"A MAN OF QUIET DIGNITY AND A QUIET STRENGTH WHO WAS AN INSPIRATION TO ALL"
BURL A. TOLER, SR.
(May 9, 1928 - August 16, 2009)
On August 26, 2009 every pew at St. Ignatius Church was filled with those who loved and admired Burl Toler who for many years was a resident of the Ingleside District.
Toler's life parallels that of Sidney Poitier. Both men were born in the South during segregation, sent to live with another relative, and received the parental lecture: "Get that education...Take whatever opportunities there are, and use them as stepping stones."
I met Toler's high school classmate, SJ, [at the reception] who said: "If he gave you his word, you could sleep on it. He was true to his word."
Toler leaves a legacy of honor, love and hope. He is described as a man of integrity, humble man, mentor, leader, hero, Jackie Robinson, well-respected, pioneer.
I knew him through his daughter, Valerie, as a classmate at St. Emydius School. We met again during my visit to the San Francisco Unified School District office on Gough Street while applying to be a member of the temporary faculty at City College of San Francisco.
Toler persevered to become a distinguished African American creating a legacy that San Francisco can be proud of in football and as an educator.
His words of wisdom: "Do your Best and your Best will be Good Enough" are an inspiration as I reflect on my life and creating my legacy.