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James Edward Toliver was born December 16, 1941 to the union of Mary Martha Clark and Sidney Toliver in Woodville, Mississippi. He was reared and educated in New Orleans where he was baptized as a young boy at Philips Memorial United Methodist Church.
He was an industrious person who was able to retire not once, but twice, with a distinguished 22 year career as a surgical technician in the U.S. Army and 20 years with the U.S. Postal Service. He served the military in Germany, Texas, Vietnam, South Korea, Maryland, and Washington state. He retired as Sergeant First Class. During the course of his military career he earned the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Overseas Service bars, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Good Conduct Medals, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/Palm award.
Even as a young boy, he was a person to recognize an opportunity. He began working at age 10 as a young entrepreneur with his older brother James and younger brother Robert. The three brothers had a neighborhood shoe shine stand where they charged the neighbors 50 cents to pick up their shoes and deliver a shoe shine. If he was not hanging out with his brothers, he enjoyed quiet time in the living room reading.
At the age of 13, Lil’ James, as he was affectionately known, and Robert both inquired about jobs at the local golf club where they became golf caddies at “Caddie Park”. In 1955, a $2.00 golf ticket to carry a club member’s golf bag from tee-to-tee was the two boys' means for an allowance. They would make about $4.00 to $6.00 a day each to buy clothes and teen entertainment.
One of his life goals was to have a family and in June 1965, he married Rosa McNeil while serving at Ft. Sam Houston. Together they had four children, Donna, Carl, Michael, and Gwendolyn. They made a beautiful home with frequent family get-togethers and anyone was welcome to drop by without calling first. All were welcome.
James was a very humorous storyteller and very sociable. While he was an avid chess player and bowler, he also enjoyed a good game of dominoes, scrabble, crossword puzzles, backgammon or any card game which allowed him to socialize and talk a lot of “smack”. He loved a good book like “Roots” even before the story was televised, sparking an interest in genealogy.
It can be said that James was a true native of New Orleans who maintained family bonds and childhood friends and had pleasant memories growing up there. He loved gumbo and red beans and rice. He regularly shared childhood memories with his children.
James will be missed, but never forgotten. James leaves to mourn his wife Rosa Toliver of San Antonio, TX; daughter, Donna Toliver of Allen, TX; son, Michael Toliver of San Antonio, TX; grandchildren, Maurice Huntley of San Antonio, TX; Kelina Santos of Austin, TX, as well as his great-grandchildren, Kimora Huntley and Josiah Santos; sister, Mary Lynn Gage of DeSoto, TX; nieces, Terri Adams of DeSoto, TX, Diane Clementine, Cheryl Clementine, and Cynara Rivera of New York, Susie Ramson of Houma, LA, DeWanda Washington of New Orleans, LA; nephews, Stephen Washington of Houston, TX; Shawn Washington of New Orleans, LA; two long term friends, Sherman Ards of San Antonio, TX and Donald Alexander of Hammond, LA and a host of other relatives and friends.
He is preceded in death by his children Carl Toliver d.2013 and daughter Gwendolyn d. 2023, parents Sidney Toliver, Mary Martha Clark, his stepmother Mary Jane Toliver, sisters Marie Clementine, Dorothy Washington; and brothers James Adams and Robert Adams.