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On November 14, 2023, Marie Concetta (nee Cutrona) Thomas, 90, entered Heaven the way she lived her life; with courage, dignity and grace. Up until the end, Marie maintained her smile, kindness, grace, love of family, and expressed gratitude for her long life, full of wonderful and varied experiences. Her life can best be encapsulated by three words important to her: Family, Friends, and God. In her 90 years, she experienced an abundance of each.
Marie was born in Wilmington, DE on June 19, 1933, the first child of Mary and Michael Cutrona Sr. From that day forward, she was looked up to as a leader by those who knew her, as she was the first to be married in her family’s generation as well as the first to have a child.
As a graduate of Ursuline Academy and Goldey-Beacom School of Business, she excelled in money management and had a great talent for working with numbers. Even as a teenager, she helped her father keep his books for his business.
After college, she worked at the E.I. DuPont Experimental Station before marrying her former spouse, the late John DeVechio in 1954 and devoted her time to raising their four children together, who they adored. Though this relationship wasn’t permanent, they remained in touch and both went on to remarry and stayed an integral part of their children’s lives.
Ever ambitious, she worked hard to become a certified medical assistant and worked for various doctors in the area as her children became young adults.
She loved volunteering her time later in life at A.I DuPont Hospital for Children, Read Aloud Delaware, where she read to students in public schools, Newark Senior Center, Red Hat Society, and various committees at Holy Angels Church in Newark, DE, including bereavement ministry. She was also a key member and major benefactor of her church for many years.
She traveled extensively in retirement with her husband, the late Dr. Charles D. Thomas, to many countries in Europe and enjoyed taking cruises to the Caribbean islands.
The crowning glory for Marie was the arrival of her seven grandchildren: John Michael, Ryan, Katie, Eric, Michael, Angelina and Anthony. She delighted in everything about her new role as a grandmother and took on the moniker of "Nana” to signify this new role.
Marie delighted in her grandchildren and made it a point to be as engaged as possible with them, babysitting, attending birthday parties, athletic events, school performances, and taking them to their favorite restaurants. She took joy in her grandchildren as much, if not more, than in raising her children. We were happy that she lived long enough to enjoy her great grandchildren as well.
Marie cherished her friendships, developing them at each stage of her life. At the time of her passing, she still had friendships that she made in high school and kept for over 70 years. From phone call chats to joint family outings, to sharing informal and formal meals and entertaining, to class reunions, to adventures near and far, to helping in times of sadness and difficulty, Marie was there for everyone whenever needed. Her strength dealing with adversity was admired by all.
Although we may no longer physically see Marie, we believe she has left an indelible mark on all of us lucky enough to have known her.
Marie was a gem of a person who appreciated all that life gave her. Even in her diminished state near the end of her life, she quickly made friends in her assisted living facilities, where she was known by all the residents for her beautiful smile that she would flash to each and every one of them. She quickly became a favorite of the caregiving staff as well. She lived a long life full of wonderful experiences with a loving family and truly embodied the adage of a life well lived.
Marie would want all of us to remember her with a smile rather than with tears. She would want us to find comfort in knowing she is now home with her Heavenly Father and loved ones that passed before her. She will be deeply loved forever and never be forgotten.
She is survived by her loving children, John DeVechio (Allison), Francis DeVechio , Donna Riesenberger (Michael) and MaryBeth Pala (Michael); 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren; and her sister, Elizabeth Papili. She is also survived by many special cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as many cherished friends.
Marie was preceded in death by her parents, Mary and Michael Cutrona Sr., her brother Michael Jr., many aunts and uncles as well as her devoted husband, Dr. Charles Thomas.
Our family is also forever in debt to her caretaker, Garmai Toby, for her selfless devotion and kindness in bringing joy to Marie’s life in recent years. We couldn't have done it without you, Garmai!
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:30am on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, at St. John the Beloved Church, 907 Milltown Road, Wilmington, DE 19808, where family and friends may visit beginning at 10:00am. Interment will be held in All Saints Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association and/or Delaware Hospice in Marie’s name would be appreciated.