Nancy Sokolowski-Kolb, wife of Todd Kolb, of Ridgefield, died on Oct. 3, 2015. She was greatly blessed to have the presence of her loving family and hospice care during the final weeks of her life.
Born in Providence, R.I. in 1937, Nancy and her family moved to Norwalk, Conn., in the early 1960s. Nancy was active in numerous Fairfield County health, education, community and social programs until her recent illness. She is survived by her husband, Todd, and two children: Debra Sokolowski Silverman and her husband Matthew of High Falls, N.Y., and David Sokolowski and his wife Sonal of Morris Plains, N.J. Nancy was the joyful and proud grandmother of Jan Silverman, Tyler Silverman, Ashley Sokolowski and Nicole Sokolowski.
Nancy was predeceased by her two sisters, Jean Foltz and Gail Furtado as well as her former husband, Albert Sokolowski.
Early in her life, Nancy was clear in her career choice. As an adolescent she decided on a nursing career and she never lost her passion for helping others. Her 50-year career as a nurse included over 30 years at Norwalk Hospital in various areas of specialization, from surgery to private duty to hemodialysis. In mid-career, she chose to specialize in what became her lifelong crusade to help women diagnosed with breast cancer. She became a tireless advocate in the campaign for education, early detection, treatment and the search for a cure.
Her name became synonymous with treatment offered at Norwalk Hospital’s Smilow Family Breast Cancer Center where she co-founded the role of Breast Cancer Navigator. In that role, Nancy assisted newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through the myriad of hospital services.
Nancy’s colleagues, patients and families trusted her warmth, honesty and “no nonsense” approach to illness and treatment. A creative problem solver, she consistently presented her patients with options that allowed them to live every day as fully as possible.
Her professional reputation placed her in the forefront of the fight for a cure. She read widely, talked, walked and wrote to create programs that would help women survive breast cancer and lead healthy lives. She was known in the major treatment centers of the country and her colleagues and professional relationships were a source of knowledge and friendship that she treasured. Her leadership role included a close affiliation with the American Cancer Society.
In 2011, Nancy’s book, The Breast Cancer Companion, co-authored with Valerie Rossi, was published by Demos Health for the benefit of women everywhere. Nancy’s dream of helping women will live beyond her.
Beyond her dedication to her nursing profession, Nancy contributed time and energy to other causes and always made time for fun, too. She volunteered medical help to the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association and blood pressure screenings at her parish, St. Elizabeth Seton. She volunteered at Ridgefield Rides Program; she was an enthusiastic member of the Caudatowa Garden Club and she was an officer of the League of Women Voters in her early years in Norwalk.
Nancy’s life was an example to all who knew and loved her. She made the most of every day. She helped legions of other women do the same.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Seton Church, 520 Ridgebury Road, Ridgefield. Interment will follow in St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield. There will be no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Whittingham Cancer Center — Norwalk Hospital; 24 Stevens Ave., Norwalk CT 06850.
Kane Funeral Home, Ridgefield, is in charge of arrangements.