Fr. Toste, Founder PVMHS Drama Program, Dies at 85

Fr. Frank Toste, a long-time Peabody teacher and founder of the high school’s drama department in 1970, died July 6, following a brief illness. He was 85.

Rev. Frank Toste, C.S.C., 85, died at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford on Wednesday, July 6, following a brief illness.

Father Toste was a former teacher at , instructing students in all aspects of theater, film and television. He was the founder and head of the Drama/Communication Arts Department when he arrived in Peabody in 1970. That same year he also founded the student-led club Stage One, which he directed until his departure from Peabody in 1990.

Fr. Toste was born on March 20, 1926 in Providence, R.I., the son of Anthony and Mary (Pental) Toste. He entered the U.S. Navy in March of 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1946 after service in the U.S., Europe and Africa. He received a B.A. from Stonehill College in Easton.

Father Toste entered the Congregation of Holy Cross and made his first and final vows on Sept. 12, 1954 and Aug. 16, 1958, respectively. He was ordained a priest on April 30, 1960. He received an M.A. in Theology from Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C. in 1960 and an M.A. in Literature from Harvard University in Cambridge in 1991. 

Father Toste taught at Notre Dame High School in Bridgeport, Conn. and was camp director at Camp Sebaik in Maine. He taught at St. Peter’s High School in Gloucester where he became assistant principal in 1969 and then taught in Peabody, starting in 1970. While pursuing doctoral studies at the Union Institute of Cincinnati, he assisted at St. Anthony’s Parish in Sanbornville, N.H. In 2008, he retired to Cocoa Beach, Fla. until his return up north to the North Dartmouth community in 2010.

Always an avid stage and screen participant, Father Toste received certificates in Cinema from the School of Cinema/Television at the University of Southern California and the Feagin School of Drama and Radio in New York City. He was most proud of his affiliation with the film, ”Love Story,” in which he had a speaking role and met the co-stars of the film, Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw. Fr. Toste was also an Equity Actor and a technical advisor for the long-standing television series MASH and appeared in “Oliver’s Story,” and was on stage at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly. He was a long-term member of the Screen Actors Guild. 

Fr. Toste was proceeded in death by his parents, Anthony and Mary (Pental) Toste. He is survived by his sister, Dorothy Llamas and several nieces and nephews.

Viewing for Fr. Toste will be held in the Chapel of Mary, on the campus of Stonehill College in Easton, Sunday, July 10, beginning at 7 p.m, with a vigil service at 7:45 p.m. The funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday, July 11 at 10 a.m. in the Chapel of Mary on the campus of Stonehill College. Fr. David Tyson, C.S.C. will preside.

[Obituary courtesy of Kane Funeral Home & Creation Services.]


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