Caruso, Toni (Antonia) – After her painful battle with multiple myeloma she passed peacefully and received her heavenly wings on March 15, 2020.
She was born in San Mateo, CA on January 8, 1953. She is preceded in death by her father, Joseph J. Caruso; her mother, Donna J Caruso; and sister, Lynn J Paul. She leaves behind her sister, Joan Garcia; two nephews; her daughter, Patty Reed; three grandchildren, Anthony, Mariah and Brian; and two great granddaughters.
Toni lived a life filled with changing lives. Through her gifts of teaching and generous giving she reached thousands of children and adults whose lives were changed by knowing and interacting with her.
Her first love in life was ballet. She began dancing when she was 8 years old. At 15 she received a scholarship with San Francisco Ballet joining within 6 months. She then moved on to become a soloist with Los Angeles Dance Theatre. After that company closed, she ventured to New York. At 17, she was studying with The American Ballet Theatre, selected out of 500 girls who auditioned. At 19, she moved to San Diego, California where she became soloist and instructor with The San Diego Ballet Company. After she had her daughter, she was a ballet instructor and earned her BA degree in Liberal Arts and Dance. She taught ballet over the years in community classes, elementary schools, and high schools. She choreographed stage productions and plays for schools and communities.
Her teaching dance career moved into the elementary classroom where she again excelled and touched lives. She continued her education with her degree in elementary education and her MS in counselling psychology. She taught in the traditional classroom, the special education programs, reading remediation programs, ESL programs, and gifted and talented programs. She was awarded teacher of the year two years in a row. After 18 years in the classroom she became a reading specialist, mentoring teachers. She retired from the Los Angeles Office of Education and moved to Vancouver Island, BC Canada.
Retirement wasn’t suited to her, soon after settling in she was ready to return to work. She went to work in the elementary school district, becoming a school counsellor and continued to touch children’s lives.
Her kindness and generosity went with her wherever she went. She was funny and friendly often making jokes even with strangers. She will be missed greatly by her family and all the other people with whom she has connected over the years. She lived a blessed life of service to others. She is now dancing in heaven. ≈
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