Neighborhood children had a friend, champion in Hempfield’s ‘Nanny T.’
Jean Rae Todaro never had to think twice when she heard the ominous public service announcement: “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”
They were always in the downstairs rec room of her Hempfield Township home, playing pool or watching TV.
“We’d have 10-12 kids downstairs every Friday and Saturday. They’d come in and say “Hi Nanny T. Hi Pappy T.” and downstairs they went. We always had a house full,” said Anthony J. “Tony” Todaro, reminiscing about how his wife of 49 years opened her heart and their home to neighborhood children.
“She lived for her family, grandchildren and friends,” he said.
Jean Rae Todaro died Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, in Excela Westmoreland Hospital, Greensburg. She was 75.
She was born July 19, 1944, in Columbia, S.C., a daughter of Raymond and Merle (Jumper) Hoover.
As a child, Mrs.Todaro moved frequently with her family to follow her father’s career in the military. She moved to Greensburg as a high school senior and remained here the rest of her life.
Mrs. Todaro’s daughter, Tiana Vucina, said her mother retired from her job at First National Bank to become a fulltime grandmother. She was a fixture at her grandchildren’s sporting events, as she had been years earlier at her children’s games.
“My kids have been active in sports — Little League, softball, baseball and volleyball — since they were little. My mom and dad never missed a game. When they’d arrive at a game, the kids would all yell “Nanny T. is here,” and everyone would run up and give her a hug. She adopted everybody. When she was there, everyone had at least someone there to cheer for them,” she said.
Anthony Todaro said he met his wife at the bowling alley, after her first husband, Vladimer “Lucky” Muskin, died, leaving her a widow in her 20s with a7-month old daughter, Milena.
“Her sister had talked her into joining her bowling league to get her out of the house. Her league bowled from 6 to 9, and my league started at 9.”
After they were introduced, he made a point of getting to the bowling alley early. He asked her out repeatedly before she finally agreed to have dinner with him—but only if he’d come to her home first and let her cook dinner for him.
Their son, Anthony, was born nine months after they married. By that time, he was “dad” to little Milena. Daughter Tiana came along five years later.
Mr. Todaro said he and his wife enjoyed three Caribbean cruises, an Alaskan cruise and a Mediterranean cruise. He said they were planning another cruise when the cancer Mrs. Todaro had beaten 14 years earlier recurred.
She was a member of St. Bruno Roman Catholic Church, South Greensburg.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her son, Anthony J. Todaro, of Penn Township; two daughters, Milena Muskin and Tiana Vucina, all of Greensburg; four grandchildren; and one great-grandson.
Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Leo M. Bacha Funeral Home, Inc., 516 Stanton Street, Greensburg. Prayers will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the funeral home, followed by a funeral Mass at 10 am. in St. Bruno Roman Catholic Church, South Greensburg. Interment will follow in Westmoreland County Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 510 Pellis Rd., Greensburg, PA 15601, or to a charity of one’s choice.
Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .