Former Lafayette oilman Wally Toce Sr., 87, a lifelong civic and business leader, died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family Wednesday.

Toce was the son of Thelma Talen and Victor Toce. He graduated from Lafayette High School in 1942, and his oilfield experience and career began during the summer of his junior year in high school in 1941 when he worked for Frank’s Casing Crew. He enlisted, at the age of 17, in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving aboard the destroyer escort, USS Merrill. Upon his honorable discharge, he began working for Core Laboratories, then as an oil scout and on to his long career as a petroleum landman.

toceToce earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial technology in 1952 from SLI. He earned his second degree from the university in petroleum geology in 1960. After working as a landman for different companies, he resigned from General Crude Oil Co. in 1972. Along with his wife, Jeris Theresa Blanchard, he formed his two oil and gas companies, W. O. Toce Oil and Gas Interests and Acadiana Resources Inc.

The avid golfer, who played on the SLI golf team, was a passionate supporter of the UL, having helped the university start a night school division when he was working on his second degree. He also played an instrumental role in the establishment of the university's Professional Land and Resource Management program.

Toce was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years. He is survived by his four children, Waldemar Oran Toce Jr., Jeri Dupuis and Rick, and Blane Toce and Lisa, all of Lafayette, and Celi Trepanier and Yves of Huntsville, Ala.; and one brother, Paul M. Toce, and wife Patty of Lafayette, and sister-in-law, Virginia Riley. He also leaves behind nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday at noon at St. Mary Catholic Church. Entombment will be at Calvary Mausoleum. Visitation will be held at Delhomme Funeral Home Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until the time of services, and a rosary will be recited at 10:30 a.m. by longtime family friend, Dr. David Roy. Memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of Acadiana or the Alzheimer’s Association.

Delhomme Funeral Home is located at 1011 Bertrand Drive. Read more here.

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