David W. Toll
7/24/1936 – 2/13/2022
Award winning writer, journalist and publisher, David W. Toll passed away at his home in Gold Hill on Sunday, February 13 after a lengthy illness.
David Toll was born in Los Angeles, on July 24, 1936 and grew up in Santa Barbara. In 1944, an eight year old David first came to Gold Hill with his great grandfather, Harry M. Gorham who returned to the Comstock to reminisce about his life during the Comstock’s heyday.
After graduating from high school he served on the USS Frank Knox, a destroyer in the U.S Navy. In 1957 he enrolled at University of California, Berkley, and as a freshman was editor of The Pelican, a university humor publication. He always loved Gold Hill, and 14 years after his first visit, he returned . Buoyed with a small inheritance from his great grandfather, he purchased what remained of the Jones Mansion in Gold Hill.
Headquartered in Gold Hill from that point on he wrote about what he called “The Most Interesting state in America”. For the past 50 years, through his writing, publishing and speaking, no one has done more to promote the state of Nevada.
Over the past year, he compiled memorable writings of his 60 years as a journalist and author into an anthology, David Toll’s Nevada: A 50-Year Tour Through the Most Interesting State in America. Published in January of this year the first printing sold out almost immediately prompting a second printing.
Bob Laxalt asked him to write a guidebook to the state in the early 70’s and the result was the The Complete Nevada Traveler. Ten editions have been published making it the top selling book in the state. This work was the genesis for his internet publishing which provides visitors and Nevadans alike a vast treasure of information about Nevada.
In the mid-1970s he revived the Gold Hill News, and as a bi-weekly newspaper he amassed more newspaper awards than any other Rural publication before or since. His writing on NevadaTravel.net earned numerous awards throughout the years and in 2016 he was awarded the Excellence in Tourism Award by the Nevada Division of Tourism.
David considered his three major books a trilogy of “authentic Nevada voices”:
Squaw Tom Speaks, a number of stories told by Tom Sanders and man raised by an Indian couple. His stories tell of a time and place almost never written about, life with the Indians of Nevada and as a working man.
My Memories of the Comstock, first published by Harry M. Gorham in 1939, Memories recalls Gorham’s rich experience on the Comstock managing the mining interests of his uncle, John Percival Jones, one of Nevada’s silver senators.
Breaks, Brains and Balls is a biography of one of Nevada’s most colorful characters, Joe Conforte and is the product of hours of conversations David and Joe had at the Mustang Ranch.
David is survived by his wife and traveling companion of 33 years, Robin Cobbey, children, Sam Toll of Gold Hill, Sarah Hinman of Pleasanton California, Rachel Ching of Austin, Texas, Lt. Col John Toll of Fort Bragg, NC, Alexandra Toll of Oakland, California and Christopher Toll of Gold Hill, thirteen grandchildren, a great grandson and sisters, Suzanne Abrams and Margery Toll of Fresno.
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting you buy a tank or two of gas, visit a town in Nevada you’ve never been to, and stay a while.
We suggest you visit one (or all) of David’s websites for inspiration:
We are very sorry to hear of David’s passing. When I met with him, I found him a very enthusiastic man who loved Nevada even more than myself. He will be greatly missed is an understatement. Condlences to his family and friends. ~Kim Harris