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Obituary: Chantel Elizabeth Melendez-Cutler

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Life Tribute

Our dear Chantel Elizabeth Melendez-Cutler sprang to life May 13, 1970 in Logan, Utah, and touched the lives of all she met during her much-too-short mortal journey. She died surrounded by friends and family on August 3, 2000, in Orem, Utah, after a long, valiant battle against diabetes.

Chantel, affectionately known as "Chan," spilled over with enthusiasm, charm, and beauty. She demonstrated a passion for life in many roles. As a daughter and sister, she was caring and compassionate, and would do anything for her family. She loved to spend time with them in the mountains, traveling, or just "hanging out" at home. She was a noble and dedicated wife who filled her husband's life with overwhelming love and selfless sacrifice. She was a true friend to scores, never judgmental, always supportive, and constantly lifting spirits with her cheerful voice, incredible sense of humor, and her spirited, common-sense approach to life. She adored children, loved animals, and reached out to all around her with a hand of friendship and unquenchable love.

Chantel married Frank Henry Cutler, IV on February 20, 2000 in Washington D.C. Chantel studied at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, as well as at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the midst of Chantel's lifelong goal to become a nurse, the advancing stages of her diabetic condition worsened to an extreme. We could only sit back in amazement at her grace, dignity, and fortitude as we saw her battle intense pain and debilitating conditions minute by minute, day after day, month after month, year after year.

Through her struggle with diabetes and its complications, Chan experienced the width and breadth of the quality of the healthcare system. On the one hand, she survived the dehumanization, bigotry, and immoral egotism of American malpractice and the bureaucratic melanoma of insurance. But, on the other hand, she was fortunate enough to have been gently and lovingly cared for by two especially extraordinary caregivers.

First, we will always cherish the love that was showered on Chan by the staff of American Fork Hospital. The nursing staff will never know the hope and comfort they so selflessly gave Chan amidst so much painloving care that, in the context of their professionalism, added literal months to Chan's life. Imagine what that means to a bereaved family. Our gratitude also extends to the countless others on this wonderful staff - from cafeteria workers to cleaning staff - that took the time to meet and love Chan and care for her so openly and unselfishly. The visits, the greetings, the small gifts, and the unabashed charity were and are priceless.

Secondly, our prayers and tears of gratitude go out to Dr. Von Welch. He, of all the countless MDs, didn't shuffle Chantel off to the next specialist. He worked and fought with Chan against her debilitating pain and disease as a fellow human being. It is of unceasing amazement that he would offer (and does offer) such compassionate care amidst the cold and efficient status quo of the medical fraternity. We witnessed him question his own medical opinions and change his medical paradigm in search of Chantel's individual care. He innovated and risked to care for Chan. Though we never saw him driving a Ferrari, we did, over those agonizing years, catch glimpses of the Nazarene. We thank you and Chantel thanks you, Von.

Those whose lives were forever touched by Chan: Frank Henry Cutler, IV (husband), Mark and Charlotte Melendez-Christensen (parents), J.D. and Dalila Christensen (brother and sister-in-law), Matthew and Mindi Christensen (brother and sister-in-law), Ryan and Cambria Mason (brother-in-law and sister), Chalice (sister), Candice (sister), Michael (brother), Carter (brother), Charles Victor and Rena Scarpino (grandparents), Mario and Gloria Melendez (grandparents), Hazel Stocks (great-grandmother), and a host of precious friends.

Funeral services will take place at Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State Street, Orem, Utah on Sat., August 5, 2000 at 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, please donate generously to the American Diabetes Association.