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Loren Toohey (1921-2016)

December 2, 2016
Lt. Col. Loren Toohey, USAF, Retired, passed away on November 19, 2016 at the Blue Skies of Texas Retirement Community in San Antonio, Texas. Loren was born March 2, 1921 in Antioch, Nebraska, and spent his early years in Hemingford and Alliance, Nebraska. Loren was related to both the Danbom and Toohey families.

In 1942, Loren married Leona "Maxine" Caha and they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary before Maxine passed away in April 2013.

Besides his loving devotion to his family, Loren had two main passions in his life: flying airplanes and paleontology. Loren joined the Civilian Pilot Training Program at the University of Nebraska in 1942, which led to his service as a pilot and pilot instructor with the Air Force during WWII. He trained many pilots who saw duty in Europe and the Pacific during the war. Loren retired from the United States Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After the war, Loren finished his college education graduating with a doctorate degree in Geology/Paleontology from Princeton University. He worked as a paleontologist at the University of Nebraska and the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and then started a long career with Exxon as a geologist. Many location transfers later, Loren and Maxine settled down in Midland, Texas, where they enjoyed many years of active retirement and where Loren continued to play tennis with his Exxon friends.

Loren's interest in paleontology continued well after his retirement with many field trips to Western Nebraska. Three species of extinct mammals were named for him. He donated not only his time and discoveries to the University of Nebraska, but was also a major supporter of the school's museum and scholarship funds. The University honored him with the title of Research Associate for his years of dedication to the school. Loren was a long-time member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, the Geological Society of America, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the West Texas Geological Society and the Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists.

Loren is survived by his four daughters, Sandy Hiner and husband Bob of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Loreen Schnakenberg and husband Bob of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Teri Manry of Pflugerville, Texas, and Carol Goehrs of Houston, Texas, and by his brothers and sisters, Alan Danbom, Dorothy Ray, William Danbom, Margaret Donnelly, Paul Danbom and David Danbom. He is also survived by his grandchildren Sean Fey and wife Merri Jo, Wendy Avey and husband Cary, and Christina Manry, plus great grandchildren Zachery Fey and Gage Avey, sister-in-law Mary Jo Hamilton of Minot, North Dakota, niece Linda Mielke and husband Dean, and nephew Brent Hamilton.

Loren will be buried at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations in Loren's memory may be made to either the University of Nebraska State Museum ( or the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Skinner Award Fund (