Gilmer Totten passed away peacefully on October 29, 2017, in West Hartford, Conn. He was 93.
Born in Cincinnati on January 24, 1924, he graduated from St. Xavier High School and attended Ohio State University before and after World War II. He served as a cryptographer in North Africa during the war.
His self-described best decision in life was marrying Laura Jeanne Heekin on June 18, 1947. The couple would go on to have 12 children, all of whom were educated in Rye.
Gil and Jeanne moved to Rye in 1962. He worked in advertising in New York City, and in the 1970s co-founded Park Row Publishers, which published medical journals.
Nothing could stop him from being home with his wife and children, and it was a rare day when the family did not eat dinner promptly at 6:15 p.m. at their home at One Grace Church Street.
A proud liberal Democrat, Mr. Totten helped raise money for Martin Luther King Jr. during the march on Selma in 1965, marched against the Vietnam War, and penned many letters to Presidents Johnson and Nixon inviting them to resign. On a local level, he served as treasurer of John Carey’s successful campaign for Mayor of Rye in 1974.
An accomplished poker player and athlete, he led his softball team, Nick’s Uncs, to victory, took home trophies from tennis tournaments, and in one feat captured in the local newspaper of the time, bowled 100 pins over his average.
In the 1970s, he was a fixture at Rye High School sporting events, where his sons played soccer, basketball, and baseball.
Mr. Totten retired in 1981 and lived in Belle Haven, Va., Burlington, Vt., and, for the last 25 years of his life, in Middletown, Conn.
In addition to his wife Jeanne, he is survived by his children: Laurie of West Hartford, Conn., Lucy of Essex, N.Y. and Miami, Fla., Margaret of Arlington, Va., Willie of Rye; Grant of Napa, Calif., Priscilla of Alexandria, Va., Dennis of West Hartford, Angela of Gaithersburg, Md., Toby of South Windsor, Conn., Ranald of Wilmington, N.C.; and Hope of Richmond, Va. His eldest son, Glenn, predeceased him in 2006.
Mr. Totten is also survived by his sister, Charlotte Heinrich of Cincinnati; 12 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
Plans for a memorial service are pending. Those wishing to honor Gil Totten’s memory with a donation may consider one of his favorite charities: Southern Poverty Law Center (www.splcenter.org); American Civil Liberties Union (www.aclu.org); or the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (www.bradycampaign.org).