Marilyn Wisbar Kurutz, 67, of Duquesne, died Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at her home after a long battle with muscular dystrophy and heart disease.
She will be remembered for her spirit and sense of humor, her passion and dedication to do what was right. Despite being wheelchair-bound for the past 25 years, she carried a sunny disposition and an “I can beat this” attitude. She was often known as “the lady with butterflies on her wheelchair.”
Born in 1950 to Ed and Thelma Wisbar, she was a 1968 graduate of Duquesne High School. She attended Point Park College, where she studied accounting. She spent more than a decade working in the insurance industry and was a fashion model for Gateway Associated Photography.
She married Stephen (Ray) Kurutz in 1981 and the couple had one daughter, Daveen. She devoted her life to taking care of her family, as a stay-at-home mom and wife until 1999. Diagnosed in her 40s with mitochondrial myopathy and confined to a wheelchair, she didn’t let that stop her from working at Kennywood Park in security for four years. She was a Pittsburgh Penguins season ticket holder, where she enjoyed cheering for her fellow Lithuanian, Darius Kasparaitis.
Marilyn was a fighter and a lover. She loved her family and friends fiercely and had a deep love for animals. Dubbed the “downstairs mayor” of Duquesne, she successfully fought to get city hall made handicap accessible. She twice ran the city’s crime watch program, cultivating a large citizen’s group dedicated to helping keep the city she called home safe.
She fought and won numerous medical battles and was a breast cancer survivor.
She was preceeded in death by her parents and will meet her dogs Ginger, Jo Jo, Buffy, Lucky, Bee-Bee, Stanford and Jo Jo at the rainbow bridge. She is survived by her adoring husband, Ray; her loving daughter Daveen Kurutz, son-in-law Shawn McLaughlin, of Munhall; sister Susan Kobak (Jack) of Angola, Ind.; goddaughter Kara Kobak, of Los Angeles; sister-in-law Julia Laverne Moreman (Pat) of Greensburg; niece Kelly Moreman of Greensburg; nephews Donald Moreman (Tammy), of Connelsville and Patrick Moreman (Michelle) of Greensburg; a fur grandson, Crosby; a four-legged companion Girlie Girl; and numerous cousins.
Friends received Teichart-Gracan Funeral Home, Inc., Duquesne, Thur. 6-9 and Fri. 2-4 and 6-9. A funeral mass will be held Sat. 10:00 am at St. Hedwig Chruch with Father Tom Lewandowski.
Originally published August 16, 2017.