Friday, January 28, 2022

Marvelous Marva’s Memory Bears

Jim and Marva Sutt hold just a few of Marva’s Memory Bears.

Jim and Marva Sutt hold just a few of Marva’s Memory Bears.

By Steve Gimmestad

One of the most difficult things we deal with in this life is losing a loved one. Marva Sutt has found a way to help people through that process and bring comfort to family members and friends. She does this by creating Memory Bears. Memory Bears are created to give family members something tangible they can use to preserve the cherished memories of their loved ones. Each Memory Bear is unique and created by a loving hand that pays homage to a loved one’s life. “This is not a business,” say Marva. “I do this as a volunteer for Vitas Hospice and because I care. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for those needing help. And this is a way I can help those who are going through a most difficult time.” Family members provide articles of clothing and memorabilia from their loved ones to the hospice volunteers. Marva takes these pieces and learns as much about the person as she can from volunteers and information provided by family. She tries to visualize and feel what the person was about which helps begin the process of creating their bear. The bear is then handstitched using these favorite articles of clothing from the person’s life. Last year, Marva made a Memory Bear for the family of an ex-marine who became a police officer. He died from cancer at an early age. She used his military fatigues to create one bear and created two policeman bears. The police bears were then presented to his children. They said it was a perfect reflection of the person he was. Marva does not participate in the presentation, nor does she usually have any direct contact with the family members. Sometimes, however, she does receive flowers, phone calls and letters from grateful family members. “I remember one bear I made for a daughter that lost her Mother to cancer,” Marva reflects. “After receiving her Memory Bear, she showed it to her Father. ‘What do I want with a darn bear,’ he said to her. ‘Dad, it’s made from Mommy’s clothes.’ He took the bear in his arms and tears streamed down his cheeks.” In the last 15 months, Marva has created over 90 Memory Bears for families. And that’s not all she does. Team Sutt (Marva and her Husband Jim) helped raise about $75,000 over the last ten years for the Cancer Society. “I lost my parents to cancer at a very young age,” says Marva. “I feel for those people going through that and I just want to help every way I can.” In addition to her passion for helping people, Marva is a singer. For the third time, she will be singing the national anthem at this year’s Relay for Life on April 18th in Mackle Park. Her passions transcend time and help families remember their loved ones now, and for generations to come.

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