Jeffrey S. Toaltoan, 54, of Downingtown, a lawyer and civic activist, died of pancreatic cancer May 14 at Chester County Hospital.

Nicknamed "Bookworm" by friends for his love of reading, Mr. Toaltoan graduated from Octorara Area High School in West Chester. He earned a bachelor's degree from Millersville State College, where he met his future wife, Lavinia Diane Moultrie. He was the first member of his extended family to complete college, she said.

After earning a law degree from DePaul University in Chicago, Mr. Toaltoan worked for community legal services in Chicago and Philadelphia before establishing a law practice in Philadelphia in 1981. He specialized in bankruptcy, real estate, personal-injury and domestic-relations cases.

Mr. Toaltoan taught homeownership, debt practices and bankruptcy law at Peirce College and the NeighborWorks Training Institute, a nonprofit community-revitalization organization. He also taught a course, "Discrimination and the Law," at Temple University.

He was a member of the Westtown-Goshen Rotary, the Positive Brothers of Parkesburg, the Neighbors Club of Chester County, and the Chester County Republican Committee. He was an elder at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and at Second Presbyterian Church in West Chester, where he was also treasurer. He served on the board of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services.

Mr. Toaltoan loved Eagles football, political debate, and military and African American history.

In addition to his wife of 27 years, he is survived by a son, Sheridan; a daughter, Lauren Danielle; and his mother, Virginia.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at West Chester United Methodist Church, 129 S. High St., where friends may call after 8. Burial will be in Zion Hill Cemetery, Atglen.