Mary Ann Toler

January 16, 1946 - August 28, 2020
Mary Ann Toler

Mary Ann Potts Toler, of Wilmington passed away on Friday, August 28, 2020.

A native of Washington, North Carolina, she was born exactly on the cusp of Southern Belle and Hippie. She wrote scads of thank you notes and birthday cards, but only on recycled paper.

Luminous. Bright. Beautiful. Talented. Charming. Kind hearted. Ornery. Mischievous. Connector. Instigator. Lord of the Ring Leaders. Unfiltered. Seldom in error (self description from her resume), gave a wide berth to punctuality.

She was the original Greek Statue from whom all other 4 AM confidants are copied. Her extroversion passed through gatherings like a flash flood dispensing business cards. Total strangers would cross six lanes of traffic just to spontaneously share their innermost intimacies and provide the most graphic details of their medical reports, often with annotated x-rays or raw footage from colonoscopies. She had an ear for them all, a word of kindly advice and a healer’s confidential aside on behalf of Turmeric and Apple Cider Vinegar.

That person rocking around on the ground having progressed from laughter to hyperventilation? Mary Ann. First one to start dancing solo in the aisle at a concert? Mary Ann. Cupping in her hands a bug found in the kitchen to be placed outdoors? Mary Ann.

A monarch among social butterflies, it was impossible to reference the most rural crossroads, seasonal encampment or defunct Bible College east of Raleigh without the tagline..I went out with a guy from there.

And a storyteller of the William Faulkner/Rodney Dangerfield school of tale spinning in Dixie. Not much of a through line but cascading character sketches interspersed with all the best gossip from genealogy going back to Jamestown all effortlessly recounted. Every slight became a legend; grievances were bequeathed down generations to be nurtured like Orchids.

Abhorred technology, except for hands free Bluetooth telephone in a car. In fact, her Coat of Arms pictures a Cell Tower In a Vineyard. Completely dismissive of anything relying on numbers. Probability missed the point, something either happened or it didn’t.

We had to rent a storage unit just for return address labels and calendars. At last count, Mary Ann was sponsoring food, shelter, and college loan forgiveness to more than 20,000 feral cats in all 50 states and Guam.

She has traveled from is to is/was. But she worked a loom of loving that clothes us in a passion as oceanic as the blue of her eyes.

No services are planned.

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Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403.


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  • September 04, 2022
    Paula lit a candle:
    Lit since September 4, 2022 at 9:20:30 PM

  • September 01, 2020
    Alayne Ricci says:
    Bill, My deepest condolences. My heart is broken as I know yours must be too. Mary Ann was truly special. I will miss her deep laugh and snarky wit.

  • September 02, 2020
    robert w browning says:
    BILL AND FAMILY, MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY WITH YOUR LOSS OF MARY ANN A VERY UNIQUE TALENTED AND CARING INDIVIDUAL. SHE WILL BE MISSED

  • September 02, 2020
    Obataiye Akinwole says:
    Bill, I was saddened to hear that Mary Ann had transitioned. She was a joy to everyone she met. I want to express my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family.

  • September 05, 2020
    Kara Kenan says:
    Bill, my heart aches what I know is a fraction of the loss you are feeling. I'm in awe of the selfless caring and nurturing you gave Mary Ann. I will always remember her infectious smile and wit. Sending you so much love and hope for healing.