Cover photo for Dominic "Sonny" R. Toce's Obituary
Dominic "Sonny" R. Toce Profile Photo
1931 Dominic 2016

Dominic "Sonny" R. Toce

May 15, 1931 — July 3, 2016

Dominic R. Toce, 85, of Torrington, CT, passed away Sunday, July 3, 2016, at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.  He was the husband of the late Rita Ann (McCarthy) Toce.

Sonny, a nickname given by his dad, was born May 15, 1931, in Torrington, son of the late Dominick and Angela (Leroy) Toce.  Sonny often accompanied his father to work at the family business, starting at the age of nine.

Sonny graduated from Torrington High School, class of 1949, where he was known for his prowess on the basketball court.  He went on to complete his education at the University of Connecticut, Class of 1953 with a B.S. in Business Administration.

After College, Sonny returned to Toce Brothers, the family business, which started in 1924 by his father and three uncles.  It was there that he met the love of his life, Rita McCarthy, as she was walking by the garage on her way to work.  They married in June of 1953, and later that month he was drafted into the US Army.  He joined the transportation battalion where his knowledge and experience allowed him to rise to the rank of sergeant.

Upon his honorable discharge in 1955, Sonny rejoined Toce Brothers when they were selling GMC trucks and starting to diversify into the tire industry.

Through his hard work, devotion and commitment to the tire service business, Sonny rose to the rank of President of Toce Brothers in 1975.  He built the business with a loyal company base that is dedicated to customer service, providing not only tires, but also service to customers in the field and beyond.  Well into his 80’s, he still went to work most days with the same grace, honor and loyalty that he had his entire life.

Anyone who knew Sonny would describe him as a hard working, dedicated and a sincere businessman.  He worked in the trenches alongside his fellow employees, in the shop or on the road changing tires.  To quote Sonny, “Basically, it is a very simple theory.  We were brought up to work hard, try to do everything right, be fair and honest and always pay the bills.  This is the simple theory upon which our business is founded.”  Sonny was devoted to the tire industry for over six decades, and celebrated the Toce Brothers 90th anniversary in 2014.

Sonny also had a strong devotion to his family.  He and Rita raised four daughters and one son.  Sadly, his son Mark died in a tragic car accident in 1977, and his beloved wife Rita preceded him in death in 2011.  His daughters and one of his grandsons are currently active in the tire business and will carry his legacy forward.

Sonny traveled the world with Rita and vacationed every summer in Rhode Island.  He was a fanatic for UCONN basketball, following both the men’s and women’s teams closely.  He also enjoyed watching the Indianapolis 500, a particular favorite, and had the privilege of seeing the race in person, even visiting the pit area.  He was an avid card player.

Sonny was active in many organizations.  He was a recipient of the 2003 Business Leader award from the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, as well as a founding member of the local Varsity Alumni Club.  He was also a member of the Elk’s, Unico, and the Masons and was a Shriner.

Sonny is survived by four daughters, Debra Lopardo (Mark) of Torrington, Janice Toce Lesieur (Mark) of Torrington, Diane Barrett (Russell) of New Hartford, Karen Morin of Torrington and nine grandchildren, Stephen, Nicole, Zachary, Bradley, Devon, Brandon, Caden, Lydia and Melanie.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, July 11, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. at Cook Funeral Home, 82 Litchfield St., Torrington.  Burial will follow in Hillside Cemetery with full military honors.  Relatives and friend may call on Sunday, July 10, 2016, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Cook Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Varsity Club Alumni, c/o Paul Denza, 60 Wheeler Lane, Torrington, CT 06790 or to The Center for Cancer Care Fund, 200 Kennedy Drive, Torrington, CT 06790.  Condolences may be sent to the Toce family by visiting www.cookfuneralhomect.com


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