It’s summer and for Roy Tomala that sparks many pleasant memories of growing up on a farm in Center Valley near Pierz, Minnesota. The farm was truly a family operation and instilled a work ethic that continues to this day. Growing up on a farm also included the best that Minnesota has to offer, hunting and fishing. Rural living often supplied him with the freedom to pursue these favorite past times.
Roy attended high school at neighboring Pierz. He recalls that they were fun years with occasional moments of shenanigans. When it was time to plan for his future, he intended to move on from Center Valley and joined the Army in 1960. Roy was in Laos after basic training but felt very fortunate that he was not involved in direct conflict. He mostly drove trucks during his service until his discharge in1962.
Returning to Minnesota, Roy headed to Minneapolis to pursue a career as a union roofer and insulator. The fact that he did not have any fear of heights allowed him to work on some very dicey roofs, especially barns with a high, steep slope. In Minneapolis he reconnected with a lovely young woman that was a neighbor to his family in Center Valley during his farming years. Her name was Joyce and their relationship grew and soon they married. Together, they raised four boys. During those busy years, Roy and Joyce made their work schedules accommodate their children. She worked a waitress job at night after Roy returned from work. Joyce also worked in the school lunch program and as the children grew, she returned to her profession of working with Carlson Companies and Aveda. Together the family enjoyed time at their cabin in Annandale on Pleasant Lake with more fishing!
When the children became independent, rural Minnesota called Roy to return to his roots. After 35 years in Minneapolis, he and Joyce happily began farming again. This farm was near South Haven and included 120 acres that gave him access to two lakes! Hunting and fishing were right in his back yard! Roy raised beef cattle, pigs and chickens. Joyce grew a beautiful garden that provided food throughout the year from her canning. Roy’s favorite meal was fried pork chops and potatoes all produced by the farm.
Roy and Joyce never shied away from travel. Many trips were enjoyed with their RV and visits to Alaska, Canada, and most of the fifty lower states. They loved fly-in fishing for northern pike, walleye, and bass with fish fries at resorts, then more fishing!
After 52 happy years, Joyce passed away. Now, Roy has made his home at Shepherd Court Apartments for the past 18 months. Prior to the pandemic, Roy enjoyed taking part in most of the activities that happened daily. In addition, he tends to the gardens, shops for groceries and other needs, and checks in with his son in Princeton that currently is farming beef cattle. He enjoys his eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. During these warm days he is drawn to the outdoor gazebo and garden area. In the shade with a breeze he can quietly enjoy another favorite activity, reading a mystery novel from the Shepherd Court library.