Laroy (Roy) Robert Tollbom
Roy was born in Sandpoint, Idaho in May of 1937 to Stewart and Ruth Tollbom. While spending most of his childhood in the great outdoors, Roy developed his lifelong passions for fishing, hunting, and woodworking. He was the second oldest of six siblings. His older brother, Howard (11), and two younger sisters, Arlene (8) and Arletta, (3) were killed in a house fire on August 26, 1947. Roy tried to save them, but Howard already succumbed and the girls were afraid and would not come down the ladder he had brought them. While the family recovered in Yakima, Washington, the community generously rebuilt their home in only 4 months during one of the worst winters on record. In time, Roy’s parents courageously decided to have another daughter, Daralyn, and a son, Ward.
Roy graduated from Sandpoint Sr. High in 1955 and continued his education at the University of Idaho where he completed a degree in electrical engineering in 1959. After taking a few months off, he went to work for Westinghouse in Pittsburg. Laroy was hesitant about accepting the position because he knew he would dearly miss family and the mountains of Northern Idaho. After gaining some experience, he was transferred back to Idaho Falls. Here he continued to work for Westinghouse and was in the Naval Reactors Program under Admiral Rickover. While there, Roy trained officers to operate the Nautilus, the world’s first operational nuclear submarine.
One winter night while ice skating in Idaho Falls, Roy met Freda Weeks from Swan Valley, Idaho. He was a fantastic skater but Freda thought he was a bit strange. To her great surprise, he asked her out on a date. Thinking she would get rid of him, she invited him to church. There, Roy met Pastor Halvor Ness, who led him to Christ. They married on April 16, 1962. About a year later they started their family with Cullen, followed by Bruce, and then Trenna. They also have six grandchildren.
In 1971, Roy and his family moved to Richland, Washington. Here, he completed the bulk of his career working on projects such as FFTF, FMEF, and decommissioning Naval reactors. In his retirement, he travelled a little but devoted much of his time to renovate Spalding Elementary to become what is now Liberty Christian School. Being a steadfast believer in Jesus, Roy often accompanied his wife Freda on ministry trips at home and abroad. He also spent many years teaching adult Sunday School and was a Bible Study Fellowship leader for several decades.
Having experienced true loss in his life, Roy was always there to lend a helping hand. Serving God, his family, and the community always came first. Even in the later years of his life, while battling painful diseases, Laroy often expressed deep gratitude for what he had. He was also known for his quick wit and wisdom. Through his rough, yet strong exterior shined pure love to those that had the privilege of knowing him. However, Laroy knew that without Christ he was a wretched sinful person. He found that he could only truly love because of the powerful changes that Christ made in his heart over time. Do you know Jesus Christ? Will you allow Him to change you?
Our loving Laroy, you will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Public Viewing will take place at Einan’s at Sunset on Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am, with his Graveside Service to follow at Sunset Gardens both located at 915 ByPass Hwy in Richland. The Memorial Service for Laroy will start at 11:00 am at the First Baptist Church in Richland, 1107 Wright Ave.