HOPKINTON – You could say Tommy Toomey stood out when he took his pets for a walk down Main Street.
According to his sister Stephanie Toomey-Johnson, Toomey, a “big, stout biker with a lot of tattoos”, often took a few dogs for a walk with his young bull, “Howie the Cowie”.
“I would call him a city farmer,” she told the Daily News on Saturday. “He had this baby bull and he would walk it along with a German Shepherd and another dog on Main Street. If there was a way to rise, he would do it.”
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Toomey, 39, died on August 12 after a motorcycle accident on Salem End Road in Framingham. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
After his family – especially his daughters Caitlyn, Tommi, Peyton and Riley – Toomey’s love of animals was a defining characteristic.
Along with Howie the Cowie, he owned several chickens, goats, several dogs and cats, all of whom lived in Hopkinton with his girlfriend, Laura Johnson. He was also especially fond of his turkey, “Peep Peep,” Toomey-Johnson said.
“Peep Peep was even at his funeral,” his sister said. “He loved that damn turkey.”
Toomey-Johnson said all the animals have found homes – Peep Peep and the chickens went to Garner Girls Sawmill in Upton, while Howie the Cowie went to Norman’s Place Farm & Rescue in New Hampshire. Other animals went to different friends.
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Toomey grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, before moving to Massachusetts about four years ago. He enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17. After leaving the Marines, he later enlisted in the military. He was a war veteran and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Johnson-Toomey said.
Toomey had several tattoos, including one with the popular military phrase “Until Valhalla”. Veteran issues were important to him, according to his sister.
“He was a patriot through and through,” said Toomey-Johnson.
Toomey also had a passion for art. He would paint, sketch, and also create costumes, including a popular Grinch costume that he would wear when appearing at events for free for children’s photos.
“Tommy was a kid identified as a gifted artist from a very young age,” Toomey-Johnson said. “He was very talented in any art form. His costumes were Hollywood quality. One of the last texts I got from him was that he was thinking about pursuing it professionally.”
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Toomey was also an avid motorcyclist, customizing his bike with hand-stitched leather. He made the stand himself, Toomey-Johnson said.
While he may look intimidating to some, people soon realized what kind of person Toomey really was, his sister said.
“He was a big, sturdy biker with a lot of tattoos, but it would only take 10 seconds to be around him. He was a big teddy bear and you felt safe with him,” she said.
“Tommy had what I considered to be a gift that made everyone he interacted with feel like the most important person in their life, whether they knew you for 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years,” Toomey-Johnson continued. “He was big in stature, he was big in personality and most importantly he was big in love.
“And if you had fur, feathers, or scales, he loved you even more.”
A GoFundMe has been set up to raise money for Toomey’s children. By 10 p.m. Sunday, $8,650 of the $10,000 requested had been raised.
To donate, visit https://gofund.me/1d30c6a2.
Norman Miller can be reached at 508-626-3823 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For current public safety news, follow Norman Miller on Twitter @Norman_MillerMW or on Facebook at facebook.com/NormanMillerCrime.