Just before sunrise on Thursday, September 27th, at the age of 66, Deborah Kay Venuti (Kilcullen) took her last earthly breath. She entered the Kingdom of Heaven with God and her lovingly parents, Thomas P. & Bernice E. Kilcullen (Gorton), both formerly of Waltham, MA & Scranton, PA.
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Deb, more affectionately called by her family and friends, leaves behind her adoring husband of almost 30 years, Colin D. Venuti, formerly of Waltham, MA. Deb is survived by her two cherished & loved children, Mark K. Donahue of Marlborough, MA & his wife Jennifer, and Keri Donahue Krastel of Cape Coral, FL & her husband Tommy. Being known as “Gram” to Brady, Makena & Kevin, is what brought her the most joy; and she’s left a beautiful, everlasting footprint on their hearts. Deb also leaves behind her most loving sister, Kathleen D. Davis (Kilcullen) of Norwood, MA & her husband, Chuck. Deb will be remembered not only by her wonderful friends, but also by her step-sons, countless nephews, nieces and step-grandchildren that she adored.
She’ll forever be heard saying, “That’s my girl/boy.”
Born on January 27, 1952, Deb was born & raised in Waltham, MA where she lived abundantly, always with a smile on her face while taking every risk to challenge herself & be the free spirited soul she was. Her childhood was filled with music, love & more music. If she wasn’t singing her heart out around her family’s baby grand piano with her sister & father while her mother played ever so angelically, she was singing around town & everywhere she went. Music filled her life & was the focus of her happiness for much of her life as a child into young adulthood, & followed her into her later years. Anyone who knew her well had the pleasure & honor of hearing her sing & perform. Deb was incredibly blessed that her love for music was passed on to her children & grandchildren.
Deb graduated Waltham High School in 1970, went on to receive her BA at UMASS Lowell; then continued her education at Bentley College.
She birthed 2 beautiful children, Mark & Keri, before marrying Colin. Together, the two loved life & lived it to its fullest for many years. She was a doting & devoted wife to Colin, and was able to expand her love for cooking & baking for all those years.
Deb’s happy place was the beach. She enjoyed good conversations, playing cards & drinking wine with her daughter & her friends. She loved the sound of laughter & listening to music while driving her convertible in gorgeous SWFL, where she resided since 1986. But what she loved most in life was her family & seeing them happy. She found great pleasure in seeing her loved ones cared for & made sure each & every one of them was loved & appreciated. Deb’s definition of life in her own words says, “It is seeing a sunset, smelling beautiful flowers, riding a motorcycle with the breeze blowing through your hair, eating & cooking delicious food, holding those I love most; life is being able to see, feel, hear, touch, and live to its fullest.”
Deb fought the fight never giving up hope & never losing site of the finish line. She battled chronic asthma in her adult life & was a survivor of both breast & cervical cancer. She’d been battling a rare autoimmune disease called Churg-Strauss Syndrome, still known to very few doctors worldwide, and she beat the terrible odds against it for 17 years. As the years continued, many health scares arose; including 2 strokes & other health issues, yet Deb always defeated them with a smile, and with God shedding His lovingly grace upon her. With each sickness her body slowly grew weak & tired; her vessel couldn’t keep the illness at bay & in September Deb quickly succumbed to an illness with the care of hospice & with her family & friends by her side.
Deb & Colin were in the Auxiliary Coast Guard together in the 80’s & 90’s, allowing them to spend countless hours boating & enjoying their love for God’s magnificent creations, while also serving & helping the community. She became a part of the very first ever, all women trio of the Auxillary Coast Guard to man the waterways on the Caloosahatchee River; a fleet which was a magnificent ordeal in the early 90’s.
For most of her life, she helped others, spending most of her working years as a teacher; her students brought her endless joy, and she thanks them for the love they showered her with.
Deb was a valuable asset to Special Pops, an organization for adults with special needs & disabilities, in Cape Coral, FL, before moving on & retiring from teaching at Cape High. Her “kids” as she called them kept her going through her many health scares, and all these years later just speaking of her kids would still bring a sparkle to her eye.
Deb loved Cape Cod, MA, where her final resting place will be. She also loved traveling, a good book, and was a fanatic for the Red Sox & Patriots. Going to Fenway with her son, Mark, was a summer must do. And If you lived near her you knew the sound of the cow bell was a good sign her team was winning. If she wasn’t baking or doing arts & crafts with her beloved grandchildren, she was window shopping with the best of them.
The ocean, the shoreline & her lighthouses had her heart, and if there was a lighthouse nearby, she was stopping to explore. It’s beacon will now be a constant reminder that she’s always close by.
Deb will be greatly missed, always loved & forever in our hearts.
“The day she had to leave me when her life on earth was through, God had better plans for her, for this, I surely knew”
A graveside memorial & burial will be held on Monday, July 1, 2019 at 12:30PM at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, MA. Family & friends are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Deb’s name to: Florida Diabetes Camp PO Box 14136 Gainesville, FL 32604 or by phone at 352-334-1470. This camp has been influential for thousands of diabetic children, including Deb’s own type 1 diabetic, 12 yr old grandson, Brady, by offering a medically safe & fun place for children of all ages to enjoy the excitement of overnight camp, and so much more.