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Garda Marie Cuthbert, 80

| May 19, 2023 12:27 PM

Unyieldingly positive. Eternally optimistic. Fiercely loyal.

Garda Cuthbert passed away peacefully with her family holding her hands May 16, 2023.

On May 29, 1942, Garda was born to William and Helen Eastep, in the Silver Valley’s Wardner Hospital. At the age of 8, Garda and her family moved to San Rafael, Calif., where years later she would meet her best friend, soulmate and future-husband, John Cuthbert. They would be together for more than 60 years.

While Garda held many jobs during her career, she was first and foremost a nurse. She graduated from San Francisco’s St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1963. Throughout her nursing career, she worked in many different areas, but her true calling was in the field of geriatrics — she had a true affinity for the elderly. She was committed to ensuring the elderly were treated with kindness and compassion. She did this not only as a nurse but also as the executive director of Life Care Center in Coeur d’Alene from 1998-2002, where she and her staff were recognized with the “Facility Of The Year Award.” Garda would later run her own consulting business, where she was frequently called upon to “save” failing facilities. Garda was trusted, respected and unrelenting in her insistence on providing her elderly residents with the highest possible standard of care.

Garda taught countless CNA classes in the Silver Valley and mentored many, many future nurses. At one point, Garda had trained virtually every CNA working in the Silver Valley and was always humbled and surprised when a former student of hers would stop and thank her for encouraging them to go into the nursing profession. Garda also served as the school nurse for the Wallace School District, taught health and multi-occupational classes at the Wallace High School, and gladly taught Wallace High School’s yearbook class, which her son took full advantage of! Garda later became a member and chairman of the Wallace School Board and was a longtime volunteer for the Osburn Lions.

After nursing, Garda’s other passion was writing. True to who she was, everything Garda wrote overflowed with positive thinking and optimism. Many will remember the columns she wrote for the Shoshone News-Press, including Bits and Pieces, and Sunnyside Up. She loved those columns and appreciated how they provided her with yet another deep connection to those in the community. Additionally, she wrote a book called "Melody Moose" for her grandchildren, was frequently published in national magazines, and had a saying published inside Dove candy wrappers that can still be found to this day — “Keep your promises to yourself, and to others.” — Garda, Osburn, ID.

Garda had a great sense of humor, especially when you weren’t expecting it. If she found something funny, she would laugh until she cried and frequently caused her daughter to laugh to the point of uncontrollable hysterics. Her humor lasted right until the end. She was a fighter, and though she was petite in stature, she was mentally tough, never feared failure and anything that she did she did 100%.

Garda loved Canada geese, entering sweepstakes (notably winning an Orange County Chopper), playing Sizzling 7’s slot machines, going to casinos with her daughter, enjoying the outdoors at her place on the Coeur d’Alene River or on a side-by-side with her husband. She was a glass-half-full, “never-known-a-stranger,” positive thinking, “soft-spot for everyone” kind of person, who would wave until you were out of sight, give the best hugs you’ve ever had and insist you “end on a make.”

Garda is survived by her loving husband and best friend of more than 60 years, John Cuthbert, at the family home in Osburn. She is also survived by her two children, son Tom (Laura) Cuthbert of Arden Hills, Minn. and daughter Cheri Cuthbert of Osburn. She is survived by three grandsons, Frank and Henry Cuthbert, Gus Scott and one granddaughter Olivia Cuthbert. Her grandchildren were her pride and joy.

To say that Garda will be missed is a true understatement. She lived a life incredibly well-lived. The best testimony to her legacy would be to be humble, compassionate and live life to the absolute fullest. That is what she did and she would want those she loved to do it as well. She was a woman of strong, quiet faith and would often say “You can’t live your life in fear.”

A celebration of Garda’s life will be held at the Wallace Elks on July 22, 2023, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Memories of Garda and messages of condolence may be shared with her family online at www.shohonefuneralservice.com. Shoshone Funeral Services, Kellogg, is assisting the Cuthbert family with arrangements.