Thelma Cutaia, of Prior Lake, MN, passed away on Thursday, March 5, 2015, after a prolonged illness of Parkinson’s disease.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM with visitation one hour prior at the Church of St. Michael; 16311 Duluth Ave SE; Prior Lake, MN. Thelma will be laid to rest at St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery in Prior Lake. Pall bearers for Thelma will be her grandchildren. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Heartland Hospice, Ability Building Center (ABC) in Rochester, or Augustana Open Circle Adult Day Care in Apple Valley.
Thelma was born in Albany, NY on December 1, 1932 and was raised by her parents George and Adeline Santamore in Rochester, NY with her sisters Grace (Woody) Keener, Shirley Bruneau and brother George Santamore Jr.
Thelma was married to Al Cutaia on March 2, 1957 in Rochester, New York. Kathy was born in Ft. Mammoth, NJ at an army base hospital. Two days after Kathy was born, the couple then made the 450 mile trek to Endicott, NY in an old, broken down Ford that needed oil as often as the infant needed food and diaper changes. Mary and Patricia were born in the neighboring town of Binghamton, NY.
Life for Thelma changed in a significant way in 1962, when she and Al moved to Rochester, MN with the IBM transfer from New York state. Leaving behind parents and family was one of the toughest things she ever had to do; she did not know anyone in Minnesota and familiarity seemed far away. She was devoted to her husband and supported his work and effort to make this new place their home. Nancy and David were born at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN.
Thelma was a devoted advocate of the Rochester Catholic School system; she was a product of a Catholic school education and worked at a soda fountain to finance her own education as her parents could not afford to do this without her help. She was insistent that her own children receive the benefits she had to work hard to receive herself. She was a religious education instructor and was a very faithful member of St. Pius X Church, volunteering for projects whenever needed.
In later years, Thelma was instrumental in providing monetary support and assistance to Ability Building Center of Rochester, YMCA, the Senior Citizens Center, and Special Olympics Rochester Area. After her move to Prior Lake, she was very involved in the life of St. Michael’s Catholic Church and enjoyed the programs put on for the senior citizens as well as the spring festival put on by parishioners each year and was a regular fixture at the Mystic Lake Bingo Center, much to Al’s chagrin.
Thelma leaves her husband Alfred; her daughters Kathy (Mike ) Wilmes, Mary (John) Pribble, Patricia Cutaia, Nancy Cutaia and son David (Joyce) Cutaia; her grandchildren Sarah (Wally) Bluhm, Rachel Wilmes, Sam Wilmes, Isabella Cutaia; and great-grandchild Elliot Bluhm. Thelma is preceded in death by her parents, her brother George, and sister Grace.
The Cutaia family is served with honor, care and compassion by Ballard-Sunder Funeral & Cremation.
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