Irene W. Tolan

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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Lillian Irene Worrell Tolan, age 99, a resident of Belhaven, NC died Sunday December 10, 2023, at River Trace Nursing and Rehabilitation in Washington.

A funeral service will be held 2:00 p.m. Thursday December 14, 2023, at the First Baptist Church of Smithton and will be officiated by Rev. Burke Holland.  A burial will follow in Belhaven Community Cemetery.  Pallbearers will be Rosser Tolan, Charles Tolan, Roger Brinn, Donald Worrell, Ralph Jarvis and Kirby Phelps.

A visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. until the funeral hour at First Baptist Church of Smithton and other times at her home.

Irene was born and raised on a farm near Holland, Virginia.  She was an excellent student and served as president of her senior class.  She also served her country during WWII by working in the Portsmouth Navy Yard where she met her future husband, Delma Tolan.  Following the war they moved to Delma’s hometown, Belhaven, NC, where they co-owned and operated Tolan’s Department Store until their retirement in 1988.  After their retirement they traveled extensively with the Holiday Ramblers travel club, visiting all fifty states.  Delma died in 2015.  Irene lived her life based on the guiding principles she learned as a child on the family farm.  Those included a strong work ethic and an unwavering dedication to family, friends, her church, and those in need.

Irene was preceded in death by two sisters: Frances and Ellen; and two brothers: Harvey and James.

She leaves behind two sons: Del Tolan and wife Mary and Duane Tolan and wife Janet; two grandsons: Rosser Tolan and wife Kara and Charles Tolan; and five great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First Baptist Church of Smithton, 2951 Seed Tick Neck Road, Pinetown, NC 27865.

Condolences may be addressed to the family online by visiting

Paul Funeral Home of Belhaven is honored to serve the Tolan family.