In Memoriam, Mike Todd, 1951-2015.

 

 

On January 2, 2015 TOGA lost a good friend and strong leader. Mike died suddenly while he and wife Laura were visting their daughter in Texas. The magazine cover at left shows Mike as we remember him- happy, enthusiastic, and someone you enjoyed working with or just being with. Mike had been unanimously nominated by the TOGA Board to be President in 2015. We are all deeply saddened by this loss of our dear friend.

 

Please read more about Mike, including services, and leave a comment at

http://miketoddmemorial.wordpress.com/

 

Our deepest sympathy goes to Laura and the Todd family.

 

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations to TOGA in Mike's name would be greatly appreciated. You may send donations to:

 

TOGA, PO Box 2463, Gloucester, VA 23061

 

or use the PayPal link below. (You may use a credit card and are not required to have a PayPal account.)

I

Remembering Mike

by Brian Wood, TOGA President

 

My first encounter with Mike was in 2010 as he volunteered for TOGA's Oyster Growth and Longevity Study, and I remember he came to my house late summer to pick up seed and cages. I'm sure we spent some time looking at and discussing my oyster garden and Mike's oyster growing experiences. One of the first and lasting impressions of Mike was his passion for his hobby, quick wit, great smile, humor, and most of all, the love of his family.

 

We emailed each other during the study with the data and Mike on occasion would proudly send me pictures of his oyster garden and modifications he had made to his cages. Mike was a graduate of the 2011 Master Oyster Gardening Course at VIMS where he had met and struck up a friendship with Mike Sanders, another enthusiastic oyster gardener on the Coan River. Their friendship led to Mike Sanders inviting Mike to our TOGA board meetings. In one of those meetings,Mike learned about an event we were struggling to get our hands around because of the possible immensity of partnering this event. We called it "The First Annual Stratford Hall Oyster and Wine Tasting.” Mike was familiar with members of Stratford Hall and wasn't afraid of taking on the task of the TOGA event coordinator. He soon was working with the organizers helping plan the layout, recruiting oyster growers, and amassing the largest group ever of TOGA volunteers of 30 plus. Most of us know that this was a significant Northern Neck (NN) event for the wineries. By adding the" Oysters” with the wine tasting, it became an even more incredible success the last two years with attendance at 5,000,doubling the attendance of the previous "wine only" years. It also became the premier fund raising and volunteer participation activity in TOGA's history.

As time went on, Mike enthusiastically got more involved (to TOGA's delight). First of all, he became the Northern Neck event coordinator; at the same time , he shared and advised on new technologies (twitter, Go to Meetings) that would help TOGA be more in touch with its membership. Mike soon was coordinating the Northern Neck Oyster Fair at the Ladies Club in Lottsburg, with the biggest single day membership sign up to date (22).

 

When a position on the board opened up mid-2013, we at TOGA unanimously nominated Mike as Secretary. Though we knew he was not a full time resident of the Northern Neck, we were overjoyed when he accepted the position. For the TOGA board 2014 and the probability of Mike being a full time resident of the NN, he was nominated as Vice President. In 2014, VP Mike, the board and all our volunteers were put to the test with our biggest year yet with 40+ events attended. We were about to opt out on a couple of late requested events when Mike jumped in and used another one of our new technologies (mass emailing) and recruited more volunteers to cover these events with eight TOGA faithful showing up at one event. Mike proved to be a genuine leader.

 

TOGA has grown dramatically these last couple of years with Mike being a big contributor to its success. So it was with great anticipation we nominated Mike for the position of TOGA President for 2015. All of us at TOGA were very pleased when he accepted knowing the organization was in good hands. But as Fate would have it, it was not to be. We mourn for the loss of our dear friend and TOGA member and for his dear wife, Laura, who has become part of the family. We will miss time spent together at meetings, events, parties, or just that long drive to VIMS with Mike proudly talking about his life with Laura, son Jason, daughter Brittany, and his pride and joy grandsons, Jackson and newly born Brennan.