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1948 Nancy Ellen Toole 2023

Nancy Ellen Toole

April 18, 1948 — December 28, 2023


Nancy Ellen Smith Toole, 75, of Cincinnati, Ohio passed away peacefully on December 28, 2023.


Nancy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 18, 1948, to the late James Glenn and Gertrude Lillian Smith. She grew up as one of six children, in rural Lebanon, Ohio. She had so many stories and fond memories to share about her siblings (who called her “Nan” or “Sis”) and about her childhood and high school experiences. She was part of the Kings Mills High School class of 1966, where she served on the student government and was a varsity cheerleader. She went on to attend Miami University and the University of Cincinnati.


Nancy took great pride in her early years working in downtown Cincinnati. The environment was quite a change from her years in the country. She made some lifelong friends in this window of time and also met John Joseph Toole Jr., who she married in November of 1970.


Nancy and John were delighted to become homeowners in the Pinehurst neighborhood in Anderson Township. They had so much support and fun in their early years of marriage and when they started a family. Nancy stayed at home with her children and was deeply involved in Kindervelt, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to raising funds for the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Through this organization she was able to put her sewing talents to great purpose, and she was a wonderful people connector within the neighborhood organization.


Sadly, her marriage ended and Nancy became a single mom raising two young kids. This was a difficult and challenging time for Nancy, but it was also a time that she demonstrated optimism and tenacity. She returned to the workforce as an administrative assistant to the president of Superior Jewelry Company and propelled her career upward, becoming one of two district managers overseeing all the sales operations for the company. The company sold in 2000 and Nancy went on to work for Cintas and a variety of other companies until she retired in 2016.


Nancy made her home the hangout house for her kids and their friends. She was affectionately known as “Nance” or “Mrs. Toole” and was constantly opening the doors for sleepovers and pool parties. The neighborhood kids loved her easy way, sense of humor and steady stream of advice and counsel. Nancy was a surrogate mother to many.


It wasn’t long until Nancy’s children were getting married and starting families of their own. Nancy was delighted to help plan weddings and to become a grandmother eleven times. She was named “Ga-Ga” by her grandchildren and spent many of her free moments with them, telling stories and taking them for long walks. She also enjoyed making meals and desserts (especially ice-cream birthday cakes) for them. Some of her favorite moments were building sandcastles and playing football at Rosemary Beach, Florida with her family.


Nancy was a joyful and positive individual who helped others feel welcome quickly, by offering a smile and a joke. She had a witty sense of humor, and loved to make play on words. Nancy found a way to laugh even during the hardest times in life. Over the last decade her health was in decline, but Nancy always had a “can do” attitude to persevere and handle things as they came at her. This was one of her most admirable traits.


Nancy was an animal lover and indulged her children when they were young with a houseful of cats, dogs and even a few birds. Her most beloved pets were her favorite dogs Spooky, Millie, Kayla and Roscoe. In addition, Nancy was a big sports fan, and she liked to watch college basketball and cheer on the Bengals. Her hobbies included cooking and sewing and you could always count on Nancy to have brightly painted fingernails and to smell delicious and sweet. She had fabulous taste in perfumes.


Nancy had a bold spirit and was always up for an adventure. Living near the amusement park Kings Island, she would ride any outrageous rollercoaster! Her life’s top adventures included a month long, cross-country road trip to Colorado, a hot air balloon ride, rescuing an abandoned newborn calf on her way to her Grandad’s, and (at age seventy) snorkeling off a volcano and taking a helicopter ride in Hawaii.


Demonstrating her fearlessness and bold independence, Nancy moved to Davidson, North Carolina this past July. At the age of seventy-five, she downsized her home, found all new doctors, shops, hairdresser, dry cleaner etc. to be closer to her North Carolina family. She immediately connected to the kindest people at the Riley Grace Apartment complex, enjoying fresh friendships, porch parties and impromptu gatherings. She had begun regularly attending St. Mark Catholic Church in Huntersville, North Carolina.


Nancy took great pride in her family, enjoying especially any opportunity to spend time with her children and eleven grandchildren as a whole group. She said the commotion and noise reminded her of her childhood, and the chaos, fun and love of being raised in a big family. She was overjoyed to spend this past Thanksgiving with her family for a week-long vacation at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. She was happy to watch the children play games, roast marshmallows for a s’more, and take a ride around the property in a golf cart.


Nancy delighted in the anticipation of Christmas, enjoying her sparkling tree, holiday knick-knacks and twinkling lights that lined her outdoor balcony railing. Her last Christmas was a happy one, most especially because she was able to attend the preschool nativity play at her church. As the little four- and five-year-olds sang some of her favorite Christmas carols, tears streamed down her face and she declared, “This is Christmas.” Nancy had a gift for finding joy in the simplest of things.


Along with her parents, Nancy is preceded in death by her brother, Alan Smith; brother, William Smith; and former husband, John Joseph “Butch” Toole Jr.


She is survived by her son, John Joseph “Joe” Toole III; daughter, Mary Katherine “Kate” McDermott, daughter-in-law, Angela Rouse Toole; son-in-law, Michael McDermott; brother, James Smith; sister, Marjorie A. Mizer; brother, Thomas K. Smith; grandchildren, Samuel, Jack, Maxwell, Wil, Anne, Grace, and Thomas McDermott; grandchildren, Mehryn, Kylie Jane, Ryan, and Rowan Toole.


A funeral mass and memorial service will be held at 10 AM on February 10, 2024, at St. Xavier Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home & Cremation Services is serving the Toole family. Condolences and memories may be shared at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Nancy Ellen Toole, please visit our flower store.


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