An artist with his words, his hands and his heart, Deal Herod Toney Jr. walked through this life choosing to see the best in the world with an unparalleled drive to teach others to seek kindness and knowledge. Born in Stamford, Texas, on Sept. 18, 1945, he was reunited with his parents, D.H. and Wenonah, as well as his brother Nathan and grandson Michael on Sept. 12, 2020.
A passion for photography was sparked in third grade with the gift of an 8mm camera. He further developed his photography skills throughout school until his 1964 graduation from Ernest Righetti High School, Santa Maria, California, and later joined the United States Air Force in 1966 as a photojournalist. He shared his travels across all seven continents through the lens of his Nikon. His active-duty adventures and accolades are too many to mention, but what he valued the most was his time as a “First Shirt,” taking care of his squadron, giving all for them.
It is difficult to express in words the kindness and generosity he practiced. This carried on after retirement into his plethora of jobs and hobbies, from kindergarten computer teacher to animator to radio personality, historian and motivational speaker. Turning his medium from film to paint, he ministered to others thru art and stories. Always active in local church, he served in many capacities, wherever there was a need, teaching about his love for Christ.
“D-E-A-L, just like cards” never met a stranger, only friends that he hadn’t visited with before. The role in life closest to his heart was his place in the family. Celebrating 37 years together, Donna, his doll, was his light. Ecclesiastes 9:9 (NASB) states, “Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which he has given you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” Corilla Jo, Jack, Ron and Libby called him brother. He was Daddy to Stanley, Bonnie, Tara, Paul, Stephanie, John and Wenonah. He considered it the ultimate blessing to be Papa to Brittany, Diamond, Daniel, Gabrielle, Joshua, Savannah, Katerine and Arianna and Papa (great-grandpa) to Sophia and Kai. In addition, scores of children considered him honorary grandpa, including Riann, Joseph and Anna Joy.
His presence on this Earth will be keenly missed by all who knew and loved him. It is said ‘That which you cherish you can never lose.” As we celebrate the impact Deal had on the world, we ask that you share your favorite memory of him with us and that you pass on his kindness to others.
Private services were held at Fort Sam National Cemetery Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 9:45 a.m. We would love for his friends and family across the globe to join us in singing “I’ll Fly Away.” Contributions in his honor may be made to Caroline’s Promise, NC or First Baptist Shertz, Texas Children’s ministry.