Glenn Tolle

Glenn Tolle


November 19, 1961 - February 20, 2024


Glenn Tolle, 62, of Emery, SD, died Tuesday, February 20, 2024, at the VA Medical Center in Sioux Falls due to complications arising from stage four pancreatic cancer only a month after the original diagnosis. Funeral services will be at 10:30 AM Monday, February 26, at Bittner Funeral Chapel in Mitchell. Burial will be at Bridgewater Cemetery in Bridgewater, SD. Visitation will be Sunday from 1-3:00 PM at Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Glenn Alan Tolle was born on November 19th, 1961, to Berlin and Madge (Jones) Tolle as the oldest amongst two other siblings – Gary and Kim. He met the love of his life, Nancy Shaw, at Point Pleasant, West Virgina and married her on February 19th, 1983. Together, they had three children, Sarah, Ryan, and Shelby.

Glenn had a military career with the U.S. army spanning 28 years, 4 months, and 1 day as he liked to say.  He was inducted as an officer candidate early in his career and was deployed to many high-stress environments during his tenure, including Operation Desert Storm (Armor Platoon Leader, D Co, 3-73 Armor, 82nd Airborne Division), Operation Iraqi Freedom (Task Force Olympia C9, Civil Affairs, Mosul, JAN '04-JAN'05), and Operation Enduring Freedom (Future Operations / Stability Planner, NATO International Joint Command Headquarters, Kabul, Afghanistan JUL '11-JUN '12). He was also a graduate of Naval Postgraduate School with a Master’s Degree in Defense Analysis

Glenn was never one to rest on his laurels. Upon retiring from active duty in February 2013 as a Lieutenant Colonel, he pursued a master’s in teaching out of Saint Martin’s University in Olympia, Washington, acquiring it in 2014 before launching into a career as a high school world history instructor.  He taught at Timberline High School in Lacey, Washington for two years before moving to South Dakota to be closer to his grandchildren, where he continued to teach at Lincoln (1 year) and Roosevelt (5 years) high schools in Sioux Falls, until the date of his cancer diagnosis.

His favorite hobbies included chess, word puzzles, musical instruments, reading, gaming, and gardening.  Rarely did a day transpire without him sharing one of his groan-worthy puns. 

Glenn is survived by his wife, Nancy Tolle; daughter, Sarah Koerner; son, Ryan Tolle; daughter, Shelby Tolle; granddaughters, Brynna Koerner and Amara Koerner; grandsons, Ian Koerner and Galen Koerner; sister, Kim Tolle; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Gary. 


Sunday, February 25, 2024
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Monday, February 26, 2024
10:30 AM
Bittner Funeral Chapel
805 W Havens Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


Bridgewater Cemetery
Bridgewater, SD

Posted by Kimberly (Say) Michalski on March 2, 2024
Glenn was a high school friend and I remember him as always kind and polite. His smile made a sunny campus day even brighter. Like many of our fellow students from school, we reconnected on Facebook. Being "wordies," we challenged one another in word games over the years. His vlogs were great reads and I encouraged him to work on writing book manuscripts.

My heart sunk when I learned of his illness. Glenn was always a perfect gentleman and I will miss him. His life of service was clearly impactful and he made a difference in this world.

Nancy and family, I hope it brings you some comfort knowing that many people are mourning with you. May God be with you, each one, and sustain you in the days ahead.

My sincerest condolences,

Kimberly Michalski
Posted by Deborah Amaya on February 25, 2024
So so sorry for your loss! The pain we have to face in this life is sometimes to much to bare… And sometimes to say “ Look to Jesus seems cliché …. But truly I have found Him to be a friend that sticks closer than a brother in everything I have been through in my life….So to All of Glen’s Dear family I send my prayers and Love! Hold to Gods unchanging hand!
With my deepest sympathy,
Posted by John Millard on February 23, 2024
I met Glenn when he was stationed at Ft Lewis and worked with I Coros Headquarters. My job as an Exercise Planner allowed me to work with organizations and individuals of unique character and Glenn made it a joy to come to work. Others have mentioned his puns, musical ability, and generally upbeat demeanor.

But I got to see Glenn from a whole different angle. A consummate professional, he possessed many qualities that made an Operations Center, at any level, sing. Insightful, incisive, analytical, firm, and very kind. He will be greatly missed.
Posted by Rhoda Webb on February 23, 2024
My husband Orlow performed Glenn and Nancy's wedding- I send sympathy and prayers. I lost Orlow less than a year ago; too, missing our 60th wedding anniversary by six months. May you sense the Lord near you each day- Nancy. Lean hard upon Him. He cares for you and your children
Posted by Natalie Dawes on February 23, 2024
I had the pleasure of having him my sophomore year of high school. He is one of the reasons I love history so much. He always made class so fun and exciting. Telling us stories about being in the military and talking so fondly about his wife and kids. He was one of my absolute favorite teachers, I am reminded.of him often when I see things we learned about in his class. Seeing him in the hallway playing many random musical instruments as I walked into his class room always brightened my day.

Fly high Mr. Tolle ❤️
Posted by Michael J. Stauffer on February 23, 2024
Glenn was an officer, a gentlemen, a scholar and a fine musician. It was an honor to be his colleague and fellow band member.
Posted by Phil Geiger SFC US Army (Ret) on February 23, 2024
RIP Sir, from all of us in the G-9 shop at Camp Red Cloud, 2nd Infantry Division. You will be missed!
Posted by Phil Geiger SFC US Army (Ret) on February 23, 2024
RIP Sir, from all of us in the G-9 shop at Camp Red Cloud, 2nd Infantry Division. You will be missed!
Posted by Amy Shaffer on February 23, 2024
I had the pleasure of working across the hall from Glenn at Timberline High School. It was always a wonderful morning when he came out and played one of his many musical instruments in the hallway. The students loved it and it will always be a happy memory for me.
Posted by Vickie Harrold on February 23, 2024
As kids we spent so much time playing and watching cartoons in the livingroom of Aunt Madges house on Hogeye Rd. So many memories have flooded in. He rose above so much and excelled in his endeavors. He came to our grandma's funeral and spoke so eloquently about the importance of family. He was always spot on when he spoke. I haven't seen Glenn in a very long time but we kept up on Facebook. He loved his family, his farm, teaching and life in general. This is a hard loss for his family there, Kim and his family here in Ohio. Rest easy Glenn you are so loved
Posted by Pete Moore on February 22, 2024
I knew Glenn from the Army. Glenn was a good man, a husband, a father, a friend, and a patriot. Glenn was a man who did what he said. He was always polite, calm, and considerate even during times of great stress. I pray for God’s peace and comfort for Glenn’s family and for all that love. Glenn you served others during your entire adult life. I am proud to call you friend. Thank you!
Posted by John Armstrong on February 22, 2024
Working with Glenn or as I used to call him GT was a pure joy. He always was a very pleasant and inspiring person to be around and made everything a little bit better. I last saw him in September of 2023, he allowed my wife and I to visit him in the classroom. I could tell he was in his element and I only wish I could have been in his class. GT will be sorely missed and I miss him already. I have been praying for him for a month and I will continue to pray for his wife Nancy and family. God bless you all.
Posted by Tim and Nova Ferguson on February 22, 2024
Oh my dear Nancy, we were so sorry to hear of Glenn’s passing. We pray that the Lord will keep His loving arms around you and draw you close to His heart. You have our deepest sympathy! We love you! Tim and Nova Ferguson 🤗
Posted by Lynda G on February 22, 2024
Dear Glenn, you are missed in so many ways. I can only laugh at your approach to any situation, You provided much needed humor and kept the room going. You so found your niche in teaching Social Science in High School, I watched your post on FB and wished that you would have been mine as I would have figured out my life much dinner. And Ernie we can debate who was in the 96th first…that said. To Glenn’s family, I am sorry for your loss, hole and pain. I have lost my parents, much older, in last two years. My Great Aunt, who was a Rosie the Riviter in WWII who had stage 4 at 89 Pancreatic cancer. My thoughts are with you all. Regards, Lynda and Chris Granfield
Posted by Ann Brewbaker on February 22, 2024
Our family first became acquainted with Glenn & Nancy in the 80's through church in Delaware, Ohio. They became a part of our family summer get together & enjoyed their friendship. It was a joy worshipping with them as well. After Glenn joined the military he & my husband played chess by mail. (Before the days of computers) They enjoyed it. May God be near & dear to his dear family. My prayers are continuing for you. Much love to you all!
Posted by Ernie S. on February 22, 2024
RIP, Glenn. From your brothers in the original 96th CA Bn.
Posted by Joe Phillips on February 22, 2024
Life is short and filled with stuff. Some of it really sucks.
My dear friend and big brother-in-arms crossed the great divide way ahead of schedule and it makes me mad, but there’s no one to be mad at. It also makes me deeply sad. Sad because I’ll miss him, but more sad for his family; sad for his students; sad for the future students who won’t get to know and be influenced by Mr. Tolle; sad for this country he loved with all his heart and soul.

I first met Glenn Tolle in the fall of 1980 at a dinky private religious school in West Virginia. We chatted for a while that first day of school and Glenn at some point asked me about my academic ambitions. It was the first time I had ever really considered that I could actually do well in school if I cared. I decided I did care and, thanks to Glenn’s inspiration, went from a C average student, prior to that day, to a total academic geek; 4.0 through the last two years of high school, bachelor’s, master’s, military schools, etc. Glenn lit that fire in my bosom. I’ve always been grateful.

Glenn excelled at everything he put his heart, body, or mind to. He enlisted before I did and became a paratrooper in the storied 82nd Airborne Division. I enlisted a couple years later and became “a dirty leg” in the 10th Mountain Division. He never held it against me. 😉 He went on to become the 82nd Airborne Division’s Trooper of the Year in 1987, completed Army Ranger School shortly thereafter and then went to Officer Candidate School, commissioning as an armor officer. One of his early promotions as an officer was in Saddam Hussein’s former palace, if memory serves, while on a combat mission during Desert Storm/Desert Shield.

Anyway, we both stayed in and retired years later. We never actually served in the same location more than a month or so, but crossed paths and periodically kept in touch.

I retired and took up teaching Russian at a military institute, a couple years before he hung up the suit. He told me then that he planned to teach also when he retired. He did just that a few years later and spent the last decade shaping young minds in high schools. By all accounts, he was a beloved teacher and mentor.

So, my big brother in arms and fond friend of many years, it is with a heavy heart that I stand on this side of the gulf over which you’ve passed and render the sharpest salute I can muster.

RIP LTC (Retired) Glenn Tolle,
-Chess Master
-Black Belt
-Banjo and guitar picking warrior
-Thinker and scholar
Posted by Sherry Ison Filson on February 21, 2024
Lost touch many years ago but always remembered Glenn being o e of those special people in your life. God Bless you for your service and to the many lives you mentored. Prayers for co.fort to your family.
Posted by Norene Redmond on February 21, 2024
There are just no words to express our sympathy! May God surround you with his love in the coming dsys!
Posted by SANDRA (BODKINS) HANCOCK on February 21, 2024
Glenn, we already miss you. You were a true warrior, leader, and a hero to so many. May you rest in peace.
Posted by Jonathan Bissell on February 21, 2024
He was an officer and a gentleman who carved a self-made path for the rest of us who started our own similar paths - as nobodies from nowhere - to follow. Coming from a stringent and unforgiving background, he showed all of us who were taught (as was he) over and over again that nothing we ever did was ever good enough to merit approval; that indeed our efforts were good enough.

From my generation’s perspective - a decade behind his - he was a shining example of what we all could be, if only we shrugged off our self pity, lack of confidence, and simply tried our best.

Less than a month ago LTC (R) Glenn “GT” Tolle learned he had cancer. He passed away today. He was a giant of a man and his loss leaves all of those he positively impacted, (family, Soldiers, students, friend,and loved ones) in a painful place and somewhat bewildered state of mind at how fast the disease took him.

In a world of people who often put themselves first, Glenn was a true leader who put others first, and did so daily. A master of so many things, chess, banjo, martial arts, international affairs, my own “Wordle Golf,” and social studies, I am sure his current students are simply crushed.

God bless you, Airborne. Your loss hurts so many of us who admired you so deeply. There was no finer person, than you, Glenn. I thank Providence for your exemplary standard, and for my chance crossing of paths with you when I was so young and being lucky enough to sustain those ties.

Thank you, Sir.

🪂 ❤️🥲🇺🇸
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