MYRTLE BEACH—Tosca Nease died of natural causes at 1:31 p.m. on Monday, April 13, in her home in Myrtle Beach, surrounded by her loving family.
Tosca was born Dec. 14, 1923, in Sera San Quirico, Italy, daughter to the late Lydia Cinti Bondoni of Rome and Septimio Bondoni of Sera San Quirico.
She was predeceased by brother Telmo Bondoni.
Tosca is an inspiration to all as she truly lived the American dream. When she was only 12 years old, her father died on Christmas Eve. Her mother moved them to Rome to be near her family when Facist oppression loomed heavy in the North. She often spoke of walking to school in the morning, only to be picked up by Nazis occupying Rome and she worked all day. At night they were often awakened and herded into bomb shelters.
In Rome, Tosca worked for the Italian Red Cross as a censor for soldiers’ mail from war.
While attending a wedding, Tosca caught the eyes of American B22 pilot Capt. Hal Nease, USAF. Hal arduously pursued “the most beautiful woman in Rome” despite their language barrier and her overbearing mother who accompanied them on dates.
Tosca and Hal were married at the end of World War II in 1946 and continued living in Rome until 1947 when they sailed to America.
Americans called her Toni, although her heavy Italian accent remained untouched, perhaps even more pronounced over the years. Tosca was full of energy as she became a military wife, a translator for other war brides and gave birth to her two children only 11 months apart. She loved being a mother, and Tosca often spoke of the multiple miscarriages she had and how she wanted more children.
As Hal served in the Air Force, their family resided in San Antonio, Texas, Narsarssuak, Greenland, (200 miles from the North Pole), California and Charleston, West Virginia. When Hal retired as lieutenant colonel, he and Tosca also opened two restaurants in Charleston that were very successful.
When their daughter attended the University of South Carolina, Hal and Tosca relocated to a quaint little beach town, Myrtle Beach, in 1972. They dove into real estate and became loyal members of St. Andrew Catholic Church. As a Roman Catholic, her native religion was very important to Tosca.
Almost 43 years later, Tosca was named the St. Andrew’s Catholic Woman of the Year. While Hal was not alive to see it, the rest of her family was there to celebrate this incredible honor with her.
Natives of Myrtle Beach remember seeing Tosca and Hal walking many miles on Ocean Boulevard every morning. Known by all for her energy and passion for health, Tosca was the Bonnie Bell Running Champion in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1982. Tosca remained physically active for her entire life, walking and working out at Pepper Geddings every day. When age kept her from going to the gym and walking outside, she rode an exercise bike in her home every morning.
Tosca was an integral part of establishing her daughter and son-in-law’s medical practice, Dr. Norman’s Myrtle Beach Diet. Thousands of patients know her as the feisty, funny and beautiful woman who answered phones and greeted patients at the front desk with her thick Italian accent.
Her granddaughters were the light of her life, and she was a part of their lives almost every single day. As babies, they called her “Noni,” a mixture of “Nona,” the Italian word for grandmother, and her American nickname, Toni.
She doted on them and proudly boasted about them to everyone she met. She went to parties with them and thoroughly enjoyed being known by everyone as the coolest and most stylish grandmother ever. To this day her grandchildren loved to borrow Noni’s beautiful purses, clothing and jewelry.
She had five great-grandchildren, and she was not only present for their births, but she was present for their daily lives. She loved to hold her babies and spoiled them rotten with treats and gifts. Her life revolved around them and, even as her health declined, she was sure to see them every day.
Tosca was known by all for her wit, fashion sense and zest for life. She always spoke the truth and she never said no to shopping. She collected shoes and celebrated the day she reached 100 pairs. She was an amazing cook and made homemade meals almost every day. She baked cakes for every birthday around her and was known for cutting the fresh, gigantic roses growing in her yard to bring to those she loved.
Tosca left a legacy for so many. As someone said, “She was everyone’s grandmother.” We will miss her dearly but we are so grateful for the long and beautiful life God gave her with us.
Survivors include daughter Nan Nease Norman and husband Dr. Fred Paul Norman; son Hal Clayton Nease III; granddaughters Tosca Taylor, Olga Thorn and Courtney Ivey and great-grandchildren Reef Thorn, Koa Thorn, Sloane Taylor, Lyndie Thorn and Gia Taylor. She is also survived by a large extended family in Italy.
Due to the coronavirus quarantine, a private family visitation and service was held last week. We will celebrate her life with a memorial service at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your local Salvation Army. They are desperately in need of food and all donations will benefit your community.