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Published: Tuesday, 6/13/2006

Singer loved opera, worked as accountant

Nancy J. Tomaszewski, 76, a lyric operatic soprano who studied under Madame Houdrin as a young girl, died Sunday in Monroe's Mercy Memorial Hospital of kidney failure resulting from diabetes.

Mrs. Tomaszewski, who lived in Monroe but was a longtime Toledo resident, loved classical opera music and sang in musicals while in high school. She played the piano and studied violin and was once offered the opportunity to study music in Italy, her daughter, Elisa Tomaszewski Mantey, said. "She still had it a week before she died, which is pretty amazing," said Ms. Tomaszewski Mantey, explaining that her mother sang a few bars of opera for some of the nurses at the hospital.

In the 1960s, she sat in with jazz bands in the Toledo area and would sing a few songs with them, her daughter said.

Ms. Tomaszewski Mantey said her mother gave her voice lessons when she was young, sparking her own interest in singing.

Mrs. Tomaszewski's brother, Dennis Kaminski of Dayton, also sings and has sung in more than 40 churches in the last 20 years. He said he and his sister used to sing together for fun when they were children. Mr. Kaminski recalled watching Mrs. Tomaszewski perform in musicals while she was in high school.

"I was thinking, that's my sister singing; what a pretty voice," he said.

After her husband, Reginald J. "Bud" Tomaszewski, had a heart attack and could no longer work, Mrs. Tomaszewski held a variety of jobs to support her family. She did bookkeeping and accounting work at Toledo Legal News, Flower Hospital, Louisville Title, the former Seaway Food Town warehouse, and Kelly Services, from which she retired in February, 1990.

"She was a major breadwinner then," her daughter said. "But she still found time to cook the greatest meals you could ever imagine."

Mrs. Tomaszewski graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1947.

She and her family moved to Monroe in 1987. She was a member of St. Mary Catholic Church in Monroe and volunteered at St. Joseph Catholic Church, also in Monroe, and the Monroe County Historical Museum. She was also a peer counselor for Catholic Social Services of Monroe.

Mr. Tomaszewski died in 1990.

Surviving are her son, Mark C.; daughter, Elisa Tomaszewski Mantey; brother, Dennis Kaminski; and sister, Imelda Skibinski.

Visitation will be after 1 p.m. tomorrow in the Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe, where the Rosary will be recited at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday in St. Mary Catholic Church, Monroe, where the body will be after 10 a.m. Thursday.



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