Past District Governor Robert Tomko, a member of the Rotary Club of Vista since 1954, passed away on March 26, 2019. PDG Bob served as Rotary District Governor in 1968. He and his wife Bea were instrumental in raising awareness and gathering donations for the eradication of Polio around the globe. He was one of 30 Rotarians to visit New Guinea in 1971, where he had served during World War II as a combat radio operator with the U.S. Army. He did so to deliver needed aid in person. While there, he ran into another Rotary member who was a member of the same military unit he served in 1943. He described the experience as a life defining moment.
In the November 1975 issue of The Rotarian Magazine, Bob shared his experience of traveling to New Guinea, not as a soldier, but as a Rotarian and ambassador for world community service. He arrived on the island with a financial contribution from District 5340 to help equip the St. Theresa Maternity Hospital. The hospital served as a crucial center for medical assistance and training for the island’s residents.
Bob and Bea, arrived in Vista in 1953. It was there they opened Tomko’s Vista Video television sales and repair. The following year, Bob joined the Rotary Club of Vista, where he was a true force of nature. Bob went on to serve many leadership roles within the club, as well as District 5340 that encompassed much of Southern California at that time.
In 1977, Bob and Bea built a second home near Bishop, California, and it was there that they founded the Rotary Club of Mammoth Lakes in 1981. Over the following decades, they continued to split their time between Bishop and Oceanside. Before Bea’s passing in 2016, the two of them spent 70 years together, traveling the world both for pleasure and with Rotary International.
In 2017, PDG Bob was recognized by Rotary International and by the leadership of District 5340 to thank him for "your amazing service to our organization, and to humanity as a whole. We are truly grateful for all that you do.”
Larry Sundram, a fellow member and PDG said, “I am crushed and saddened by news of his passing. Every Rotarian and I will miss Bob for the rest of our lives. He touched us in a way that will never be forgotten.”   
“Past District Governor Tomko truly embodied the Rotary spirit,” said Mel Gallegos, current District Governorl. “His commitment to building peace and world understanding were second only to his commitment to living life to its fullest. He truly embodied the Rotary spirit and his commitment to building peace and world understanding were second only to his commitment to living life to its fullest. 
There will be a burial at Mira Mar National Cemetery April 18th at 12:30 with a Celebration of Life open house gathering following at 3:00 pm at the home of his grandson Jason Hammes, 987 Chumash Trail, Vista, CA 92084.  Anyone wishing to celebrate his life is welcome.