Gary Tolzman | Obituaries | Mankato Free Press

Gary Aldo Tolzmann was born in Mankato MN to Aldo William (“Tom”) and Eleanor (Diesch) Tolzmann and died of health complications at Avera-McKennon Hospital in Sioux Falls SD. Between birth and death, Gary lived his life to the fullest, filled with joy and gratitude.
He was a graduate of Mankato High School, an employee of “Wimpy’s Pickles” and enlisted in the US Air Force. Gary served from 1962 to 1966 as a cartographer at Strategic Air Command Headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha NE.
After an honorable discharge, Gary worked for Associates Financial Services at Council Bluffs IA in the collections department. Transferred to manage the Spencer IA office in 1968, Gary moved in with his wife 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 by the Easter family of Des Moines at The Farmers Trust & Savings Bank in Spencer, a community bank established in 1916. In the 1980s Gary moved into management banking and He has taken his retirement. in 2007 as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Bank.
Throughout his long career in the banking industry, Gary has left his mark on many community organizations, activities and fundraising efforts at Spencer. He served on the Clay County Fair’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. “Unit 14B”, as it was known during Fair Week, worked with the Back Stage Committee to facilitate performers’ experiences at the fair and was active in fundraising efforts for the Clay County Regional Event Center.
Tolzmann served on the board of Spencer City Hospital. In 1993, Gary led a group of community leaders in the creation of the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation and was named chairman of the original foundation board. He continued to actively improve health care opportunities for area residents through fundraising and the establishment of the Abben Cancer Center.
Among other community organizations and activities, Gary has served well with his hard work, quick wit and engaging personality over the years including the Spencer Municipal Utilities Board, Spencer Airport Board, the 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 other military service veterans from northwest Iowa to Sioux Falls Veterinary Hospital.
When Tolzmann arrived on the scene in Spencer, he became involved with the Jaycees holding every office position from secretary to president. He has chaired many successful projects. Gary was a member of Spencer’s Rotary Service Organization where he served as president, participated in 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 board and an appeal committee, and was a Sunday school teacher. Over the years, he has served as a mentor to many young people.
As busy and active as he was in the community, Gary always had time for his family and friends. He was a coach and officer in the women’s softball and men’s baseball leagues and a Cub leader. Gary was “Big Buffalo” at “White Dove” and “Little Buffalo” at a local YMCA youth program. The family enjoyed camping and traveling over the years. Gary enjoyed antiquing with his wife Carol until his death from cancer in 2005.
Fishing and hunting with friends were his 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 rides to Lake of the Woods that Gary met Denise Kramer, called her “a babysitter” and married her. They enjoyed many more fishing trips and travel adventures together until illness slowed them down.
Gary liked to say – “I had two good wives, two good children, two good grandsons… Life is good!” Our lives were made even better by knowing Gary Tolzmann. May his memory be a blessing.
Survivors include Denise Kramer Tolzmann, her daughter Deanna, her son Aaron (Tabitha), her 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 other families and friends across the country and around the world.
A Celebration of Life in memory of Gary Tolzmann will be held Saturday, April 16, 2022 beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer IA.
Further details can be found on the WARNER FUNERAL HOME website –

Published on April 9, 2022

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