Toni Pieper, age 68 of Charles City, died Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, at her home.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton have been entrusted with arrangements.
Toni was born on Sept. 1, 1954, to Ray and Hildamae (Mitchner) Steward in Auburn, a small city in northeast Indiana, where she started her education before her family moved to Charles City when her dad got a job at the Oliver tractor plant.
While she received much of her education in Charles City, the family moved to Hopkins, Minnesota, and Toni graduated from Charles Lindbergh High School. After graduation, she attended North Iowa Area Community College for a semester or two and then enlisted in the Navy, serving her country from 1972 to 1976 and spending much of her service at the Navy’s large base in Norfolk, Virginia.
While in the service, she met Stephen Acord, and they were married on Feb. 15, 1975, in Memphis, Tennessee. Their family grew to include two sons — Joe and James.
The Acords lived in the Twin Cities area, where she raised her two sons and worked for American Family Insurance for a number of years. After the couple divorced in the 1990s, Toni moved to Charles City, where she worked as a home-health aide for the Floyd County Public Health Department.
The move back to Charles City also allowed her to meet Bob Pieper, and the two hit it off almost immediately, and the couple was married on July 18, 1998, on the seventh hole at Charles City’s Wildwood Golf Course.
The site of their wedding vows was appropriate, for Toni and Bob loved the game of golf and played in numerous tournaments together. Toni was a big sports fan — she coaches her boys’ Little League baseball teams — and she also loved music. It didn’t matter the genre, Toni probably had it on her playlist!
After she retired from Public Health, she became an active volunteer with the Foster Grandparents program, and Toni not only loved her time with the kids and teachers at Washington Elementary in Charles City but she was also a member of the program’s Advisory Board. She had a special knack for reaching kids who were going through tough times, and in 2019, she was honored as the Foster Grandparent of the Year.
Toni had an affinity for cats — Herme and Violet were beloved by her — but what made her so special was that she cherished all her relations — from her siblings to her sons to her grandchild to her nephew to her great-nieces and great-nephews.
She may not have been the tallest person in the world, but she stood tall when it came to helping others. This feisty, loving woman who had a passion for making everyone’s lives better will be dearly missed by all who had the good fortune of having their lives touched by Toni.
Toni is survived by her two sons, Joseph (Stepanie) Acord and James Acord, both of Oklahoma City; her step-children, Jodi, Diana, Joe and Mike of California; her granddaughter, Courtney Acord; her sister, Amy (Randy) Caster of Charles City; her nephew, Brent (Briana) Steward; and many great-nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Hildamae Steward; her two husbands, Stephen Acord and Bob Pieper; and her brother, Patrick Steward.