Tony Toldo remembered as 'a wonderful man'
Tony Toldo, a prominent Windsor, Ont., philanthropist, was remembered as a warm, caring and wonderful man at his funeral service on Tuesday at Good Shepherd Parish in Tecumseh.
Toldo, who donated millions of dollars to more than 20 local hospitals and charities, died of cancer on Thursday at age 84.
"He was a wonderful man to have known, to have worked with," said Martin Girash, the former president and CEO of the Windsor Regional Hospital, to which Toldo donated $1.9 million in 1998-1999 to build a cancer centre.
"He was a motivator, he energized us, he engaged us in the community to do our best for the citizens," Girash said. "He was a joy to be with."
"I'll remember Tony as a warm and caring man who valued both family and community," his friend, Anne Winterbottom, said at the funeral. "He bent over backwards to see what he could do for everyone, really."
Toldo had worked hard to achieve his success.
When he immigrated to Canada from Italy at the age of nine, he spoke no English.
By the time he died, he had built an empire of businesses that employed more than a thousand people in three countries.
And yet it was his philanthropy that was highlighted most at his funeral.
"You realized he touched a lot of different lives in a different ways," said Sandra Pupatello, Ontario's minister of economic development and trade, and the MPP for Windsor West.
"It wasn't just health care, it was children, young people, seniors," Pupatello said. "He covered the whole gamut."
Donated to education, seniors care
Reminders of Toldo's generosity can be seen throughout the city, from the University of Windsor, where the $18-million Anthony P. Toldo Health Education Centre opened in 2003, to the Alessandro Toldo Seniors' Centre in Windsor's Italian community.
"The city's going to be a lot different without Tony," said his friend, Ed Agnew. "But I have a strong feeling that his son and daughter will carry on the tradition that Tony started and hopefully others will continue what he started."
That was Toldo's own wish.
"I want my children to learn from me that the community's important," Toldo told reporters in 2001.
"I hope after I'm gone, they keep caring for this community."