MIDDLETOWN, Del. — Vern Toblan, longtime executive director of Pi Chi Omega, passed away on Saturday, in Seasons Hospice at Christiana Hospital. He was 84.
Toblan’s daughter, Brenna, posted on Facebook, “Myself, his cousin Heidi Ross, her daughter Katherine Ross, and even his beloved dog Frannie were able to be there at his side.”
A native of Zurich, Switzerland, Toblan studied agriculture at Strickhof University and immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada in the 1950s, eventually settling in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After working on a farm for several years Toblan was hired by Chipman Chemical, a legacy company of Bayer.
In 2001, Toblan succeeded Dr. Bill Jackson as executive director of Pi Chi Omega, and he helped transform the national fraternity for pest management professionals, said Dr. Eric Smith, longtime Pi Chi Omega member and former president. Smith said that Toblan helped grow Pi Chi Omega membership, was instrumental in growing the fraternity's annual Scholarship Fund from $50,000 to in excess of $150,000 and he also did well investing the fraternity’s funds.
“Vern knew everybody from his days as technical sales person, giving talks all over country,” Smith said. “He had a great personality, was very friendly and never met anyone he didn’t really like."
Pi Chi Omega's Gerry Wegner, agreed, noting that Toblan was an excellent ambassador for Pi Chi Omega. “He was conscientious and devoted to the success of the fraternity, both professionally and fiscally. I am grateful for his mentorship and friendship during my years serving as an officer and committee chair with the fraternity. Vern will be greatly missed.”
Added Pi Chi Omega member Kim Kelley-Tunis, Rollins’ technical services director, “Vern played an integral role as the executive director of Pi Chi Omega and was an instrumental leader within the pest management industry. His absence will be felt by all those whose lives he touched.”
In addition to daughter Brenna, Vern is survived by son Blair and two grandsons (Ethan and Logan). Brenna also posted on Facebook that Vern, “did not want a funeral, or any flowers, so we'll decide on a small event and will let you know. Donations in his name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society would be welcome.”
***story was updated on 8/25/2014, at 3 p.m.***