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Wyona, our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, friend, and mentor, was overwhelmingly unfussy. Her beliefs, actions, and lifestyle were guided by her own central moral compass and sense of spiritual home - never for self-aggrandizement or about what others thought about her. It is fitting, perhaps, that it is in her passing that we are finally able to celebrate the wonders of her character, which she never would have allowed to take up time or space during her life.

We believe that she would have wanted most to be remembered through the words and memories of the children whose lives she touched over her many, many years of dedication to children's work, charities, and general care. Within her family, she was best known to the children as a whole-hearted, undistracted play companion. A child at heart herself, she was a great gift to the children in her life, inexhaustibly generous and patient. Into her 90s, Wyona was known to never say, "no," to a child who wanted to play. Her grandchildren recall her allowing them to jump on the beds as she was trying to make them, laughing whilest freshly smoothed sheets became rumpled. Once her children left home and formed their own families, Wyona dedicated a room of her home to be a permanent "Toy Room," in which she collected the most exciting toys and games for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren's visits. She took the time to get to know and understand the children in her family, learning each one's distinct and invidividual interests, being sure to fill her home with each grandchild's favorite foods, candies, and toys.

All of this highlights Wyona's wonderful desire to simply talk to people, to get to know them and understand them. She was refreshingly connective and involved in the lives of everyone in her family. When children told long, drawn-out stories, Wyona listened, carefully, asked questions, and engaged with them. She made each person she spoke to feel sure that what they had to say mattered, that she was listening and cared to hear more. She shared her own stories as well, always part of the conversation, engaged and involved with her family. Family holidays and get-togethers were marked with laughter, boistrous storytelling, loud voices, energetic board-game play, and excitement. Wyona's cheer, enthusiasm, and joie de vivre was effortless, innate, and inseparable from her. Even in her last days, she was able to muster enthusiasm and cheer when communicating with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Outside of her family, Wyona was perhaps best known as the "Halloween Lady." Her aforementioned passion and joy for life manifested itself in the neighborhood as an infectious passion for holiday decorations. Every year, well into her late 80s, Wyona spent hours upon hours decorating her home (inside and out) for each holiday. She invited neighborhood children over to see each unique decoration, allowed them to play with them, even damage them, understanding that these decorations were for the children of her neighborhood, not for her. At Halloween, she offered children bountiful bags of candy and tours of her home, a bona fide Haunted House, joyfully offering time and space to make that holiday special for each child who came to her home. Children and their parents came from miles away to visit "The Halloween Lady," and she always called us the day after to report about the wonderful children who had come by and the most creative costumes she saw the night before. The night before she passed away, one of her grandchildren ran into a neighbor outside the house, who reported that her adult son still remembers and talks about "The Halloween Lady" as a highlight of his childhood. Decades later, he tells stories of Wyona to his own children now, and thus she lives forward in legacy with children, just as she should.

A tribute to Wyona would not be complete without a record of her sacrifice and service. As a young woman, she relinquished her hometown and the security of a network of family members to support her husband, Lt. Kay Cutler, through a deployment during World War II and a career of military service. She cheerfully and without resentment followed Kay throughout the world as his stations changed, birthing four children in four different places around the world. After Kay retired from military service and they settled in Maryland, Wyona became actively involved the LDS church there, volunteering her time in the nursery and library, and spreading her joy across the community. She dedicated ther rest of her life to supporting her children through their career endeavors, nurturing and helping to care for her grandchildren, and spoiling her great-grandchildren.

Wyona was a truly remarkable woman. Her life and the memories she created with everyone who met her with echo through time, in stories and great joy. We are all so lucky to have known her.

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Prom Night, 1980

August 20, 2017

When I graduated from high school in 1980,  I took Wyona's daughter, Melanie, to prom.  We had dinner that afternoon at Pierces Plantation on Dulaney Valley Road.  I polished the car all morning and drove all the way accross Carroll County and Baltimore County to pick up Melanie, back in the days when there was no I-795.

When I arrived at Wyona's home, Melanie was standing at the top of the driveway in her beautiful gown, standing next to Wyona, who was carefully touching up her make-up and dress.  Wyona was quickly stitching up the bottom of Melanie's gown, and touching up her lipstick and eye shadow.  She walked us inside and took pictures of me and Melanie, and gave us both a huge hug and sent us out the door.

I never forgot Wyona, or Melanie, for the rest of my life.  Wyona was always so sweet, fun and pleasant, and always happy to see me.  The loving impression she made upon me remains with me to this day.  I will always remember Wyona for the kind and loving soul she was.  Her smile, and pleasant disposition are reflected in the beautiful eyes and smile of her daughter,  Melanie.

Be well Wyona.   God be with you, until we meet again.  May you rest in peace, in the loving arms of Christ, surrounded by those who love you, and those you have elevated and enriched with your love and kindness.

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