Common Pleas, Lycoming County, No. 328 May Term, 1967

In The Matter Of The Death Of M. Edward Toner,
A Member Of The Bar
Of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania


M. Edward TonerIn compliance with the Order of your Honorable Court the Committee has met and submits the following Report and Resolution:

Matthew Edward Toner better known to the members of the Bar as “Eddie” departed this life on May 14, 1967 at the age of 81, after a long illness.

He was born December 26, 1885, at Milton, Pennsylvania. His parents were James P. Toner, a native of Ireland, and Amanda Elizabeth Bower, who was of pioneer Pennsylvania German ancestry. Her grandfather was the third white man to settle at Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. At the time of Eddie’s birth the Toners lived in Williamsport but were on a visit at Milton.

Our subject possessed the wit of the Irish and the determination of the Pennsylvania Germans and, in addition, a wonderful Irish tenor voice.

Mr. Toner was graduated from Syracuse University Law School in 1912 and became a member of the bar of the State of Indiana. The served his clerkship in the Jersey Shore office of Captain P. D. Bricker, a well known attorney.

In 1919 he applied for admission to the Lycoming County Bar and successfully passed an examination by a committee of attorneys consisting of C. Edmund Gilmore, Oliver J. Decker, Harry C. Fithian, Sr., Charles J. Reilly and William K. Bastian.

On June 9, 1919, upon motion of Charles J. Reilly, Esq., M. Edward Toner was admitted to the practice of law in the several Courts of Lycoming County by the Hon. Harvey W. Whitehead, President Judge.

Mr. Toner was an outstanding Rotarian. In 1926 he founded the Jersey Shore Rotary Club and became a charter member thereof. In 1932 he was elected District Governor of the 51st District. In 1936 he opened a law office in Williamsport and became a member of the Williamsport Rotary Club. Later he became an Honorary Member of Williamsport Rotary.

Mr. Toner was extremely interested in local history. He was a founder of the Tiadaghton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was an active member of the Lycoming County Historical Society. He was extremely well known by his lecture on the legal aspects of the Trial of Jesus Christ.

In the practice of law and particularly in the trial of cases probably the best word that would describe Ed Toner would be “colorful."

Every District Attorney who served in Lycoming County from 1919 until 1956 when Mr. Toner became semi-retired due to ill health, has had good reason to remember “Fightin’ Ed Toner.”  If a window of Court Room No, 1 was open, any pedestrian in Market Square could easily have heard his closing address to the jury. 

Mr. Toner was President of the Lycoming Law Association in 1964 and as such was a devoted servant of the organization.

M. Edward Toner was twice married.  His first wife, Frances Young Toner, now deceased, bore him one child, Martha Toner Hollick.  By the latter there survive five grandchildren, B. Michael Hollick, Edward Hollick, Frances Hollick Conner, Dorian Hollick and Julie Hollick. Four great grandchildren also survive Mr. Toner, Donald Conner, Holly Conner, Ann Michelle Hollick, and Jonathan Michael Hollick.

By Mr. Toner’s second wife Eva Riddell Toner, his surviving widow, there survive two step children, Mrs. Geraldine Fillman and Elmer Stabler.  Three step grandchildren also survive, Stephen Fillman, Debora Stabler and Darrell Stabler.

Your committee therefore offers the following Resolution for adoption as minutes of this Court:

BE IT RESOLVED that through the death of Matthew Edward Toner the Bar of Lycoming County has lost one of its most colorful members.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that these Resolutions be spread at length upon the minutes of this Court and that copies thereof be sent to Mr. Toner’s widow, Eva Riddell Toner and his daughter Martha Toner Hollick.

Respectfully submitted,

Harry C. Fithian Jr.
Scott A. Williams
Daniel F. Knittle
Clyde F. Williamson
John C. Youngman, chairman