John Eugene O’Toole

John Eugene O’Toole

August 23, 1928 - April 09, 2021

John Eugene O’Toole

August 23, 1928 - April 09, 2021


John Eugene O’Toole

John Eugene O’Toole was born at home in 1928 in Louisburgh, County Mayo, Ireland, to Austin and Bridget O’Toole. He was the eldest of 7 children. Eugene received his primary education at the boys’ school in Louisburgh and secondary education at St. Jarlath’s boarding school in Tuam, where he was sent at the age of 12. Gene would recount many stories from his time there, which he described as spartan and challenging, particularly under the conditions of World War II.

Upon completion of his years at St. Jarlath’s, he made a commitment to study for the priesthood in the diocese of Los Angeles, California. He began his studies in Dublin at All Hallows Seminary and then transferred to St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California. After five years of study, he was ordained to the priesthood on September 22, 1951. He was assigned to many parishes and began his high school teaching career at St. Monica’s, the diocesan minor seminary, and Pius X High School. During this time, he completed Masters degrees in Classical studies and Education. In 1969, Gene made the decision to leave the active ministry and became an educator at Tustin High School, where he worked as teacher, counselor, and assistant principal until 1992. An avid reader, learner, and gifted teacher with a keen intellect, he maintained friendships with former students throughout his life.

Gene married his wife, Joan, in 1970. God blessed them with 50 years of marriage.

For the rest of his life, his deep faith and sense of vocation found expression in his work at St. John Neumann Parish in Irvine, California, to which he belonged since its inception in 1978. Gene founded and directed the Religious Education program, many Bible study groups, and the RCIA program there, bringing many more parishioners into the fold. He found tremendous value and satisfaction in teaching and dialogue around faith, including outreach through a number of local ecumenical and interfaith programs, notably co-founding a book study group with St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine.

Gene passed away in April after a lengthy battle with cancer. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son (John), daughter (Elizabeth), 2 granddaughters (Charlotte and Fiona), three siblings (Colm, Kathleen and William), and many nieces and nephews.

Vigil Service

  • Date & Time: May 7, 2021 (7:00 PM)
  • Venue: St. John Neumann Catholic Church
  • Location: 5101 Alton Parkway Irvine, CA 92604 - (Get Directions)

Memorial Service

  • Date & Time: May 8, 2021 (10:00 AM)
  • Venue: St. John Neumann Catholic Church
  • Location: 5101 Alton Parkway Irvine, CA 92604 - (Get Directions)

Graveside Service

  • Date & Time: May 8, 2021 (11:30 AM)
  • Venue: Holy Sepulcher Catholic Cemetery
  • Location: 7845 Santiago Canyon Orange, CA 92869 - (Get Directions)
  • Phone Number: (714) 532-6551

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36 responses to John Eugene O’Toole

  1. Gene and I became great friends as colleagues at Tustin High in the late 80s and 90s as we collaborated on a program for disadvantaged youth. I also was his secretary for the RCIA program at St. John Neuman. We remained close friends throughout the years andI will miss him greatly. He was one of many essential people in my life.

  2. Diane Celli says:

    Mr. O’Toole was my counselor in high school back in the mid 70s. He was so kind and he genuinely cared about the students. I was sad to hear of his passing. Condolences to his family and friends.

  3. Larry Davis says:

    Mr. O’Toole was my counselor at Tustin High School from 1973 through 1977. He was more than just a counselor; he was a mentor and friend as well. I am very lucky to have known him. May the Lord bless you Mr. O’Toole.

  4. Patricia (Pat) Crowley says:

    12/05/22 John Eugene O’Toole was my Latin teacher at Pius X High School. He was a wonderful teacher, bringing much poetry and Roman culture to us, not very sophisticated Cal beachy kids. Now that I am grown and have visited many places including Ireland and Italy, and tried to recall my Latin to read the inscriptions, I remember him in even more detail. I always had/have problems with my speech and he would give me speech exercises to try to clarify my pronunciation. It was a great time to be a student: Luckily, almost all my teachers at Pius X had or were working on their grad studies. We were expected to serve and teach others and I have tried to live up to that expectation, working in environmental science and politics and using the arts to teach. I am very grateful to Fr. O’Toole for his wit, intelligence and commitment to teaching. I am sure his family also knows what a treasure he was. I was sad today to find that he was gone, but I am sure he had a long, productive and fulfilled life which most definitely affected me and my family.
    Patricia Crowley, class of ’71, Richland, Michigan

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