Nicole Pantaleano
24 Years Old

July 8, 1981 to June 7, 2006

Nicole “Nicky” Pantaleano was loved by all who knew her. Nicky had the warmest of spots in the hearts of her parents, Linda and Fred Pantaleano. Nicky was especially fond of her Grandma Pantaleano who she lived with for many months. She had a very close and special relationship with her brother Andrew (nicknamed “squirrel”). Nicky was very close to her sister, Jaci Jiminez. Nicky had numerous friends that she was close to and had very warm relationships with her aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Special friends include: Allison Endsley, Julia Zellner, Molly Daw, Lisa Swanson and Jeremy Willets.

Nicky’s bright red hair (inherited from her grandfather) and perfect smile highlighted her beautiful exterior, while her bright eyes provided a gateway to her beauty inside. Her headstone reads in part, “...beautiful inside and out…”

Nicky was President of her Senior Class at Andrews School for Girls (Willoughby, Ohio) and a graduate of Hiram College (Hiram, Ohio). She was a voracious reader and was an expert at playing the cello. She played on the high school softball and volleyball teams and, in addition to lettering, she received an award as “Ms. Hustle.” At Hiram College, Nicky excelled at Art, History and English. She received a scholarship based on her academic excellence. She spent numerous hours volunteering at the campus co-op (the B-Side). Some faculty members, particularly Vivien Sandlund, and Nicky's friends planted a tree at Hiram College in her name.

Nicky was an impressionist artist and left a number of works behind for us as a remembrance of her talents, warmth and caring for others. Many of these works are framed and in the homes of family and friends. Nicky’s most recent job was an office manager in an architectural firm. She was respected by her boss, co-workers, and peers.

Nicky attended Cambridge College for a semester and traveled to Europe. Some of her fondest memories were of her trips to Italy and Ireland as well as many special places in the UK. She left behind many photos of those trips that we now cherish.

The world will miss this gem of a person. A life cut short at a mere 24 years of age. The outpouring from those she left behind guarantees that she will always have a special place in the hearts and minds of those she touched. She has gone on to heaven a bit before the rest of us, hopefully saving us a special place where we will meet once again.


Nicole’s life was cut short during the early morning hours of June 7, 2006. At just 24 years of age, she was murdered by the person who vowed to love and protect her just a few months earlier. Her husband of just 7 months, Adam Smith, violently stabbed her over 30 times in their bedroom. Initially, Smith claimed that two black men entered the house and killed Nicole and that his hand was cut by the intruder. Later, he changed his story to say that she wanted to die and he was just helping her out by taking her life. The obvious signs of struggle and multiple stab wounds to her back and head clearly dispute his story that only a fool would believe. While the trial is over, as of this writing, Mr. Smith and his family are pursuing various appeals. Our family is confident that our justice system will not let us down.

On November 16, 2006, thanks in large part to the skill, hard work and dedication of Summit County Prosecutors Susan Manofsky and Greta Johnson, the jury found Adam Smith guilty of murder, tampering with evidence and domestic violence. He is now serving a jail sentence and will be first eligible for parole in 18 years. Nicole’s parents, brother, nieces, nephews, friends and other family members will be present should any parole hearing occur in the future. We will be sure to represent the cruel loss this world has experienced. As her headstone reads in part “you will not be forgotten”.

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Nicole Pantaleano