The Last of the Toters
written by: S. Tornow
(upon reading the obituary of Monroe W. Treiman)
"Toter" was Gracie Garnett's term for a conscripted pall bearer. Many of the people who moved south from other places had no or few family members nearby. Small town funeral directors would ask local residents living and working nearby to assist. Therefore an employee of the funeral parlor would be sent to get some toters. Monroe Treiman, a former Hernando County Florida judge who recently passed away, was not in need of any "toters", but was a "toter" to many before him.
Judge Treiman replied one day in answer to a question by a researcher as to why so many people in Brooksville, Florida were so well placed in the community as to have pall bearers consisting of judges, lawyers, prominent businessmen, the Brooksville City Police Chief, and the Hernando County High Sheriff. His honor replied that in that time the family had few or no relatives in the area to act as pallbearers, and any friends were usually to elderly to assist. The funeral parlors were in close location to the court house and downtown businesses. Since the deceased had to be buried the funeral director sent forth for "toters". Some of those who answered the call were the local judge and sheriff, among others. They were mentioned in the obituary as pallbearers not because the deceased was a close friend but because they were conscripted. They answered Gracie's call "We need some toters."
"Toters" are no longer sent for and are now a small memory of the recent past, the deceased didn't know he or she had such honorable men as pall bearers, but his or her family reading their loved one's the obituary couldn't help but notice how well placed their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins or friends were in our community and be impressed that their kin had done so well.