In Remembrance: Nampa woman was known as a 'survivor'

Carol Tombaugh was known by family and friends as a survivor, despite her many setbacks in life.

"She struggled ... but she always kept positive and upbeat," said Eula Tombaugh, her long-time friend and sister-in-law.

Carol Tombaugh, a Nampa resident, died March 24 at age 77.

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Tombaugh had her first setback when she lost an eye in a childhood accident. She was fitted with a prosthesis and, although she was somewhat self-conscious of it, she continued on with a good attitude, according to family.

After attending Olivet Nazarene College in Ohio for three years, she moved to Nampa in 1950 to take nursing classes at the Samaritan Hospital (which is no longer exists), where she met Eula Tombaugh, who was working as a dietician.

Tombaugh encountered another setback when she fell ill with mononucleosis and had to make the "heartbreaking" decision to return home to Ohio after only two years of nursing.

Tombaugh married Don McDaniel while in Ohio and the couple had two children together. After McDaniel died, she returned to Nampa, working at Northwest Nazarene College (now Northwest Nazarene University).

Although she completed only two years of nursing school, Tombaugh couldn't forget her passion for the medical field and obtained jobs at several local hospitals as a nurse's aide.

In 1971, Tombaugh met her second husband, LeRoy Long. Tombaugh met Long through his sister Naomi Long, who would become another dear friend.

The couple was married for 24 years, until Long's death in 1995.

Eula Tombaugh began having singles luncheons at her house, where Carol Tombaugh would meet her third husband, Glen Tombaugh.

"So she was sister-in-law to both Naomi and I," Eula Tombaugh laughed.

Eula and Glen Tombaugh both described Carol as a bit of a pack rat, unable to part with many of her belongings.

"It was all precious to her. She had great respect for all she ever owned," Eula Tombaugh said.

Tombaugh also was a member of the Nazarene Church, an important aspect of her life, according to Glen Tombaugh.

The born survivor would encounter many more setbacks as her health continued to decline in later years. She suffered from severe diabetes, but continued to smile through her pain.

While living in a care center, Tombaugh was reunited with an old friend from her nursing school days at Samaritan more than 50 years before. "At first, she didn't recognize her ... but we reminded her and she was so excited," Glen Tombaugh recalled.

Eula Tombaugh described Tombaugh as having a sweet personality. "I think compassion and gratitude describe her best," she said.

In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a Treasure Valley resident who has recently passed away. Contact West Treasure Valley news assistant Kristi Coffman at kcoffman@idahostatesman.com or 672-6742.