Carolyn ‘Carrie’ Touney

Carolyn A. Touney was a shy woman, her husband Len said, but she had a way of collecting friends as easily as some people collect stamps.

“She was bashful, but there was something about her. Her friends would say, ‘I knew as soon as I met here that she was going to be a friend,’” Mr. Touney said.

Those friendships weren’t just superficial, he said, but instead ran deep.

“These were friends who became her sisters through the years,” Mr. Touney said. “I cannot explain the special connection she had to her sisters, but I greatly admired it. This was a sisterhood of women who were friends until the end.

“They would get together every Monday morning for breakfast and on Friday a bunch of us would go to fish fries.”

Mrs. Touney, who was best known as Carrie, died of complications of Parkinson’s disease Saturday, April 6, at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls. She was 69.

Mrs. Touney was a native of Milwaukee, born on July 1, 1949, to Frank and Catherine Hargraves Howard.

She grew up in Shorewood, graduating from Dominican High School in 1967.

On May 31, 1969, she married Len Touney at St. Robert’s Catholic Church in Shorewood.

After Mr. Touney was discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps, the couple settled in Port Washington.

Mrs. Touney was known for her sewing skills, her husband said.

“That was her passion,” he said, noting she learned to sew at her mother’s knee. “She did just beautiful work.”

She was especially known for making children’s clothing, particularly little girls’ dresses and bonnets, but she also made items for her household.

“I never paid money for drapes or curtains except for the material,” her husband said. “All our friends probably have curtains in their homes that she made for them, too.”

After Mrs. Touney, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 19 years ago, she lost the ability to do the fine hand sewing she used in making girl’s dresses and baby bonnets, but that didn’t stop her, her husband said. She adapted by doing more with her sewing and embroidery machines.

A few weeks ago, she was trying to smock a bonnet, her husband noted.

“Carrie refused to let go of the things she loved,” he said.

Last year, when she spent time in rehabilitation, she and her family found out which staff members were expecting children and she made clothing for the newborns.

“She just wanted to see the little ones in them,” her husband said. “She just loved children —  they lit her up.”

Mrs. Touney also enjoyed golfing, a sport she embraced until her illness limited her to playing a few holes only.

Her Parkinson’s disease made her restless, Mr. Touney said, and she found relief in driving her lawn tractor on the 35 acres surrounding their dream home on the northern edge of Ozaukee County.

“She would go out and cut the grass with our springer spaniel following her,” her husband said. “The next day, she would cut the paths again because it soothed her.”

Mrs. Touney was a member of St. John XXIII Catholic Parish, St. Peter of Alcantara Church, where she was a former member of the Christian Women and the Parish Council.

She was also a member of the Port Washington Jaycettes.

Mrs. Touney is survived by her husband Len of Port Washington; children Scott (Tracy) of Appleton, Kevin (Andrea Repphun) of Olympia, Wash., and Bridget (Eric) Greiff of Tumwater, Wash.; and grandchildren Eric and Steven Touney, Gwen, Claire and Ian Touney and Cailen and Brennen Greiff.

She is further survived by her siblings Maury (Nila) Howard of Columbus, Ind., Frank Howard of Milwaukee, Pat (Peter) Didier of Port Washington, Jackie Shanti of Shorewood and Scott (Maureen) Howard of Spread Eagle; and brother-in-law Gene Humphrey of Del Mar, Calif.  

Mrs. Touney was preceded in death by her parents Frank and Catherine Howard, birth father Thomas Smith, sister Peg Humphrey and nephew Joe Didier.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 12, at St. John XXIII Parish, St. Peter of Alcantara Catholic Church, in Port Washington with Father Pat Wendt officiating.

Visitation will be from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday at Eernisse Funeral Home, Port Washington.   

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice are suggested.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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