Gary Aldo Tolzmann was born in Mankato MN to Aldo William (‘Tom’) and Eleanor (Diesch) Tolzmann and died from health complications at Avera-McKennon Hospital in Sioux Falls SD. Between birth and death, Gary lived his life fully, filled with joy and gratitude.
He was a graduate of Mankato High School, an employee of “Wimpy’s Pickles”, and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Gary served 1962-1966 as a cartographer at the Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha NE.
Upon honorable discharge, Gary worked for Associates Financial Services in Council Bluffs IA in the collections department. Transferred to manage the Spencer IA office in 1968, Gary moved with his bride Carol Burk. This union was blessed with two children.
Tolzmann’s career in finance continued at Clay County National Bank in Spencer where he worked with installment, real estate, and commercial loans. In 1978, Gary was employed in all phases of lending at The Farmers Trust & Savings Bank in Spencer, a community-based bank established in 1916. In the 1980s, Gary moved into bank management, and he retired in 2007 as President and CEO of The Farmers Bank. Gary was forever grateful to the Easter family of Des Moines for “the best job in the world”.
Throughout his long career in banking, Gary left his mark on many community organizations, activities, and fund-raising efforts in Spencer. He served on the Clay County Fair Executive Committee and on the Board of Directors. “Unit 14B” as he was known during Fair Week, worked with the Back Stage Committee facilitating performers’ experiences at The Fair and was active in fundraising efforts for the Clay County Regional Events Center.
Tolzmann served on the Spencer Municipal Hospital Board. In 1993, Gary led a group of community leaders in creating the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation and was named president of the original foundation board. He continued to actively improve health care opportunities for area residents through the fundraising for and establishment of the Abben Cancer Center.
Other community organizations and activities Gary served well with his hard work, quick wit, and engaging personality through the years included the Spencer Municipal Utilities Board, Spencer Airport Board, Main Street Improvement Committee, Clay County Crime Stoppers (including appearances as ‘McGruff’, the crime dog), Spencer Jobs Trust, Industries Foundation, Housing Committee, Ambassadors, Flagfest Parade Committee, Tail Twisters Sports Booster Club, Clay County Assistance Fund, American Legion, Shriners, and Masonic Lodge. Gary was also a volunteer driver for the van delivering fellow military service veterans in Northwest Iowa to the Vets Hospital in Sioux Falls.
When Tolzmann arrived on the scene in Spencer, he became involved with the Jaycees serving in every office position from secretary to president. He chaired many successful projects. Gary was a member of Spencer’s Rotary service organization where he served as president, assisted with the annual book sale, was a Paul Harris Fellow, and received the Marvin Kruse Award.
Gary also found time to serve his church. At Bethany Lutheran, he was an usher for many years, served on the church council and on a call committee, and was a Sunday School teacher. Throughout the years, he served as a mentor to many young people.
As busy and as active as he was in the community, Gary always had time for family and friends. He was a coach and officer of the girls softball and the boys baseball leagues and a Cub Scout Den Leader. Gary was “Big Buffalo” to “White Dove” and “Little Buffalo” at a local YMCA program for youth. The family enjoyed camping and travel through the years. Gary enjoyed antiquing with his wife Carol until her death to cancer in 2005.
Fishing and hunting with friends were favorite activities. ‘Tolzy’ especially enjoyed fishing in Canada with his buddies ‘Burgie’, ‘Kettels’, ‘Woodie’ and others. It was on one of The Bank’s bus trips to Lake of the Woods that Gary met Denise Kramer, called her ‘a keeper’ and married her. They enjoyed many more fishing trips and travel adventures together until illness slowed them.
Gary was fond of saying – “I’ve had two good wives, two good children, two good grandsons … Life is good!” Our lives were made all the better by having known Gary Tolzmann. May his memory be a blessing.
Survivors include Denise Kramer Tolzmann, daughter Deanna, son Aaron (Tabitha), grandsons Graydon and Miles; brothers Bruce (Diane) and Paul (Ginger); sisters Cheryl (Dave Christofferson) and Mary (Larry Bobholz); the Tolzmann, Burk, and Kramer families, The Farmers Bank family, and more family and friends across the country and around the world.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE
A celebration of Gary A. Tolzmann will be held Saturday, April 16, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at the Clay County Regional Events Center, 800 West 18th Street, Spencer, Iowa. The family will be present for visitation at 9:00 a.m on April 16.
The family respectfully requests no flowers. Please consider donations to your favorite cause. Some of Gary’s favorites include –
SPENCER REGIONAL HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION
1200 1ST Avenue East
Spencer IA 51301
CLAY COUNTY FAIR CHARITABLE TRUST
PO Box 527
Spencer IA 51301
BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH
15 West 14th Street
Spencer IA 51301
Expressions of sympathy for the family may be mailed to –
1610 Marks Court
Spencer IA 51301