Carolyn Marie Nowakowski, of Toledo, Ohio, passed away tragically on August 30, 2018, at the age of 59 with loving husband Tom Saine at her side. Born to Norma Jean and Henry “Hank” Zenon Nowakowski, on May 7, 1959, Carolyn was the eighth of nine children that grew up in the family’s ivy-covered home on Silvertown Drive in Sylvania. Coincidentally, Carolyn shared her day of birth with her mother, a niece, and a sister-in-law.
Carolyn attended St. Joseph-Sylvania School and spent her summers training and competing on the Highland Meadows Golf Club swim and water ballet teams. She kept her early love of water and being poolside throughout her life, as well as her affinity for flowers and working in the yard. Carolyn treasured being in the sun and would always encourage her family and friends to join her by her backyard pool for some rays and her favorite sun-brewed iced tea.
Hardworking from a young age, Carolyn was a waitress at Bill Knapp’s restaurant while attending St. Ursula Academy for high school. In college at The Ohio State University, she studied diligently and graduated with a degree in communications. She had her fair share of fun while living in Columbus, but unlike the average college student, always made time go to mass on Sundays. Carolyn’s father Hank lovingly called her “Laroc,” which is “Carol” spelled backwards, a term of endearment that meant a lot to her.
In the late 1980s, Carolyn moved to Chicago where she worked in the construction industry and would later support her younger sister Janet when she first started her company Safety Check, Inc. in 1994. Carolyn returned to her hometown soon after where she had her son Connor in 1996. While building a home adjacent to her parents in The Bluffs neighborhood, Carolyn met John Schmidt whom she married in 2001 and their daughter Halie was born in 2002. Selfless and caring, Carolyn loved her children dearly and always put them first, and many others too, helping care for nieces who lived nearby, as well as for her elderly parents. Always dependable and generous with her time, Carolyn was a master of completing lengthy to-do lists.
Carolyn played a critical role in the family business and many of the extended family’s most important matters. She was extremely dedicated to working for her parents’ plumbing contracting business, HPH Mechanical, for over 20 years, keeping things running smoothly in the office and growing the company by helping it get not just more jobs but larger ones. Those who worked with Carolyn appreciated her honest and straight-shooting manner, as well as her unique sense of humor even when things could be chaotic.
Just when Carolyn thought it would be nice to have a companion and travel partner, Tom Saine came into her life. The two met in 2013 while at Tom’s daughter’s wedding in Dallas, Texas, and a long-distance romance ensued. They quickly grew fonder of one another and married in Destin, Florida, in 2015. With retirement around the corner for both, Tom and Carolyn were looking forward to continuing to travel the world together and spending time at their new vacation home near where they were married on the Gulf Coast’s sandy white beaches.
Carolyn is joined in death by husband Tom Saine, brother Henry “Chip” E. Nowakowski, and sister-in-law Patsy Nowakowski. She is survived by children Connor Nowakowski, Halie Schmidt, first husband John Schmidt, stepdaughters Irene (Alan) Frosch and Jamie (Tony Kent) Saine, and granddaughters Thea and Charlotte Frosch; siblings Marilyn (Bruce) Fredrickson, James (Marsha) Nowakowski, John (Cynthia) Nowakowski, Catherine Scannell, Jeffery Nowakowski, Mark Nowakowski, Janet (John) Bali, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family invites friends to call at Reeb Funeral Home, 5712 Main St, Sylvania, Ohio on Friday, September 7, 2018, from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The lives Carolyn, Tom, Chip, and Pat will be celebrated at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Sylvania, at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 8, 2018. Private interment will follow.
Those wishing to honor Carolyn are asked to consider making donations to Little Flower Catholic Church in Toledo, Ohio. She enjoyed the music there.