STOUGHTON - Mary Elizabeth Hill Bittorf Cuff, 80, surrounded by her loving family, was peacefully called home to Jesus on the morning of May 10, 2018, after a three-month battle with cancer.
Mary was born October 1, 1937, in Grand Island, NE, the first child of Ralph and Bernice (Yankton) Hill. When Mary was six, the Hills moved to a dairy farm near Juda, WI. Mary attended Dr. Martin Luther College, a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) school in New Ulm, MN, and was credentialed to teach in 1956. She met Victor Bittorf while he attended Northwestern, the WELS pastoral college, in Watertown. They were united in marriage in 1958 in Monroe and soon moved to Denver, CO, when Victor was called to serve there as pastor for a WELS congregation. They lived in the parsonage with their five children.
Mary was widowed at age 30 and moved with her children to Madison, WI, where her parents lived. She resumed her teaching career at WELS schools including Eastside (Madison), St. Paul's (Lake Mills), and eventually Our Redeemer (Madison), where she taught several lower elementary grades and Art for 25 years. While teaching full-time and raising her family, Mary earned a Bachelor's Degree in elementary education from UW-Madison. On June 17, 1974, she married David Cuff, a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army National Guard. In their retirement, they moved to Stoughton, WI, to live near their daughter.
Mary's primary passions were faith and family. Her faith in God was deep and sustained her through her life and final illness. She was a shining example of Christ's message of love and compassion toward others. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, confidant and friend. Mary always took the time to listen, encourage others, and make them feel special and loved. A member of Eastside Lutheran Church in Madison, WI for nearly 50 years, she served on several committees, including the Lutheran Women's Missionary Society, and supported the church in many other ways. She also taught English as a Second Language for many years to hundreds of Madison-area immigrants.
Mary was an accomplished watercolor artist and became prolific in her retirement, creating many wonderful and award-winning pieces. She was an active member of 14 South Artists group and Madison Watercolor Society, and participated in several art shows, workshops and events throughout the year. She also enjoyed gardening, visiting with family and friends, traveling abroad with David, a well-made dirty martini, Badger and Packer football, word puzzles, solitaire, and water aerobics.
Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 44 years, WWII veteran David Cuff (U.S. Army Ret.), Stoughton; sister, Susan Prince (Stuart), Auburndale, FL; children Steven Bittorf, Green Bay; Elizabeth O'Leary, Stoughton; James Bittorf (Jacalyn Salloum), Green Bay; Sara Downie (David), Stoughton; Paul Bittorf (Mary), Sauk City; stepdaughter Judy Bintliff (John), Greenfield; special niece Beverly Feltz (Ruth Oren), Madison; close family friend Steven Lasco, Madison; and grandchildren Graham Bintliff (Mandy Zahn), Victor Bittorf, Torin O'Leary, Conlain Kelly, Logan O'Leary, Drew and Eve Downie, and Maia Smet.
A funeral will be held at 1:00 PM on Wed May 16, 2018 at EASTSIDE EV. LUTHERAN CHURCH, 2310 Independence Lane, with Rev Nathan Berg and Rev. Randy Hunter presiding. A visitation from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Tue May 15 at Cress Funeral Home, 206 W. Prospect St. Stoughton, and also from 12:00 noon until the time of the service on Wed at the church.
David Cuff and the family thank all of Mary's relatives, friends, and acquaintances for their prayers and loving support during her illness. Special thanks to Dr. Hei of UW Carbone Cancer Center, Stoughton Home Health, and all the fantastic caregivers and support workers with Agrace Hospice, who, along with her family's unwavering service, enabled Mary to remain at home as her soul transitioned from Earth to Heaven.
Cress Funeral and Cremation Service
206 W Prospect St. Stoughton
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Mary was a beautiful Christian witness to the world as an ESL teacher. She gave generously of herself as she supported them in learning a new language and new culture while they lived here. As such she was an ambassador to the many countries she came in contact with and left these visitors to our country knowing what Christianity and America really stands for. Her loving ways will be missed. I felt priveleged to know her and work with her. Until we meet again at Jesus feet, your friend, Cari Larsen
Mary was kind, dependable, and cheerful til the end. I knew her as a talented watercolor artist and fellow member of the Madison Watercolor Society. We will all miss her and remember her fondly.
Dear Dave and Family:
We are so sorry for your loss. We know the our dear Father-Mother God is embracing you all in His infinite Love - Truly - Ron and Mary Koci
We will miss you, mom. Our lives are full of love and reminders of you. We are the people we are because of you. Because of you we learned to work hard, be thankful for God's blessings, and to persevere in times of hardship. We arr happy that you have found the mansion prepared for you in heaven. You will live on forever in our hearts. Love you, mom!
So Long, Mary Cuff.
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