The city of White Hall lost a vital and devoted citizen on Feb. 25 when Ned Tomboli died on the day after his 73rd birthday.
Tomboli served his community served his community in a variety of ways for more than 30 years. At various times, he was a volunteer firefighter, chief of the fire department, assistant fire chief and emergency medical technician at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, auxiliary police officer, president of the softball league, softball coach and member of the parks commission.
White Hall Mayor Noel Foster was a boy when he first met Tomboli. Foster would admire Tomboli as he drove around town in the fire truck taking care of thing and helping people.
“I just knew he was an important person.” Foster said. “He was a true public servant.”
Foster said Tomboli was one of the founding members of the community’s fire department-long before White Hall was a city. Tomboli was also known for his part in establishing the city’s first park.
“When we were just a spot in the road, he worked alongside others who cleared land by hand, “Foster said. “That’s just the kind of man he was; he would help anybody do anything. He was a remarkable man.”
Foster attributes his position as mayor in part to Tomboli.
“He raised a lot of young men to be leaders in this community, not just me,” Foster said. “There are just not a lot of people like him who have given years and years of faithful service. The city mourns a great loss.”
White Hall Fire Chief Sandy Castleberry said the thing that impacted him most about Tomboli was his “indescribable” work ethic.
“He was easy-going and laid-back, but very hardworking and knowledgeable,” Castleberry said. “I wish I knew half of what he had forgotten about firefighting.”
In honor of his lifelong commitment to White Hall, the city recently dedicated its new fire station to Tomboli.
Tomboli and his wife, Eddye recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. The couple have three daughters, Pattie Richmond, Sherri Keikirk and Kelli Preckham; and a son, Joey Tomboli, all of White Hall.
After retirement, Tomboli started a plumbing business working alongside his son, Joey.
“He dragged me in as soon as I was able to walk,” Joey Tomboli said. “It was hard sometimes, but our time together was special.”
Joey Tomboli said he also enjoyed hunting with his father.
“He was always patient, loving, level-headed and respectful in every situation,” he said. “And dependable… he was always there before you needed him.”
Funeral services for Tomboli were held Saturday at White Hall United Methodist Church.