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The Cadets Hall of Fame Committee has announced the following is a nominee for the 2012 Class of the Cadets Hall of Fame.

John Tokar

Nomination Letter:


John Tokar began his career with the Corps in 1962.  He was a soprano player, and ultimately earned the position of horn sergeant for the corps.  He aged out in 1971 and immediately became an assistant marching instructor for the corps, and eventually the main drill writer for the mid-70’s.  He was influential in bridging the relationship between the members of the corps and the staff/administration.  He was more than an instructor for the corps; he was, “TOKAR”.


John stayed involved with the corps, even after his tenure as instructor.  He was a tremendous Administrative and financial supporter.  An initial member of the Board of Directors, John was always there to help the Corps in any way possible.  It was not uncommon to have him volunteer to provide the food and beverages – many times at no cost to the corps or its members, for many Cadet and alumni-sponsored events.  John did a lot of things behind the scenes, not looking for any recognition.  In the words of Hugh Mahon, a former Director for the Corps, “When you asked John for help, all you had to do was to get out of his way . . .”


John was always considered to be the, “Model Cadet”.  In fact, for the 25th Anniversary Celebration of DCI in 1996, he was asked to adorn the Cadet Uniform, as the Cadet representative, in tribute to the Cadets as one of the founding members of DCI.  John marched across the field, as if he were still a Cadet.  Any alumnus who knew John would automatically recognize that it was him on the field.


John Tokar gave more than three decades of love and service to the corps, both as a marching member, staff member, administrator and supporter.  He epitomized “Cadet Class”.  I was privileged to march with him for several years, and honored to consider him my friend and Cadet Mentor.


It is with the deepest respect, and sincere appreciation for all that he did for the Corps, that I nominate John Tokar, posthumously, into the Cadet Hall of Fame.



  • Member (1962-1971)
  • Marching Instructor (1974 – 1976)
  • Cadet Board of Directors Member (1984-1988)



Submitted by Greg Cinzio

Cadet Alumnus (1967-77DM)




Letters of Support:


I would like to submit a letter in support the nomination of John Tokar to the Cadets Hall of Fame.


I grew up with Mr. Tokar’s daughter, Katie, and spent countless hours running around his house as a kid. I only vaguely knew what the Cadets were at that time, and certainly wondered why there was a big trailer that had the corps’ name on it in his yard. As I grew up and learned who the Cadets were, I constantly bugged Mr. Tokar to tell me stories about the corps. That was when I started to see just how actively involved he was.


Mr. Tokar played soprano with the Cadets in the 60’s. After he aged-out as the horn sergeant in 1971, he joined the marching staff and taught the corps through the mid 70’s. He was dedicated to supporting the corps even when he was not on the field, often generously donating food or drinks from his store. He remained very passionate about the corps and its members and continued his financial support when he joined the Board of Directors in 1984. He was always eager to help out in absolutely any way possible.


In over three decades, Mr. Tokar went above and beyond to assist the corps. Since his work was mostly behind the scenes, I doubt we’ll ever truly know the extent to which he helped. He never did it for any sort of recognition, but rather simply for the love of the corps. He held it in such high regard and his pride in the Cadets was unmistakable.


Mr. Tokar’s years of selfless service to the Cadets certainly has earned his a spot in the Cadets Hall of Fame.


Christen Juel

Cadets Mello ’00-‘03; Staff '06-10

For Holy Name Shall Always Be…




Since joining the Cadets in the early 1950's, John always considered the Cadets an important part of his life. Not only was the corps important to him, but so were its individual members. John could always be counted upon to help with or create something the corps needed, and he was always there to help a fellow Cadet in any way he could. (His engineering background was beneficial to all.)

Today, the Cadets have alumni and supporters that are able to help financially when things go wrong and money was needed on short notice. Well, that was John from the early 1970's to the early 1980's.

John was always there for the Cadets as a member, instructor, and I believe, a Board member. Now is the time for the Cadets to say "Thank You" to John by voting him into the Cadets Hall of Fame.

Paul Wall
1964, 1966-72



I would like to support the nomination of John Tokar for the Cadet Hall of Fame.


John, in my eyes, was always the "model Cadet" got there early and stayed there late. Never hesitated to volunteer for anything, you could count on him to be there, especially when it mattered most. John would teach the rookies, help the staff, and carry the water if it was necessary. In other words, he always put the Cadets first.


John came from humble beginnings. Lived at home with his mom, dad passed away at an early age, but yet, somehow, John got an engineering degree, and went on to be quite successful. I will always remember the day I was told I would be drum major. My first thought was, this should be John, not me. Not that I was not deserving, it's just that John, in my mind, was the Most deserving.


After his age out year, John stayed on, became a visual staff member, then went on to write some of the show, and basically couldn't stay away from his beloved Cadets.

I have several special memories of John, but one that stands out is this.


I was judging the 1997 DCI Midwest Regionals; it was the 25th Anniversary of DCI, so they decided to hold it at the birthplace of DCI, University of Wisconsin, Whitewater campus. At the retreat ceremony, they had someone dressed in the 1972 uniform, from every corps that participated in 1972 (the first year of DCI). While I was standing on the sideline watching each one march by, and low and behold, there was John! Although he wanted to keep up the military look we have all grown up with, he saw me, and had a grin from ear to ear. By the way, John probably had his same uniform on.

If you knew John, you knew that he was always in the best of shape. He would have made a great Marine. Unfortunately, John, like his father, died young. Several us were pall bearers at his funeral, and there was this feeling that we lost one of the all-time best Cadets. The corps meant everything to John, and that feeling permeated too many of us, he made us better Cadets, because of his passion, I feel I became better at what I did. What better legacy can you leave behind than that?


John Tokar, in my opinion, should be in the Cadet Hall of Fame.


Jim Messina




I would like to support the nomination of John Tokar for the Cadets Hall of Fame.  There are many reasons why I think this is an honor that John should be part of.


I joined Garfield in April 1973 after finishing the winter with a small all girl corps in Bergen County.  John was one of the first people that included me in the Cadet family.  After talking to him I knew this was an organization that I wanted to belong to.  John was patient and wanted to do the best for the corps.  I marched 3 years with the corps and he became the drill writer.  Through John I realized how important the alumni were to the corps.  The three years that I marched were rebuilding years to say the least but  John and other alumni made the years enjoyable and we did move into become a DCI finalist.


Many years later my daughter had the pleasure of meeting John while she was marching with the Hawthorne Caballeros.  John was a drill instructor.   He was also a positive influence to my daughter.


This Cadet alumnus left us way too soon.  It was a privilege to march in The Cadets when John Tokar was on staff.  These are some reasons why John Tokar should be a member of the Cadet Hall of Fame.


Beth Linkletter McGarril

Garfield Cadets 73-75 Colorguard

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