- 70 years old
- Date of birth: Sep 9, 1941
- Place of birth:
Long Beach, California, United States
- Date of passing: Oct 22, 2011
- Place of passing:
Anaheim Hills, California, United States
|What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.|
This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, Donna Gayle Cucunato - wife, mother, sister, grandmother and friend - born on September 9, 1941 and passed away on October 22, 2011, surrounded by her family after a brave battle with ovarian cancer. In awe and gratitude, we will love and remember her forever.
The memorial service for Donna will be Saturday, November 12, at 10:00am at the Fish Interfaith Center at Chapman University. A reception will follow immediately outside in the Attallah Piazza. Parking is available in the Orange Lot accessed via University Drive or the Lastinger Structure located off Walnut between Glassell and Center. Please note no parking permit is required on this day.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Donna's memory to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for Ovarian Cancer Research at mskcc.convio.net (go to Ways to Give/Donate Now/Ovarian Cancer) and/or The Cucunato Movement Education Scholarship Fund at Chapman University. For The Cucunato Scholarship Fund please contact Pattie Sobczak at 714.532.7702, email@example.com or send by mail to Pattie Sobczak, DOD, College of Educational Studies, One University Drive, Orange, CA, 92866.
"I was in Donna's dance classes and department at Chapman College (It wasn't yet Chapman University yet) from 1978 - 1980 and then again about 1983-1984. Donna's religious faith was a shining example that I could be a Christian and dance, even though I was very conflicted about it at the time. Her level of professionalism and the highest of standards pushed us to be as good as we could. Even though she was much older than her students, here stamina and focus at the time were greater than mine. All told, I now have something like 8 or more years of college. Despite all the professors I've had, Donna still stands out on the top of my list as the best of the best. I've never stopped thinking about her and being thankful for having known her.
I was just re-watching the movie musical Cinderella with Leslie Ann Warren and I was remembering that Donna was in some movie musicals so I looked her up thinking I might find an IMDB listing for her, but then I found this memorial site. It is very sad to hear that she has past, but to see her so memorialized by those she touched is very heart warming."
"Donna....5 years since your passing and the "footprint" you left behind still lives on. Continuing to inspire those fortunate enough to have been touched by you. We all miss you dearly."
"Donna, I miss you very much."
"Dancing at Chapman continues to be amazing and Donna made it so! But never the same without this beautiful soul....."
"You are, & always will be, forever in our hearts... each dance, every butterfly, each curious student, your beauty in both daughters and granddaughters who carry your generosity, & your example of faith and everlasting love with Chuck...you continue to make a difference & I am grateful to you"
"I cannot believe it has been four years already. Sadly, life goes on, just not as well as when you were here. Miss you!"
"Happy birthday, dear friend. I know your light continues to shine in many peoples lives, including mine. I thank God for you, and that you were part of my life."
"Happy Birthday Donna !!"
"When I realize I am overwhelmed and need a little grace in my life, I often think of Donna - such a loving and gracious human being. I miss her but she left wonderful memories for so many of us."
"Happy Birthday, Doona. Think of you often and miss you always."
"Donna . . . I think of you so often. Even in your passing, I continue to be inspired by the wonderful, caring, amazing individual that you were. You left this world much too early, but your spirit, inspiration & kindness continues to live on, because you made an impact & difference in all those lives you touched. You are deeply missed."
"Happy birthday to a lovely lady who is sorely missed."
"Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mrs. Cucunato! I think of you so often - what a beautiful life, a blessed life. You influenced so many of us without ever knowing how much. Your spirit is felt whenever I'm with Carrie... you and Mr. Cucunato raised your girls with grace, integrity, and true beauty. Your legacy carries on forever in them and I'm forever grateful for our friendship. With love and prayers always..."
"Chuck, Carrie & Christa,
I can't believe it's almost been 3 years. I think of Donna often and the wonderful role model she was to so many. Her "heart" lives on, guiding so many of us on being a better Mom, Grandma, Wife, Friend and Neighbor. She was a truly exceptional person. We miss her dearly & each of us are better persons for having known her."
"I love you so much and miss you every single day mom. It's still so hard to believe you're gone. You were taken much too early and our family will never be the same. I am so grateful to somehow feel your presence and spirit all around me each and every day... Happy birthday week in heaven."
"Donna......a wonderful friend, an inspiration. I continue to think of you often and treasure the memories of you and our friendship."
"Donna was for me a mentor and an friend, someone who generously gave of her time to help me in taking over a class she had once taught. Her generosity was demonstrated in other ways as well. One spring, she invited faculty from Chapman over to her house for a get together. She set us free in her garden, cutting flowers and arranging them in the beautiful vases she had. This was a quintessential moment--a real illustration of the camaraderie she helped to nurture among us all."
"The world became an even better place 73 years ago today when this beautiful person was born and shared her love and numerous gifts with all of us. She is deeply missed. Mr Cucunato and Carrie and Christa are honoring her legacy (literally in her garden) and spiritually by their grace and faith every day in the way they live fully and genuinely. Happy Bday in heaven Mrs Cucunato"
"Cara zia, ho appena ricordato i giorni trascorsi con te e la tua splendida famiglia durante il nostro viaggio di nozze. Momenti indimenticabili, impressi per sempre nel nostro cuore. Grazie...we love you, Alessandro e Maria Antonietta"
"Cara Donna, I was talking about you with a colleague on Sunday- while participating in The Walk To Defeat ALS and in support of a producer/friend who has this disease. It seems only fitting to have been doing something of service on the 2nd anniversary of your transition. Surely that was you dropping by to say hello. Penso a te e alla tua famiglia."
"Donna, your light continues to shine in my life. You were such a special woman and friend."
"I will be at Chapman's "American Celebration" gala in a few weeks, & I'll be thinking of your beautiful, creative mom/wife/grandma the entire time! She is truly missed, but never forgotten. Keeping all of you in prayer always."
"Hi Donna. It's been already 2 years since you flew up to the heaven. Every time I see butterflies, I think of you and say "hi, Donna", and I feel your smile. I miss you, and I love you."
"Thank you friends for your kind thoughts and words about my mom. We miss her so much every single day... she was the light of our lives."
"Mrs Cucunato lived life with such passion & grace. She continues to inspire all who love & miss her so much. Remembering her gift to this world on her birthday & sending my love to all the Cucunatos"
"Tanti Auguri in ritardo Donna = Happy Belated Birthday! Just a week ago, something reminded me of my dance days at Chapman. I'm sure it was you dropping by to say hello. Grazie di cuore! Sending good thoughts to Chuck, Carrie and Christa."
"Donna, remembering you on your Birthday. I'm dancing with the Palm Springs Follies now. I always forget you're a Virgo but I should have known as I'm a Taurus. We both love to garden. Best wishes and love to all."
"Happy Birthday, dear friend. I miss you and think of you so often. You continue to be a bright light in my life. Blessings to Chuck, Carrie and Christa."
"Donna, I have been thinking of your big smile everyday this past year. I feel you still encourage me from up there. I love you, Donna !!"
"I celebrate the day I met Donna. We were young Moms going to Goldenwest College. She touched my life. I treasure the memories of our times together. I think of her frequently and will always miss her."
"Donna, a year ago yesterday, you transitioned. I wonder how many stages you have graced and how many numbers you have already choreographed... I'm doing a double pirouette right now for you. I hope you see it."
"Today is a year since you left us. The pain and suffering are over. I am sure you are dancing in God's beautiful rose garden. We will never forget you. Sending our love"
"Tanti Auguri Donna. I can still recall our lovely conversation about Italy. I know you are dancing front an center on the heavenly stage. Un abbraccio forte."
"One of the butterflies at Donna's memorial landed on a program - I always felt that the butterflies were signs that she knows she was and is loved. I miss our lunches at Toyko Cafe and our trips to the ballet. I am blessed to have known her - among many others who feel the same. Watch for her butterflies!"
"Happy birthday, Donna! Your unrehearsed song and dance be joyous in heaven! Aloha<3"
"Happy brithday my dear mom. We celebrated your birthday in just the way you would have chosen... Laguna Beach with lunch at Sun Dried Tomato Cafe, gelato afterwards and then a walk on the boardwalk just like we all did together last year. Even though words cannot express how much I miss you, I feel your light each and every day."
"I miss Donna but feel her presence in my life. She enriched my life and continues to do so. Happy Birthday, wonderful friend!!!"
"Happy first birthday in your new home, fellow Virgo. You are missed."
"Donna and I were playmates on Adenmoor Ave. in Bellflower CA. I have not seen her in 50 years. It is so gratifying that she had such a fulfilling life. Her family and friends have been truly blessed."
"Donna is such a light and her spirit and love for teaching dance was always infectious. She helped grow me into the arts professional I am today and her love and passion for dance taught gave me such an appreciation for the arts and my profession. May the Lord enjoy your tap performances in Heaven Donna. We shall dance together again!"
"Donna was not only my adviser and professor, but she was also my friend. She was always there, with a smile on her face, to ensure I was getting the help I needed to become the best teacher. I love her dearly and will miss her always. I was lucky enough to go on a trip with her to Washington DC and I will never take for granted the message of life she shared with me. Thank you Donna!"
"I am late to this celebration of Donna's life. She hired me to teach with her at Chapman in the dance department in the late 70's. She believed in me, encouraged me, supported me through her lovely, giving spirit. I don't think I ever heard an unkind word from her. She lived her life with grace and love. She was a beautiful dancer, person, spirit. Thankfully our paths crossed."
"I danced for Donna almost thirty years ago. I was truly saddened to hear of her passing. I was always impressed with her beauty, energy, enthusiasm and character. She was an amazing person. We are richer having known her. Best wishes and love to all."
"SORRY FOR UR LOSS"
"Remembering all the things that made Donna so special...."
"Donna was my daughter, Alyssa's, dance teacher many years ago. She was always this beautiful, thoughtful, kind & serene person with a perpetual smile. She was so nice to be around. She never seemed to change, she was gorgeous inside and out. I pray for God's loving arms to wrap around Chuck & all of the girls to comfort them during this painful loss. God Bless you"
"What a beautiful ceremony of life! I left Fish Interfaith Center inspired to make a difference with commitment, passion, and enthusiasm. I loved the stories and vibrant details each person shared. I especially enjoyed the meditation as it connected me with my grandma and Donna. The gifts they gave me were gold for winning and flowers for loving."
"Chuck, Carrie & Christa Our prayers are with you at this time. Donna
was a great example and touched so many people in her life.
Love, Barbara & John"
"Carrie and Christa My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family at this time. It looks like your mom enjoyed life to the fullest from the wonderful pictures you have posted. I wish I would've had the pleasure of knowing her. Just know your mom will live on in your hearts and in your memories. God Bless you and if you need anything, I'm just around the corner."
"Thanks to Donna, The only french dance student I was in Chapman was able to study dance abroad, and fulfill my dream to stay and live in California during my studies. I learnt discipline and so much from a beautiful woman, teacher, mother, wife and dancer. She now is my dance Angel in heaven, and I thank her deeply for these beautiful years. MERCI, en pensées avec sa famille.Ange Monnoyeur"
"May there be peace in knowing that Donna's heart and soul dance on in heaven. I hope she saves me a good place at the barre to warm up! She has taught me there is a lot to learn about life through dance. Thank you, Chuck and Girls for sharing her with us! She will be missed here, but we plan on seeing her in heaven. With blessings and aloha :)"
"Christa is one of my best friends, she is a shining example of a good mother, smart woman and beautiful person. Mrs. Cucunato was always a positive person and I have funny and cute memories of Christa in high school with her mom. The few times that I spoke with Donna she was always so upbeat. She was a beautiful and intelligent woman. God Bless the Cucunato Family."
"I was one of Donna's students at Chapman. The life lessons I learned from her were invaluable during my dance career. Shortly before Donna went on hospice, she and I had a long & lovely chat on the phone. I had hoped it wouldn't be our last .... That special time we shared was a gift that will forever stay in my heart. Grazie di cuore Donna, non mi dimenticherò mai di te!"
"I was college roomies with Carrie and Christa and always saw the love and joy they shared with their mom and dad. Their mom was the voice of inspiration and compassion. I remember conversations when they would ask for advice and Donna would listen and help without making the decision like a true teacher/mentor. Donna raised beautiful and intelligent girls."
"Donna.....she will be forever etched in my mind....in my heart. We had 40 years of a treasured, enduring friendship. Her love for her family, her goodness, wisdom, creativity, energy, strength, and grace will alway radiate and provide me with a beacon...a guiding light to inspire and influence me the rest of my life."
"Thomas Campbell wrote, "To Live In the Hearts We Leave Behind Is Not To Die" Donna touched so many hearts throughout her lifetime. I hope it can bring the family some comfort knowing a part of Donna lives on in so many of the lives she touched along the way. Donna's life reminds me that "one person, can make a difference", and Donna certainly made a difference to a great many lives."
"I am incredibly heartbroken over hearing the news of Donna's passing. I absolutely ADORED Donna & felt so blessed to call her "friend". I had such respect for her & the way she lived her life. Donna was the "yardstick" I used for measuring what I thought the ultimate Mom, Wife, Daughter & Person should strive to be. Thank you Donna, for all you meant to our family. We will miss you dearly"
"Donna was truly a beautiful person, inside and out. I feel blessed to have been her next door neighbor for the past 18 years. She was a friend to us all. Her creative gardening talents made our neighborhood look like a little paradise. I will miss her smile, her words of wisdom, her baked goodies at Christmas, and most of all, her unconditional love for everyone she knew."
"Gracious and Grace-filled come to my mind and heart immediately. Before and after we left the Orange church and community, Donna always came to mind when thinking of Chapman University and its ambassadors. Whether visiting in her home or viewing a dance production, her commitment to young adults and their performances was always stirring, joy-filled and as memorable as she."
"Chuck, Carrie, Christa, Madi and Olivia,
It was with a heavy heart that I had to inform our church about Donna's passing in this life, yet I am confident that she is living her eternal life dancing for and with our Lord. Donna's life stands as a shining example to all and I am blessed to have known and ministered with her. Peace and love to you all."
"Hi Carrie and Christa,
Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. You two light up any room with your smiles and joy, so I can only imagine your mom was greatly responsible for the love and warmth you show others. May God comfort you and keep you close during this time and beyond."
"Donna was a force. A creative, giving, loving person whose energy was legendary. She was an exceptional lady who made all of our lives better and made us better people for our relationship with her. Only those of us who were fortunate to know her can understand the depth and breath of this very special person. If love could have saved her she would have lived forever."
"Intelligent, kind, elegant, wise—these are a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Donna Cucunato. She was an amazing person, and an excellent role model for the rest of us to follow. I feel blessed to have known her and will cherish her memory forever."
"It always seemed to me that Carrie and Donna had the most special mother daughter relationship of anyone I knew. When I became a mother I told Carrie I hoped for the same with my daughter. Thank you Donna for being the most wonderful role model."
"As her daughter's college roommate, I will always remember the mutual respect and the close, close, loving relationship shared by mother and daughter and the whole Cucunato family. She was both stunningly beautiful and a beautiful person. When she was greeted by God in heaven, I think the first thing He no doubt said was, "well done my good and faithful servant". With love & sympathy."
"Donna was a dedicated teacher who modeled for her students the generosity and caring so essential to teachers everywhere.I learned an incredible amount from Donna. She will be missed!"
"Donna was always generous with her time and knowledge. She pushed me to be a better student and teacher. She expected the best and pushed me to expect the same from myself and others. I will miss her."
"Peace, light, and love...that is how Donna always signed her messages. Her words always lifted my heart and reminded me of the unique, marvelous, spritual and mysterious nature of each of our personal journeys. I thank you Donna for that reminder. You have touched my soul forever."
"Although I knew Donna for only a few years, she left an indelible impression on me. She helped me grow professionally and personally. I am comforted in knowing she lived a full and happy life."
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