Howard E. Tonn, 84

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Howard Edward Tonn, who spent a long and distinguished career in the railway supply industry, has died. Son Matthew Tonn, Chief Commercial Officer at FreightCar America, wrote this tribute to his father:

Howard Tonn passed away peacefully on August 2, 2022, at his beloved Southern home in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. Howard was married to the late Marilyn (McCormack) and is survived by his wife Arlene (Gagliano), daughter Christine (David Ganjani), sons Andrew and Matthew (Jennifer) along with grandchildren Adam (Kristen), Katie (Dominic), Devan, Jacob, Hannah and great-grandson Henry.

Howard led an active career in the rail industry for more than 40 years, getting his start in the field maintenance department with the railcar builder American Car & Foundry in 1967. In 1977, Howard moved his family to Chicago, where he joined TTX Company as Manager of Quality Assurance. In 1983, Howard and his business partners started a parts supply business, Co-ordinated Railway Services, in the Chicago region. The company grew to include a freight car repair facility, Kustom Karr Corporation, in Northern Florida in 1985. Howard often reflected that this was the most fulfilling aspect of his career.

In 1996, Howard became President of the Railway Supply Association, a position he held until his retirement in 2008 from the Railway Supply Institute, the organization created by the merger of the RSA and Railway Progress Institute in 2003. 

Howard was a very loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. He held a great passion for the greatness of America and honored and respected all those who protect the nation. An avid reader and student of history, he began writing short stories and poetry at the age of 16. His interest in writing continued into his later years, culminating with the publishing of Witness Groove in 2017, a book of poetry and short stories of his life. 

A memorial service will be held in St. Louis on October 22, 2022. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the following charities in his honor:

St. Jude’s –

Wounded Warriors Foundation –