DELMA M. GUITARD
Delma Guitard, who was known by those who loved her as a devout Catholic, a force of nature and a fierce advocate for people in need, died on February 6 at age 88. She and her husband Robert (“Bob”) met in Berlin, New Hampshire. They were high school sweethearts. They were married 47 years until his death in May of 2000. Over the 21 years Delma lived without Bob, she never stopped talking about how much she missed him.
Delma often spoke about growing up peddling milk with her father in Berlin and what it was like to start her career at a time when some of the only options women had were to be a teacher, a nurse, a secretary or a stay-at-home mother. She hated typing, so she opted to become a nurse. After her nurse’s training, she and Bob moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana so that he could use his GI benefits from his service in the Korean War to attend engineering school. She worked at Parkview for a brief time before getting a job at the Fort Wayne State Developmental Center, where she rose to the rank of Director of Nursing at the tender age of 25. There she was known for doing all that she could to help people with developmental disabilities have a good quality of life in an institutional setting.
Growing up in a family of 10 kids, Delma always thrived when surrounded by people. She always made sure that no one went hungry or didn’t have a place to stay if she had anything to say about it. In fact, her main hobby seemed to be helping others.
She enjoyed cooking large batches of meals like sloppy joes for her grandchildren’s sports teams. In addition to providing a side for funerals at St. Jude’s parish.
Upon her retirement, Delma didn’t stop fighting to help people. She volunteered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness as a facilitator of groups for families and people with mental illnesses. She also volunteered with St. Vincent Du Paul helping secure resources for people who needed food or were about to have their water and electrical services cut off. Additionally, she would visit and assist “old folks” who were shut-ins.
In most any room she walked into, Delma’s presence was as strong as the White Mountains near her childhood home. It was a challenge to go anywhere with her in Fort Wayne without running into at least one person who was overjoyed to see her.
Funeral Mass will be February 13, 2021, 10:30 am at St Jude Catholic Church 2130 Pemberton Dr. with viewing one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in the Catholic Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers memorial can be made in her name to St. Vincent de Paul or the National Alliance on Mentally Illness (NAMI) Checks can be written to "NAMI Fort Wayne" and mailed to their business office at 2200 Lake Ave. Ste. 110, Ft. Wayne IN 46805 or donations can be made on the website namifortwayne.org