Saturday, June 13, 2015

In Memory of

Tonita Tonne

April 4, 1921 - June 10, 2015
 
 
Tonita Mozelle Gray Tonne passed away on June 10th,
2015 in San Angelo,
TX at the age of 94 years, 2 months and 6 days.
Mozelle was born April 4th 1921, in the Bowser community,
San Saba County, TX to Lonnie and Ida Ringhoffer Gray.
Before her second birthday, her father moved the family
 from the Texas oilfields to Salt Valley, UT
to work for his father-in-law,
 Alex Ringhoffer, in a silver mine. After about a year,
the family returned to the Texas oilfields.
 
The family followed oil booms to Burkburnett, Holliday,
Dad's Corner, Fry, Cross Cut, then on to West Texas.
Mozelle's first school was Buffalo, in Coleman County, TX.
By the time she graduated at Garden City, in Glasscock County,
with the class of 1938, she had attended nine different schools.
In 1940 Mozelle came to San Angelo and rented a room
from Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Duke on West 2nd street
 and worked a Retoucher at Price Studio.

On December 7th, 1940 Mozelle and Gilbert Tonne,
of Grape Creek community, were riding with another couple.
As they turned off West Harris onto South Chadbourne Street,
they saw a newsboy across from the Standard-Times
yelling and carrying a bundle of papers.
Gilbert said, "I'll bet war has broke out!"
Gilbert caught the newsboy and bought a paper
where the headlines read "Japs Bomb Pearl Harbor!"
Gilbert had already received his "Greetings" from Uncle Sam
and was to report the next day to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio
 for induction into the U.S. Army.

As part of "The Greatest Generation," Mozelle began her journey
by attending night school in the basement of the
Tom Green County Court House to equip workers for a nation
 that had suddenly been plunged into WWII.
While attending night school, Mozelle worked as a desk clerk
 during the day at the Roosevelt Hotel, and for a short time,
at the Cactus Hotel as a switchboard operator.

Mozelle received her diploma on December 31st, 1942,
 but had previously received her War Service Appointment
as a clerk-typist at Goodfellow Field, and began working
in the Purchasing & Contracting Office
 on the first Day of December 1942.
In July of 1943 Mozelle transferred to Pyote (Rattlesnake)
Army Air Base in the same position.
At 21 years of age, she became the
Purchasing & Contracting Officer for the entire base.
Mozelle's primary responsibility was maintaining a supply of fuel,
breathing oxygen and airplane tires –
all other needs took second place.
Breathing oxygen was necessary for high altitude flying
of the B-17 Bombers that flew 365 days a year.
During her tenure, there was never a flight delayed
 or cancelled for lack of either fuel or oxygen.

Mozelle married Gilbert Tonne July 10th 1944 upon his return
from his third frigid winter near Anchorage, Alaska.
Gilbert was then stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso where
 Mozelle joined him after resigning her position in Pyote.
 While at Ft. Bliss, Mozelle worked in the records
 section of the Quartermaster Laundry.
After seeing Gilbert off to "destination unknown"
at Ft. Ord, CA in March of 1945 (he was put off at Hawaii)
Mozelle returned to the Goodfellow Field Purchasing
 and Contracting Office in San Angelo where it all started.

Gilbert was discharged on Halloween night
1945 and returned to San Angelo.
Their first child, Susan, was born in 1947.
Mozelle took a year's leave then resigned
her hard earned Civil Service Commission to be a
 full time wife and mother.

Mozelle's life verse was Psalm 27:4
"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
 to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple."

Mozelle was preceded in death by a grandaughter,
 Kimberly Williams, in 1981 and her beloved husband,
 Gilbert, on December 15th, 2004 after
 60 treasured years of marriage.
Mozelle is survived by four children and their spouses;
 Susan and Buddy Smith of Australia,
 Tonita and Wayne Williams of San Angelo, TX,
 John Tonne of San Angelo, TX,
 and David and Terri Tonne of Edmond, Oklahoma.
 Mozelle leaves a wonderful legacy behind for her
 11 grandchildren and 36 great grandchildren
whom she deeply loved.