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Edward “Ted” Billington Toth

Edward “Ted” Billington Toth, 46, of Nokesville died Sunday, August 9, 2009 when his experimental single-engine Maxair Drifter float plane crashed moments after takeoff from the surface of Lake Anna, near Bumpass.

After four years in the Navy working as a helicopter mechanic, he made his living by following his passion, which was flying. His stepfather, Ed Starbird, gave him his first Pilot Log Book and bought the lessons necessary for him to obtain a private pilot license for his 14th birthday. He had announced his desire to be a pilot at age 9.

He started out as a flight instructor in small planes in the late 1980s. In 1990 he flew for the private charter service, Million Air in Richmond. Later he was a corporate pilot for Robins Pharmaceutical Company in Richmond, flying a Pilatus jet. He piloted a Lear jet for Renfro Corporation in North Carolina after that. And when he died, he had been employed for many years by Danaher Corporation, whose flight department is at Dulles International Airport. He attained the rank of Captain two years ago flying their FJ900s.

The headline of a story about this tragic accident that appeared August 11 in the Manassas paper, “News & Messenger,” tells the truth: “He died doing what he loved best.” The story further says that he “. . . had a sense of humor to rival a stand-up comedian. Most who knew him say he was the ‘funniest person I ever met.’ “

He loved music, comedy and people; he never met a stranger. His daughters called him “The World’s Greatest Dad.” He played guitar and harmonica and sang professionally in Manassas, Richmond and Urbanna (with Chris Stanley, whose uncles owned Rosegill). He beamed sunshine, warmth, and joy to all around him. To those who knew and loved him, his loss is devastating beyond words.

Survivors include his wife, Lisa Marie Toth; their daughters, Heather Marie Toth and Amanda Lynn Toth; his mother, Robin Starbird, and his stepfather, Austin E. (Ed) Starbird, of Urbanna; his father, William Edward Toth of Colonial Heights; his brother, Anthony Powell Toth of Warrenton and Urbanna; his sister, Anne Dorsey Toth of Saluda; and his half-brother, William Edward Toth Jr. of Colonial Heights.

A funeral service was held August 14 at Pierce Funeral Home in Manassas.

His inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery on September 11 at 10 a.m. 

posted 08.18.2009

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