Glenwood F. Tolson

Written by Theresa Rose on July 15, 2015

Glenwood F. Tolson, 99, of Mt. Pleasant, died Monday, July 13, 2015 at Arbor Court in Mt. Pleasant.
The funeral service for Mr. Tolson will be 11:00 AM on Friday, July 17 at the Iowa Wesleyan College Chapel, 601 N. Main Street, in Mt. Pleasant. The Reverend William Smith will officiate. Burial will be in the Forest Home Cemetery, Mt. Pleasant, with Military Honors conducted by the Henry County Honor Guard. Friends may call from 12 Noon to 8:00 PM on Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church, 902 South Walnut Street, Mt. Pleasant. The family will be present to receive friends from 4-8 PM on Thursday. The Kimzey Funeral Home, 213 North Main Street, Mt. Pleasant, is assisting the family with the arrangements.
Those considering an expression of sympathy may direct memorials to the Tolson Music Scholarship at Iowa Wesleyan College, Mt. Pleasant Historic Preservation for the restoration of the former Second Baptist Church, Community Action Center of Southeast Iowa or Great River Hospice. Online condolences may be directed to
Glenwood Floyd Tolson was born April 20, 1916 in Clarence, MO. He was the son of Walter and Flossie Ellen (Bradshaw) Tolson. He attended school at the Dalton Vocational School in Dalton, MO and the Western Baptist Seminary in Missouri. His family moved to New London in 1935. He entered Iowa Wesleyan College to earn an Associate Degree in Teaching, simultaneously working in maintenance at the college and being the first black student to play in the college band. His degree was conferred in 1940. On April 30, 1940 in Ft. Madison, IA, Glenwood was united in marriage to Ailleen Rebecca Turner. Mrs. Tolson died June 10, 2009 at their residence in Mt. Pleasant.
After college, Mr. Tolson ran a shoe shine stand at Lamm’s Barbershop in Mt. Pleasant. Dr. W. A. Sternberg, MD, a barbershop patron, asked Glenwood to become his chauffer. He did so until Glenwood was called to the service of his country. He entered the United States Army on November 27, 1943 at Camp Dodge, IA. He was assigned to the 544 Port Company, 507 Port Battalion. He was honorably discharged on December 13, 1945 at Camp Grant, Illinois as a Tech Sergeant with the following commendations: 3 Overseas Service Bars, the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with 2 Bronze Battle Stars, the Good Conduct and World War II Victory Medals.
Upon his return from service, Glenwood returned to work as Dr. Sternberg’s chauffer. He then became the custodian for the Henry County Savings Bank, a position he held for 40+ years. Prior to municipal supported refuse service, Glenwood formed his own trash hauling business for sometimes over 100 customers. He worked hauling grain, coal and sand for the AD Hayes Feed & Grain Co. Glenwood operated the mail delivery service between the train depot and post office. Glenwood raised hogs and for 12 years, was a carpenter for the LJ Roth Reconstruction Company. He built 4 homes of his own in Mt. Pleasant including his last residence.
Mr. Tolson was a member of Second Baptist Church, serving as a deacon. He was a member and former chaplain of the American Legion Robert Tribby Post #58. In 1965, Glenwood was invited to help form the Southeast Community Action Agency. A member of the National Association of Community Action, he represented the local group in regional meetings and served as President of the Community Action board of Directors in Des Moines. For his 47 years of service to Community Action, the center in Mt. Pleasant was named the Tolson Community Action Center and Glenwood received the moniker of “Mr. Community Action”. He received the Iowa Governor’s Award and in Nashville, TN, was bestowed with the Jane Thomas Volunteer Recognition Award in 1997. Since 1936, Glenwood was a member of a men’s prayer groups which met in various locations, most recently at his home. He was a member of the Ministerial Alliance of Henry County. For 20 years beginning in 1981, he shared the position of Head Usher for the Iowa Wesleyan College Commencement Ceremonies.
Those thankful for sharing in Glenwood’s life include his four children – Mildred R. “Millie” Dawson and her husband Henry Leo of Cedar Rapids; Carolyn Rumph of Madison, WI, Jaquelyn R. “Jaqui” Tolson of Burlington and Gerald H. “Jerry” Tolson and his wife Karen of Louisville, KY; 7 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren, as well as numerous people who considered Glenwood a father figure.
His parents, his wife, 2 brothers – R.L. & Howard Tolson, a sister – Dorothy Tolson and an adopted sister – Wanda Rea Dickson precede Glenwood in death.