Toni O’Daniel gained her wings February 1, 2021.
Toni was born on June 5, 1935 in Dubuque, Iowa. She and her sister Gigi were raised by their mother Dorothy, and later came her stepfather Pete Rokusek and brother PJ. She attended Catholic school where she learned “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions”. She reminded her family of this frequently.
While working as a waitress across the river in East Dubuque, Illinois, Toni met her sweetheart, John, who was working on the Illinois Central Railroad. They married in Dubuque in 1952 and then moved to the home where they would share their lives, in Benton, Kentucky. Toni and John were blessed with 6 hard-working, albeit rambunctious at times, children: Johnny, Bobby, Joey, Billy, Shawne, and Cindy. Toni and John were a team for over 60 years through the good times and the hard times, until John passed away in 2013.
Toni worked at West Marshall School as a librarian. She taught many to enjoy the thrill of reading. When the school closed, she went to work with Dr. McCrory as a veterinarian assistant. In 1993, Toni started her 23-year career at Walmart, first as a door greeter, and then she moved to restocking. She never met a stranger and loved everyone. She retired in 2015.
Toni’s favorite job of all was being “Mom” and “Grannie Toni”. She watched many of her 9 grandkids and several great grandkids, enjoying teaching them and spending time with them. She taught them how to live a life of service and charity and encouraged them to “Never never never give up”.
Every “Holy Thursday”, you could find Toni at local yard sales with her best friend, Suzie Smith. Toni enjoyed out-of-state bus tours and vacations to visit relatives. She had a sense of adventure that was endless. She loved to show her patriotism in her outfits and the flags she proudly displayed in her yard. You knew it was almost Halloween when you saw the hundreds of pumpkins in her yard. She enjoyed winning at Euchre and would take extra blood pressure medicine to cheer on her grandkids at soccer. She praised the lord at Kentucky Lake Cowboy Church.
Toni is proceeded in death by her parents Dorothy and Pete Rokusek, her sister Gigi Luchterhand, her husband John, and her sons Bobby and Billy. Toni now stands with them watching over her surviving family: her brother PJ Rokusek, her children Johnny (partner Ellen), Joey (spouse Jama), Shawne (partner Larry Phillips), and Cindy Vied (spouse Tim Vied), her daughter-in-law Lynette, her 9 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and 2 doodles Little Bit and Jojo. Toni’s family would like to send a special thank you to the nurses and doctors at Jackson Purchase Regional Medical Center. They took very good care of her in her last days and showed the utmost compassion to the family.
A memorial service for Toni will be held on Friday, February 5th at the Marshall County Funeral Home and Cremation Service (1206 Main Street, Benton, KY 42025), formerly the First Missionary Baptist Church where Toni kept nursery for many years. The doors open at 4pm, and the service will begin at 6pm with Rev. Chris Clarke officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Marcella’s Kitchen (marcellaskitchen.com or PO Box 272, Benton, KY 42025).
As John would say, Toni is “gone again”, but she will forever be in our hearts.
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