CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — An entire community is mourning the loss of a well-loved business owner in Champaign Tobin “Toby” Lee Herges died last week after a long battle with cancer. Today, his bar was crowded with people who came to honor his life.
Family and friends had great things to say about the man who was always there for others.
“He never once put himself before others, even if he didn’t know the person he never once put himself before others and I truly can only hope to be half of that,” Tobin Herges, Toby’s son, said.
Dozens of people gathered at the Tumble Inn Tavern in Champaign, to honor the life of the man behind the bar, Toby Lee Herges.
“He’s impacted us four kids a lot, especially my mom, but especially after today seeing all these people and hearing all these stories its very, very evident that he impacted a lot of people significantly in a lot of different ways,” Tobin Herges said.
Decades ago, Toby Herges was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was given just a few months to live. His wife at the time, was pregnant with their first son.
“I’ve been incredibly blessed to have known him and have had him on my corner for these past 21 years, when I was never supposed to know him at all,” Tobin Herges said. “That’s why I don’t feel robbed of anything.”
“Its a baseball analogy,” Tom Paul, Toby’s employee and lifelong friend, said. “He gave it a tough at bat. He grinded it out. He fouled off bad pitches and he stayed up there. He didn’t want to make the last out, and then finally obviously it was just too much.”
Herges was a beloved member of the community. His son says he would anonymously deliver groceries to people, who he overheard saying they were struggling to make ends meet.
“I really do think that speaks volumes and I can only ever hope to be as good as a man that he was and mean as much as he has,” Tobin Herges said.
“Toby was all about the customers,” Paul said. “He wanted them to be happy.”
His son says he aspires to be the man his dad was.
“He left some damn big shoes to fill and I try my best and I’m trying my best and God knows I miss him nor was I ready to stop learning from him, but I’m going to do what I can to take care of things and take care of my mom,” Tobin Herges said.
Herges ran Tumble Inn for around 30 years. His family plans to continue running it in his memory.
“I always promised that my first son would be a Tobin Lee exactly like he was and yeah Tobin Lee Herges… He was a great man,” Tobin Herges said about his dad.