Toby Morris Pearlman, 92, died in Atlanta Feb. 19, 2019. She was born Toby Delores Morris on Aug. 4, 1926, in Sharon, Pa., to Holocaust survivor parents Lillian Weisel and Isadore Morris. Toby, her sister Rose, and her parents lived above the bakery her family owned and operated.
When her father died at a very young age in 1936, the family sold the business and moved to Canton, Ohio, to be closer to family. In Canton Toby thrived, graduating Lehman High School as valedictorian. Her mother was able to afford one semester at Ohio State University.
It was in Canton that Toby met and married Samuel Pearlman in 1946, and they had two daughters together. They owned Motz Grocery in Greentown, Ohio, until Sam went into business with his brother-in-law, opening the Value Center in Wooster, Ohio, in 1961.
Four weeks shy of the family’s move to Wooster, Sam died of a heart attack. Toby and her daughters moved to Wooster for three years, where Toby worked to help grow the business.
The family then made the decision to return to Canton, where Toby began work in furniture sales at Jacobson’s R & J Furniture. She remained there until its closure. She completed her sales career at Thurin’s Furniture until her retirement. Toby never met a stranger. She treated everyone she met with kindness and respect, worrying that whatever she sold them was “right” for them. No household with children would be encouraged to buy anything not indestructible. No person was pushed to strain their budget. And most everyone she met had to listen to stories about her family. During this time, she epitomized the model single mother. She encouraged her two daughters to become first-generation college graduates; she celebrated their marriages; and finally, she cherished the six grandchildren that soon expanded her beloved family.
Fiercely independent, Toby excelled in her role as Grandma and swelled with pride as she celebrated each and every grandchild’s accomplishments. Once retired, she filled her time with family events and volunteering at Mercy Hospital’s gift shop. She approached her volunteer capacity with the same commitment she exhibited while working.
Once health no longer supported her independence, Toby chose to join her eldest daughter in Atlanta, where she watched that half of her family grow to include eight Southern great-grandchildren and monitored from afar her gain of another six great-grandchildren in Ohio. She lived just long enough to express her worries to her eldest grandchild concerning new driver safety.
Toby’s legacy will live on in the lives of her Atlanta family: daughters Ilene (Adrian) Grant and Brenda (Sam) Linnick; grandchildren, Sammy (Tracey) Grant, Andy (Dara) Grant, Jonathan (Becca) Grant, Seth (Adrienne) Linnick, Lisa (Josh) Zelvy, and Janie (Brad) Weisman; and great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Jacob, Heather, Matthew, Sari, Naomi, Levi, Leilani, Eli, Aaron, Kallie, Tucker, Noah and Fiona.
She is also survived by her devoted and loving caretaker and honorary family member, Jonette Underwood, who made sure the last four years of her life were as special as they could possibly be.
A service honoring Toby’s life was held Feb. 21 at Arnold Funeral Home in Canton, Ohio. Memorial donations may be made to Weinstein Hospice, 3150 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta, Ga. 30328, or Congregation B’nai Torah, 700 Mt. Vernon Highway NE, Sandy Springs, Ga. 30328. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999. Please sign online guestbook at www.edressler.com.