12/17/1948 - 12/02/2019
Obituary for Bob Toman
Bob Toman, an iconic Pacific Northwest fishing guide, fisheries advocate and longtime riverside resident in Carver, on the Clackamas River near Oregon City, died Monday, December 2, 2019. He was 70.
A private graveside service with military honors will be held at Willamette National Cemetery.
A public celebration of his life will be held at 3 p.m., Feb. 16, in Camas, Washington.
Robert Norris Toman was born December 17, 1948 to Robert and Barbara (Wellbaum) Toman in Oregon City.
He was raised close to the Clackamas River and its numerous tributaries, where his father instilled in him a passion for fish and fishing.
After his graduation from Oregon City High School, Bob attended a year of college and guided in British Columbia before being drafted into the U.S. Army and deployed to Vietnam. Stationed at a forward fire base near the demilitarized zone, Bob earned two purple hearts before his honorable discharge.
Upon his return home, Bob worked many years for the old Wigwam Store and Larry's Sports Center in Oregon City (now Fisherman's Marine & Outdoor).
During this time, he also began guiding others, honing his skills on the Willamette, Clackamas, Columbia and Deschutes rivers and Tillamook Bay.
Bob never considered retiring because he figured he would just end up fishing anyway.
Over decades of guiding he led the way to salmon, steelhead, walleye, bass and sturgeon for military veterans, from privates and sailors to admirals and generals, a supreme court justice, hundreds of strangers from foreign nations and thousands of local clients.
Actually, no one was a stranger for more than a moment or two. Bob always had a ready smile, story and, sometimes, quiet consolation instead of consternation over a lost opportunity. While Bob was completely capable of becoming momentarily irritated over lost fish, he invariably laughed it off and filed each loss in his long memory of favorite stories.
Along with fishing, Bob enjoyed hunting and making good fishing lures better and better lures great. He field-tested or created most of the popular salmon lures on the market today, from his own brand of spinners to wobbling plugs. Bob also experimented, sometimes daily, seeking new water, carving new lures, and coloring plugs to his own liking with waterproof pens.
He was a consummate advocate for salmon and steelhead, constantly stretching his knowledge far beyond his uncanny ability to catch them.
Bob tirelessly supported conservation, restoration and both wild and hatchery fish. His endless curiosity and expertise were frequently tapped by state, federal and private fish biologists.
Toman's survivors include his daughter, Becky (Corey) Pentecost; son, Jeremy (Andi) Toman; ex-wife Marlene Toman; brother, Jerry Toman; sister, Patricia Willsey, and six grandchildren.
Donations in Bob's name can be made to: Oregon Wildlife Foundation, 901 SE Oak St., suite 103, Portland, Ore., 97214; Safari Club International, Lewis and Clark Chapter, 3300 NW 185th Ave., #71, Portland, Ore., 97229; or Forward Assist NW, 12500 SW Riverview Lane, Wilsonville, Ore. 97070.
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