Donna Cucunato
  • 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, pdillon@chapman.edu or send by mail to Pattie Sobczak, DOD, College of Educational Studies, One University Drive, Orange, CA, 92866.

  

 

 

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by JoAnn Buchanan on 23rd October 2016

"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."

This tribute was added by ruriko duer on 22nd October 2016

"Donna, I miss you very much."

This tribute was added by Jeanne Walker on 22nd October 2016

"Dancing at Chapman continues to be amazing and Donna made it so! But never the same without this beautiful soul....."

This tribute was added by Pam Pellizzon on 22nd October 2016

"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"

This tribute was added by Patt Cucunato on 22nd October 2015

"I cannot believe it has been four years already.  Sadly, life goes on, just not as well as when you were here.  Miss you!"

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 10th September 2015

"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."

This tribute was added by ruriko duer on 9th September 2015

"Happy Birthday Donna !!"

This tribute was added by Jeanne Walker on 9th September 2015

"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."

This tribute was added by Patt Cucunato on 9th September 2015

"Happy Birthday, Doona.  Think of you often and miss you always."

This tribute was added by JoAnn Buchanan on 9th September 2015

"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."

This tribute was added by Cathy Kaemmerlen on 9th September 2015

"Happy birthday to a lovely lady who is sorely missed."

This tribute was added by Pam Pellizzon on 9th September 2015

"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..."

This tribute was added by JoAnn Buchanan on 14th September 2014

"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."

This tribute was added by Carrie Myklebust on 13th September 2014

"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."

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 9th September 2014

"Donna......a wonderful friend, an inspiration. I continue to think of you often and treasure the memories of you and our friendship."

This tribute was added by Gerri McNenny on 9th September 2014

"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."

This tribute was added by Pam Pellizzon on 9th September 2014

"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"

This tribute was added by ALESSANDRO CURCIO on 23rd December 2013

"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"

This tribute was added by Robin Eller on 23rd October 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 22nd October 2013

"Donna, your light continues to shine in my life. You were such a special woman and friend."

This tribute was added by Pam Pellizzon on 22nd October 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by ruriko duer on 22nd October 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by Carrie Myklebust on 10th September 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by Pam Pellizzon on 9th September 2013

"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"

This tribute was added by Robin Eller on 9th September 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by Robert Neil on 9th September 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 9th September 2013

"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."

This tribute was added by ruriko duer on 23rd October 2012

"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 !!"

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 23rd October 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by Robin Eller on 23rd October 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by Patt Cucunato on 22nd October 2012

"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"

This tribute was added by Robin Eller on 11th September 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by Jeanne Walker on 10th September 2012

"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!"

This tribute was added by Lisa Joy Andres on 10th September 2012

"Happy birthday, Donna! Your unrehearsed song and dance be joyous in heaven! Aloha<3"

This tribute was added by Carrie Myklebust on 10th September 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 9th September 2012

"I miss Donna but feel her presence in my life. She enriched my life and continues to do so. Happy Birthday, wonderful friend!!!"

This tribute was added by Cathy Kaemmerlen on 9th September 2012

"Happy first birthday in your new home, fellow Virgo.  You are missed."

This tribute was added by Joyce Hardos Smith on 20th June 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by Evan D'Angeles on 21st April 2012

"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!"

This tribute was added by Susan Borer on 5th April 2012

"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!"

This tribute was added by Cathy Kaemmerlen on 5th April 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by Robert Neil on 4th January 2012

"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."

This tribute was added by La Abusadora on 2nd January 2012

"SORRY FOR UR LOSS"

This tribute was added by Janis Murray on 25th November 2011

"Remembering all the things that made Donna so special...."

This tribute was added by Ann Custer on 21st November 2011

"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"

This tribute was added by Patrice Painter on 13th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by john cummings on 11th November 2011

"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"

This tribute was added by Paula Schlue on 11th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Ange Chopard on 10th November 2011

"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"

This tribute was added by Lisa Joy Andres on 9th November 2011

"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 :)"

This tribute was added by Alison Morales on 8th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Robin Eller on 7th November 2011

"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!"

This tribute was added by Patrice Painter on 6th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Sandy Blanck on 5th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by JoAnn Buchanan on 5th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by JoAnn Buchanan on 5th November 2011

"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"

This tribute was added by Diana Deiss on 4th November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Cliff Cole on 3rd November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Lissa Smith on 3rd November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Bridgette Hunt on 2nd November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Tom Brandt on 2nd November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Patty Hoffman on 1st November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Julee Johnson on 1st November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Pam Pellizzon on 1st November 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Gerri McNenny on 31st October 2011

"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!"

This tribute was added by Gabriella Davis on 31st October 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by Sandra Robbie on 28th October 2011

"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."

This tribute was added by SallyAnn Giess on 28th October 2011

"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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Carrie Myklebust

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