Paula Ann Szkutak (nee Holesa) of East Aurora, New York, died March 14, 2020, after a courageous battle of 39 months with glioblastoma brain cancer. Mrs. Szkutak was the beloved wife of Raymond D. Szkutak, devoted mother of Raymond P. Szkutak, loving daughter of the late Paul and Marjorie Holesa, dear sister of Pamela Sadowski and Steven (Dawn) Holesa. She is survived by nieces, nephews and friends.
Mrs. Szkutak was born in Huntingdon, and graduated from Clarion State University where she earned her accounting degree. She met her future husband (known to all as The Pounder) on a blind date arranged by friends; they married a year and half later, settling in East Aurora where they raised their son, Ray (Quarter Pounder) Jr., who now resides in Jacksonville, Florida, and is employed as a mechanical engineer in the research department at Johnson & Johnson.
During her battle with glioblastoma, Mrs. Szkutak became a fearless, selfless volunteer participant in clinical trials both at Roswell Park in Buffalo and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. She was grateful for the pioneering care she received from Dr. Ajay Abad at Roswell Park, Dr. Antonio Chiocca at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dr. David Reardon with the Dana-Farber Institute in Boston, care that no doubt prolonged her life and gave others with glioblastoma hope. Thinking of others even as she prepared for the inevitability of death, she arranged to have her brain donated specifically for glioblastoma research and her other organs donated to UNYTS.
Mrs. Szkutak was kind, practical, patient and thoroughly competent, especially in her work as an accountant. She spent 15 years as the controller for the Jewish Community Center in Amherst, and then served as controller for the Park Country Club in Williamsville from 2005 until 2017, when her illness forced her into retirement. One of her great joys was her part-time job at the National Federation for Just Communities in Buffalo, a nonprofit dedicated to “overcoming racism, bias and bigotry through education, advocacy and engagement.” Each Tuesday for more than a decade, after her full-time job was finished, she kept the books at NFJC, prompting a co-worker to say, “We were totally lost when it came to accounting and anything to do with money, but she was practical and patient with us. We will miss her terribly.”
At home in East Aurora, Mrs. Szkutak was a member of Immaculate Conception, where she taught Sunday School for several years. She was a member of the East Aurora Craft Club and an avid gardener who loved flowers. She was a loyal supporter of her son’s baseball exploits with the Blue Devils, Aurora Rec leagues and various CEBA and travel teams. She and her husband were longtime season ticket holders for the Buffalo Bisons.
Memorial gifts may be made to Roswell Park Cancer Institute.