Jim Toole, a sales rep in the northeastern United States, died Aug. 20 after a brief, serious illness. He was 55.
Jim spent his entire career doing sales for electric and lighting companies, including most recently representing Holtkötter , Trend Lighting  and Weiss & Biheller  in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., area.
Tom Lillie, Holtkötter’s National Sales Manager, says Jim was well liked and respected by his customers.
“Jim was one of the most dedicated, hard-working and loyal sales representatives I’ve had the pleasure of working with through the years,” Lillie says. “Not only did Jim and I become very close through the years, but the relationships that I have made with his family have been invaluable.”
Indeed many of Jim’s longtime customers say they considered him not only a rep but also a friend. Giorgina Schnurr, a buyer for Dominion Electric Supply Co.  in Virginia and Maryland, knew Jim for over 20 years, and says he had “something special that not everyone has.”
“He was a man of incredible integrity,” Schnurr says. “We’re a pretty good family here in the lighting business and we try to stick together, but this man was above the rest. He will be incredibly missed.”
Kathy Adolph at Wilson Lighting & Interiors  in Towson, MD, describes her longtime rep as a “phenomenal person.”
“He became more than just a business acquaintance. We became good friends,” she says. “He was the type of person you could call at any time and he’d be there for you.”
Another of Jim’s customers, Ronna Cohen from Annapolis Lighting , which has locations in both Maryland and Virginia, remembers Jim as a “good soul” who always had a smile on his face.
“He was just a delightful guy,” she says. “He had a dry sense of humor and a very warm wit about him, and there was nothing he wouldn’t do to try to help you.”
Outside of work, Jim loved spending time with his family, and was incredibly proud of his two sons, Adolph says. He also enjoyed playing with his dogs and being on the water.
“He was into boating and loved to steam crabs,” she says. “He also enjoyed the outdoors, and always had a tan. He just loved being outside.”
This love of boating and the water was evident from the moment you met Jim, Schnurr says.
“He was always very elegantly dressed, like he had just come off of a boat or a yacht,” Schnurr says. “He had such finesse.”
This style become somewhat of a trademark for Jim, according to Adolph and Cohen.
“He hated to wear socks unless it was bitter cold out,” Adolph says. “He always wore loafers without socks, and he became known for that.”
“He never wore socks,” Cohen agrees. “The only time he ever wore socks was to Dallas.”
Jim is survived by his wife, Cindy, and his two sons, Jamie and Sean. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society . Sympathy cards should be addressed to Cindy Toole, 155 Potomac Passage #716, National Harbor, MD 20745.