Denise Cuchine, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away on Friday, January 14, 2022, at her home in Butte, Montana at the age of 82.
Born Margaret Denise Healy at the Murray Hospital in Butte on September 7, 1939, she was the only daughter of Irish immigrant parents, Denis Joseph and Margaret Mary (Sullivan) Healy.
A child of devout Catholics, Denise attended St. John’s School in Butte and regularly went to church with her parents. After losing her mother at the age of seven, Denise was raised by her father, whom she described as a charismatic, gentle soul. As they didn’t own a car, they would regularly walk or ride the bus to get to where they needed to go, including frequent bus rides to Spokane and California to visit family. Denise was also a talented pianist. From a very young age, she would frequently play the organ at mass, and perform at weddings and funerals. Denise and her father shared a special bond and were very close until his passing in 1971.
When Denise was a junior in high school, and working at the Rialto Theater in Butte, her neighbors introduced her to local Butte boy, Buddy Cuchine. He would come visit her often during her shifts at the theater, and they courted until she graduated from the Girls Central High School in May 1957 and left to attend the University of Montana Western in Dillon. Despite her father’s wishes to remain in Dillon, less than a year later, she returned to Butte and finished her schooling at the Butte Business College. She married Bud on October 1, 1958, in the Sister’s Chapel of St. John’s Catholic Church in Butte. Following their marriage, Bud and Denise would welcome seven children into this world: Michael, Margaret, Gary, Christina, Mary, Shawn, and Denis.
In addition to raising seven children, Denise worked as a secretary at the Lincoln School in Butte for 10 years. Afterwards, she ran an in-home daycare for over a decade. Still to this day, many of the children that attended her daycare reminisce about the time they spent with Denise.
As a full-blooded Irish American, she was proud of her heritage and was fortunate to have visited Ireland in 1999. One of her favorite family tales to tell was about the Calf Rock Rescue of 1881 off the coast of Dursey Island, located at the tip of the Beara Peninsula in County Cork. After a severe storm knocked down the Calf Rock Lighthouse on November 27, 1881, six of its keepers were left exposed on Calf Rock for 12 days following the storm. After several failed attempts by two British gunboats to rescue the men, Denise’s great-grandfather, Daniel Healy, and her grandfather, Denis Healy, joined six local men, and in a rowboat skippered by Captain Michael O’Shea, successfully rescued the stranded keepers.
Denise leaves behind her husband of 63 years, Bud; sons, Michael (DeAnn), Gary (Francine), Shawn (Tianna), Denis (Amy); daughters, Margaret (John) Piazzola, Christina (Christopher) Vidrich; and Mary (James) Verhelst; 18 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Shirley (Melvin) Rowling; brother-in-law Dave (Ellen) Cuchine; numerous nieces and nephews; and her special dog, Chalupa.
Denise is preceded in death by her parents, Denis and Margaret Healy; her half-sister Evelyn (Healy) Tully; her father and mother-in-law Eugene and Billie Cuchine; brother-in-law Jerry Cuchine; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Denise was known by her family and friends for her kind, loving demeanor, big hugs, and her cheerful attitude, and she will be greatly missed.
Her family will celebrate her life at St. John’s Catholic Church in Butte on Friday, January 21 at 11am — masks will be required at the service.
Please visit below to offer a condolence or share a memory of Denise.
Axelson Funeral and Cremation Services has been privileged to care for Denise and her family.