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Edie Loeb Tomasko dies, leaves UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center legacy

Staff Report
April 23. 2014 11:17PM
Edie Loeb Tomasko 

Edith 'Edie' Tomasko, daughter of the Loebs

HOPKINTON — Edith (Edie) Tomasko (nee Loeb) of Hopkinton, New Hampshire and Wilsall, Montana, passed away on April 21, 2014 at the age of 57 as a result of complications from an illness she had battled bravely for nearly five years.

She is preceded in death by the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Tomasko, who passed away on October 21, 2012 at the age of 70. Her mother, Nackey S. Loeb and her father, William Loeb, preceded her in death.

In 1992, Edie founded UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown, NH with two riders and a borrowed horse. Today, the center helps to improve the development of challenged children and adults using progressive therapies centered around horses. Edie was an avid rider and enjoyed sharing her passion for riding with others.

She married Bob Tomasko on April 22, 1993 and embarked on a westward journey along with their dogs, Tequila, Bart, Pumita and Fanny, settling down on a ranch in Wilsall, Montana. Edie loved life in Montana and spent time writing about the land and her travels, painting and photographing the Montana wildlife and embracing all that the small town of Wilsall had to offer.

Edie was a free spirit whose passion for life was contagious, which brought her many friends from all walks of life. She enjoyed traveling and exploring new destinations with Bob and her beloved pets, wherever the road would take them. Edie loved her many cousins, nieces and nephews, but most of all, the love she had for her sister, children and grandchildren was endless. A loving wife and mother, grandmother, step-mother and step-grandmother, Edie was devoted to her family and friends and inspired them with her courage, boundless energy and giving heart.

She is survived by her children, Careen DuBuc Cardin (Bill) of Hopkinton, NH and Cody DuBuc (Molly) of Boston, MA, her sister, Nackey Scagliotti (Bob) of Glenbrook, NV, her nephew, Michael Scagliotti (Miya) of San Francisco, CA, granddaughter, Bristol Cardin and great-nephew, Jasper Scagliotti. Also survived by her step-children, Karen Shockey (David) of Wilsall, MT, Robert Tomasko, Jr. (Lisa) and Allen Tomasko (Nancy), both of Marlow, NH, Patrice Pierce (Pete) of Rising Sun, MD and Kevin Tomasko (Rob) of Hopkinton, NH, as well as her step-grandchildren, Ashley Mugnier, Mike Mugnier, Conner Mugnier, Jake Shockey, Raeann Shockey, Ty Tomasko, Veronica Tomasko, Tauni Tomasko, Henry Tomasko, Jessica Davis, Lisa Davis and step-great-grandchildren, Malachi, Kayla and Tristin.

She is also survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as Nellie Allen of San Diego, CA, a dear and longtime friend, and many countless friends and adoring pets.

Sympathy may be expressed through memorial contributions to the Scripps Howard Foundation, PO Box 5380, Cincinnati, OH 4520 or the Wilsall Foundation, PO Box 333, Wilsall, MT 59086.

Arrangements are currently pending.

UpReach Therapeutic Riding Center in Goffstown is a living legacy for Edie Loeb Tomasko, who died Monday at the age of 57.

Founded in 1992 with two volunteers and a borrowed horse, the center has grown "to serve 75-80 students in varied programming, with 14 equine partners, four full-time and four part-time staff, and over 120 active volunteers," according to the UpReach website.

Executive Director Karen Kersting said Tomasko's mother, Nackey S. Loeb, had suffered partial paralysis in an auto accident. Tomasko thought perhaps riding would be beneficial. Although her mother didn't take advantage, Kersting said Tomasko kept exploring riding "as a way to health, both physically and mentally."

Tomasko's idea has made a world of difference for many people in the area, including Clecia Terrio's daughter, Jordana, 18, who has been riding at UpReach center for eight years.

At first, Terrio said: "It was instead of therapy, to give strength to her leg." Jordana had a loose patella, said Terrio. Then Jordana got leukemia. After two months in the hospital, said Terrio, her daughter was in a wheelchair: "She couldn't lift her arm."

But after returning to UpReach, Terrio said, "It was amazing how fast she was walking."

It's mental as well as physical, Terrio said. "It's amazing what they do."

Bill Boynton, public information officer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, said his daughter, Lauren, participated in the program in the early years, in the mid-1990s. "I was impressed with how committed (Edie) was," said Boynton, who also served on the board of UpReach for a time.

Boynton said his daughter has cerebral palsy ataxia, which affected her balance and necessitated using crutches, so riding was beneficial.

"You're forced to use your legs," he said, and it made a big difference for his daughter. She couldn't participate in typical child sports, but she could ride. "There's also the personal benefit," he said. "This was something she could do."

Back then, said Boynton, the benefits of riding and caring for horses were mostly anecdotal. Now, they are recognized and the UpReach center is the only one in the area that's not an adjunct program.

Kersting, who has been at UpReach for about 16 years, said: "We are one of the few therapeutic riding programs that aren't part of something else."

In recent years, said Kersting, she'd had little direct contact with Tomasko. After her move to Montana, it was mostly email contact and letters, Kersting said.

After the death of her mother, Tomasko facilitated the transfer of the entire 96-acre property, including her mother's house, to the center in 2002.

Tomasko, with her sister, Nackey Scagliotti, also followed through on their mother's dream of establishing the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications.

David Tirrell-Wysocki, the executive director of the school, said Tomasko and her sister helped guide the school during its formative years. As a result, he said: "Students of all ages have learned about the First Amendment and communications.

"That's a wonderful part of Edie's legacy," he said.

Union Leader Publisher Joseph McQuaid said Edie and her sister were instrumental in seeing their mother's wishes were carried out in leaving her newspaper stock to the school. "It is why the Union Leader remains an independent newspaper to this day," McQuaid said.

"The Union Leader family and my own family are saddened by Edie's death. She was a beautiful, caring woman who contributed a great deal to making the world a better place," McQuaid said.

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