Written by Cynthia Toomer and Dr. Dale Toomer Holiday
Nathaniel Toomer was born on June 3, 1926 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Henry and Bertha Toomer. In that same year, the family moved to Berlin, N.J. He was affectionately called "Bees" by everyone.
His education began in the two-room segregated East Berlin Community School. He attended high school at Lower Camden County Regional High School District #1 in Lindenwold, N.J. He was an extremely gifted athlete and participated in track, baseball and football. He was an outstanding running back and received much recognition for his skill on the field. This love for sports continued and as a young man Bees played baseball on the community team.
During World War II, Bees served in the US Army overseas. He was honorably discharged and returned to his hometown of Berlin, where he married his sweetheart, Dorothy Evelyn Hudson on October 15, 1945. From this union two daughters were born; Cynthia Yvonne, and Dale Viola.
Bees was quiet-natured and worked hard to provide for his family. He worked for the Camden City Highway Department for many years. Later, he was self-employed as a handyman who was quite adept at plumbing, heating & electrical work. He was well-known for his work and was frequently called to render his services in the neighboring communities.
His wife, Dorothy, was a homemaker, who taught her children to read at an early age. She would bake apple and sweet potato pies for the family. Bees liked sweet potatoes and ate one just about every day of his life. He also maintained a green thumb as he toyed around in his garden in which he grew string beans, lettuce, carrots, collards, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and watermelons.
His daughter, Cynthia has a BA from Brandeis University and a MS from Simmons College. She is employed as the Director of Development Information Systems at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. She acknowledges that her comfort with technology comes from having watched her dad use tools.
Daughter, Dr. Dale Toomer Holiday, lives in Olympia, WA. She is an educator, author and professional speaker. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from the University of Washington, and Masters in Community Development from the University of Rhode Island and a BA in Psychology and Sociology from Wesleyan University in CT. One of her essays about personal travel in remote areas of the Western U.S. has been published in ‘Go Girl! The Black Women’s Book of Travel and Adventure’, the first anthology of travel experiences of African- American women.