Shout out to Jim Tolley
January 6, 2011 7 Comments
While I was an LDS missionary I served for a few months in Vermont. During that time I met a great guy name of James Tolley. Jim was probably in his 30s at the time. I can still recall sitting in his living room, I think the Tolleys lived in or near Essex Junction, but I’m not completely sure. That may have been where he worked. He and his lovely wife were very kind to us and more frequently than we deserved had us up for dinner on Sundays. Jim introduced me to Orson Pratt and that alone made a difference in my life. Jim’s wife, I’m ashamed to say that I don’t recall her name (we wouldn’t have used her first name anyway – Sister Tolley), was a flight attendant (stewardess in those days) for one of the big airlines of the day, it may have been TWA. She was a stunning brunette. I only say that because as a young missionary, it was a little hard not to stare. Jim was an employee of IBM at the time, and a very sharp but modest guy. You never know of people’s private lives and thoughts, but I always thought of Jim as kind of the ideal to shoot for. I always hoped that he would get everything good in life.
In any case, Jim had the distinction of being one of the first two missionaries to serve in Palestine in modern times, having been called to the exotic “International Mission.” I saw pictures of Jim and the friends he made in the Middle East. The missionaries were under restrictions that made it impossible to baptize members there, for a number of reasons. Politically it may have been difficult, but the Church instituted the restrictions mostly because it seemed very difficult to establish a viable presence there perhaps. Jim talked about his frustrations in that regard, having people who took up the standard of Mormonism there, but who he could not confirm into the faith. I think Jim showed me some pictures from that experience that had appeared in the Church news in the 50s I think? I’ve been trying to locate the Jim I knew, but I haven’t found him. Jim and his wife had no children at the time and it may have been impossible, I don’t really know. But if you knew Jim, or perhaps know him, I’d like to get in touch with him again. He was a great guy and I would like to catch up. Brother and Sister Tolley, we loved you.