08 published
JOHNSTON, Thirza Elaine B.Sc. (Hons.,) B.Ed., M.Ed. (Teacher with the Toronto District School Board, Scarborough)
Unexpectedly, Thirza (née TOTTEN) passed away on Wednesday, February 26, 2003. Predeceased by her husband, Bruce, she is lovingly remembered by her children, Robert, Anne and her husband Greig BLACK, Mary and her husband Neil ABBOTT, and Julie and her husband Michael BERNIER. Thirza cherished her role as grandmother. A private family service was held. If desired, donations may be made in Thirza's memory to The Heart and Stroke Foundation.

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