Elsie Marie Owens Toler

March 30, 1936 - April 11, 2020
Elsie Marie Owens Toler

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Elsie “Marie” Owens Toler departed this life on April 11, 2020. She died as she lived – gracefully, peacefully, and in her own time. Her mind remained sharp even as her physical health declined. God provided loving caregivers who became treasured friends: Kimberly Fletcher, Pauline Kearney and J.C. Carter. Community Home and Hospice of Washington served her during the last year of her life and were a true source of comfort and compassion.
Marie was born in Washington, NC on March 30, 1936. Her parents were the late Wilbert T. Owens and Callorie Owens. She often recalled her childhood memories, referring to that time as “idyllic”. Marie graduated from Washington High School and East Carolina University. She shared 52 years of marriage with the love of her life, the late Curtis Clayton Toler.
She leaves behind many family members and friends to celebrate her life. Marie loved her children Graham Keith Toler, daughter LaDonna Toler Mitchell and son in law Michael Lee Mitchell. She was extremely proud and held a special place in her heart for her grandchildren Sarah Morgan Oswald, John Curtis Oswald, Austin and Aaron Mitchell. Marie loved babies and was so delighted with her Great Grandson Aiden Mitchell. Marie’s three sisters Pat Stauffer, Doris Wallace and Connie Owens were a blessing to her and lovingly supported her even as her health declined. She shared a special bond with her sister in laws Sheila Clark, Vivian Carter and Jan Mullen. She shared memorable moments with her many nieces and nephews. Marie enjoyed many wonderful times with “the gang”: Peggy and the late Taylor Koonce, C A and Juanita Nelson, and Marty and Helen Martikee. Marie and Curtis also enjoyed a special friendship with Arnold and Janice White of Pine Level, North Carolina.
Marie taught for over 30 years, and took great pride in her students. She enjoyed her flowers, cooking and eating good food, and just spending time with people. She played the piano and organ for pleasure and at The First Christian Church, and, later in life, for Wares Chapel UMC. She was a talented and prolific artist and spent her spare time painting, sewing and doing needlework until her vision declined. Marie worked at Brown Library for over 10 years and made many friends there. She never met a stranger and practiced southern hospitality her entire life. She always had a kind word for everyone and loved to joke around. Marie had a special love of animals and enjoyed the companionship of many special cats and dogs, most recently Dexter, a very special rescue dog who predeceased her.
She was a member of the First Christian Church in Washington and enjoyed the loving support and prayers of Wares Chapel UMC, First Church of Christ, and Chocowinity UMC Widows Plus Ministry.
J. Bonner Paul Sr. performed a tremendous act of kindness many years ago for Marie and Curtis, therefore it was only fitting that his son Joseph B. Paul Jr. was chosen to serve our family at this time.
In lieu of flowers, please honor Marie’s memory by performing an act of kindness or service to someone in need of a blessing. In this way Christ will continue to be glorified in her passing as she glorified him in her living. A private burial will be held.
You May share a memory with the family by visiting www.josephpaulfdl.com.
Joseph B. Paul, Jr. Funeral Director Licensee of Washington is serving the Toler family.

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  • April 13, 2020
    Ginger Newbold says:
    May God bless your family and give you peace and comfort as you grieve the loss of Ms. Toler.

  • May 01, 2020
    Jean Hodges Cox says:
    I did not learn of Marie's passing until this morning, May 1. It is with tears in my eyes that I write this note. Curtis and Marie were special to me and my husband Rudy. Curtis was best man at our wedding and Marie played the piano. We shared many good times with them over the years. May she rest in peace.

  • April 17, 2020
    Lexa McMicken says:
    I am so sorry for your loss. Marie was a lovely, gracious lady and I know all of you will miss her. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • April 16, 2020
    Shelia Bowden says:
    Ms Marie was a special lady that didn't let her disabilities stop her! LaDonna, Connie, Doris, Pat and Graham I send my deepest condolences and love to your family. LaDonna she loved you with all her being and all her family. God give you comfort at this time and days head. I'm so sorry for your loss and here for any of you! God be with you! Love to all!

  • April 15, 2020
    Christine Arnold says:
    Ware's Chapel UMC has been blessed with Marie's musical talents in her years as our pianist. She has been a good friend to my mother and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  • April 14, 2020
    Malvia Harris says:
    My condolences to Marie's family. I grew up next-door to her. May you feel God's strength and love during this sad time for the family.

  • April 14, 2020
    Debbie & Blount Modlin says:
    LaDonna & Graham, please know how much you are thought of during the loss of your sweet Mom. Sending you love and prayers.

  • April 13, 2020
    David Clark Jr. says:
    Thanks for instilling your love of music into me, I'll miss ya Aunt Rei! Tell Uncle Curt we love him and we miss you both!!

  • April 13, 2020
    Jim and Donna Parker says:
    We have so many fond memories of Marie at choir practice and Curtis sitting on the Scripture side of the congregation at Ware's Chapel UMC. Marie surely showed Christ's grace and mercy in her relationships with others. A life well -lived fits her perfectly. May your sadness and grief be eased my your wonderful memories of Marie. Now she and Curtis are together with Jesus.

  • April 13, 2020
    Ava Paul says:
    Connie, Doris and Pat, and family, so sorry to hear of the loss of Marie. She was a kind and sweet soul. So much of your Mother and Father in her. All good people.We all grew up in a great neighborhood.

  • April 13, 2020
    Jan Toler Mullen says:
    Curtis and Marie

  • April 13, 2020
    Leslie Varner says:
    Graham and LaDonna, what a beautiful description of a beautiful woman, inside and out. Thinking of you all and so sorry that we can not all be together to share memories of your mom. Love you all!

  • April 11, 2020
    Marge Perz says:
    Marie was one sweet woman with a gentle spirit, she will be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. She has earned her Angel Wings!

  • April 12, 2020
    JEAN ALLCOX says:
    LADONNA AND FAMILY PRAYERS AND THOUGHTS TO ALLLL SHE WAS A SPECIAL LADYY..

  • April 12, 2020
    Johnny & Jackie Woolard says:
    LaDonna & Family;
    Sorry to hear about your loss. May the Lord comfort you each of you in the days and weeks to come. The comfort that so many have you in their thoughts and prayers at this time.

  • April 12, 2020
    Marilyn Willard HALE says:
    I am so sorry to hear about Marie. May God bless and comfort all of her family as only He can is my prayer.

  • April 12, 2020
    Jean Williams-Mercer says:
    Such a beautiful soul has gained her angel wings. What a beautiful Easter Sunday to be celebrating in her heavenly home reunited with her precious Curtis. Marie will be missed by so many, but thankful for the memories you left in our hearts. Prayers for comfort LaDonna as you bid your mother farewell.

  • April 11, 2020
    Kimberly Fletcher says:
    I love you and miss you, I am glad you are now ar peace.

  • April 11, 2020
    Mary Jo Latham says:
    So sorry for your loss. I can see her right now in the living room playing the organ. I have missed her and Curtis in our neighborhood.

  • April 11, 2020
    Leisa Moore says:
    My thoughts and prayers are with the family .

  • April 11, 2020
    Emily Carter says:
    She was a sweet lady!

  • April 11, 2020
    Lexa McMicken says:
    I am so sorry to see that Marie has passed away. You are in my thoughts and prayers!!!

  • April 11, 2020
    Jan Mullen says:
    A precious and dearly loved lady and wonderful sister-in-law and wonderful wife by my brother!! May you be with him in Heaven. We will miss your wonderful smile and kind heart.