Theresa Stelmach, 61, of Oley, passed away on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, in her home surrounded by her loving family.
She and her devoted husband of 36 years, Dr. John P. Stelmach, raised five boys whose close relationship with their mother brought them continuous joy.
Throughout her two-year long battle with uveal melanoma, she remained endlessly positive and steadfast in living every moment to the fullest, whether it be cooking for and hosting a holiday event for 50 people, fishing with her husband in Canada, enjoying a vigorous daily workout, tending to her vast organic garden, or hopping on a plane to her next adventure with her nieces.
Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, she was a daughter of the late Emidio and Mary Grace (DePasquale) Spinelli. Theresa graduated from Neshaminy High School and then earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Villanova University. She began her career as cytogenetic technologist at the former UMDNJ (now Rutgers) and the University of Pennsylvania before choosing to raise her five children and manage her home full time, always finding hours in her busy schedule to volunteer at the local hospital and food bank. Her deep care and concern for others – family, friends and strangers alike – and her positive attitude and perpetual smile lit every space she entered.
Theresa assumed her family’s matriarchal role after her beloved mother passed, hosting joyous holiday celebrations for extended family at her home for decades. She was a doting and delighted grandmother to her four grandchildren and was known for her impressive self-taught skills as a chef and feeding and nurturing a large and growing family. She was skilled at cultivating beautiful garden flowers as well as fruits and vegetables, which were often incorporated into her delicious dishes.
In recent years, she worked professionally as a chef and baker, sharing her talents at Spartaco’s and Oley Valley Organics. One of her signature events was to cohost Polish Night at Spartaco’s with her husband, where together they prepared homemade pierogies, kielbasa, and galumpkis for more than 100 guests and donated proceeds to the Polish American Heritage Society.
Theresa loved traveling with her children and nieces and was always ready for the next adventure. Whether a daring hike in Hawaii or New Mexico, a zipline in Costa Rica, a music festival in California, or a day-long biking trek in Texas, with culinary adventures all along the way, she was always eager to do more, see more, and experience more. Even two weeks before her passing, she was traveling, walking miles with her children and grandchildren in Florida, and enjoying the pizza-making skills of her sons at family meals. Her zest for life inspired and uplifted everyone around her, and her boundless curiosity is a lesson for how to live well and fully. In her last days, her focus and concern was making sure her loved ones were fed and cared for.
In addition to her husband, Theresa is survived by her children; Steven, husband of May, of Connecticut; Matthew, husband of Shannon, of Florida; John Jr., husband of Theresa, of Philadelphia; Luke, of Hawaii; and Michael, of Philadelphia. She is also survived by her four grandchildren: Clara, John III, Joseph, and Sophia, as well as her sister Catherine, brother Joseph, nieces Melissa, Shayna, and Lauren and nephews Erik-Adam and Brendan.
Celebration of life and visitation with family and friends will be held on Saturday, February 5, 2022 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. 2100 Perkiomen Avenue Mt. Penn, PA 19606. Interment will be private. Lutz Funeral Home, Inc. is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences, please visit www.LutzFuneralHome.com
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