Debbie Tomba, aged 72, passed away on December 8th 2020 with her 3 daughters by her side.
A Self Described “Good Witch”, she was born on October 31st in Bellefontaine, Ohio to
Paul and Mary Jane Holderman. She was a dedicated and loving daughter who inherited her
Mother’s good sense of humor and her father’s gumption. She was a graduate of St. Elizabeth’s
Nursing School in Dayton, OH and later Baldwin Wallace. After a 20 years as and RN at
The Cleveland Clinic and Hilcrest Hospitals, Debbie then worked at Medical Mutual for 20 years, retiring in 2010.
Debbie’s true legacy though is the impact she made on her family and friends. She was a joyful sparkly presence
with an easy laugh, huge smile and well-timed snark. She dedicated her personal and professional life to helping people.
Debbie is survived by the love of her life and husband of 48 years, Joe, whom she cared for with so much love and patience
throughout his battle with Alzheimer’s. Debbie and Joe built a beautiful life together filled with love, laughter and
forced family fun, that eventually became less forced. From their newlywed days in Euclid to their final days together and
the “Tomba Compound” in University Heights, they truly enjoyed each other’s company and spent their time, traveling
(by car and train) dancing in the kitchen, laughing at each other’s jokes, taking walks on the beach, drinking wine,
visiting museums, seeing shows and spending time with friends. The best description of Debbie recently came from Joe,
whose Alzheimer’s induced word mix ups, led him to describe her as “Funderful” which is truly inspired.
Her girls, Abbie, Cassie Pryor (Rob) and Amanda won the jackpot to receive her as a mother. They have so many memories
of silly morning wake ups (singing stuffed animals and promises of teen crushes making breakfast), ice cream birthday cakes
with themed decorations, perfectly popped popcorn, cocoa and toast, Dunkin Donuts after one of her nursing night shifts,
endless life and medical advice, phone conversations while driving home, and selfless encouragement and support of whatever
dream they had. She was the family travel director, always set on picking the perfect Beach House
and designing the most magical Walt Disney World Trip.
Known as “Grammie” to her three precious Grandchildren Olivia, Luke and Ethan McConville, she was maker of pancakes,
host of movie marathons and Christmas miracle maker. She went to every concert, soccer game, football game, and events
that she could. Grammie and Papa’s house was the central hub of all family fun and requests to sleepover were nearly constant.
The memorable trips to the Henry Ford Museum, including the time she fell with pie are favorites.
Debbie is also survived by her much loved siblings; Bob (Sharon) Holderman, Sandy Hodges, Roxanne Tackett (John)
and Colleen Ray whom she treasured. Some of her only regrets were that she was unable to see her brother, or take a
final trip with her sisters. She was a dedicated sister who was always willing to help her family. When she married Joe in 1972
she gained new family in her in-laws Mary Olack and Tim Tomba (Gail), whom she loved dearly. The last year of her life was
spent living downstairs at Tim and Gail’s with many shared dinners, laughs and wine. To her extended family of nieces and nephews,
she was a loving aunt and the Martha Stewart of family Christmases, gathering the ever growing extended family for delicious food,
Christmas cocktails and many laughs. She brought joy and laughter to any celebration. In addition to be being loved by family
she was a cherished friend to her “PSP Nursing School Sisters” and the “Seminarian” friends and wives who were all examples of
lifelong friends who became family. Debbie was dedicated to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s after watching the affects it had on Joe
and experiencing first hand the difficulty of caregiving. In lieu of flowers she asked for donations to be made to the
Alzheimer’s Association or the charity of your choice. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.