In Memory of Beloved Fanwood Retiree, Toshi d’Elia
Last Wednesday a beloved member of the Fanwood family, Toshiko d’Elia, or Toshi as she was familiarly known, passed away. While most of you did not have the good fortune to have worked with Toshi during a tenure that spanned the ’60s to the ’90s, she left an indelible imprint on Fanwood and will forever be part of the ever-developing tapestry that is the history of our school.
Toshi’s remarkable life, chronicled and featured in the February 21 edition of the New York Times, foretold of personal attributes that would make her the respected and deeply admired teacher and speech teacher she eventually became at Fanwood. Hers was a life that was all about facing barriers and breaking them down, meeting challenges and facing them head-on. While her most public triumphs occurred on the marathon running scene where she consistently broke and set records for women each decade beginning at age 50, no one who worked beside her would say she was any less serious or proud of her work with young deaf students and their families.
Toshi’s dedication and commitment, her curiosity and thirst for knowledge were the traits that drew people to her. She was always a team player, supportive of colleagues and deeply interested in their lives. She took her job very seriously and always strived to learn more, embrace new techniques and master whatever approaches were felt would help her students succeed. She always made people feel like teammates rather than co-workers and truly found the positive in every person and situation.
Toshi was a constant and unwavering presence in the lives of so many who passed through the halls of our school and will be remembered with love and tenderness.
Written By Jill Mandel, friend and former colleague of Toshi d’Elia