Toni Lee Kuresman, a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend and teacher, passed away on Tuesday, March 28 surrounded by her family. She was 68 years old. Born in Renton, WA, Toni graduated from Mount Rainier High School and earned a bachelor of arts in Education, with a certificate in Special Education from Western Washington State College.
Toni retired after three-decades as a highly-respected educator and mentor to countless children and families in the community and took great pride in watching her students grow-up, pursue higher education and careers and start their own families. She began her career as a special education teacher in the Bremerton School District and then, after starting her own family, moved to Central Kitsap Schools as a first- and second-grade teacher and leader of the T.E.A.M program, an elementary school program emphasizing parental involvement, teacher continuity, integrated learning and flexibility. During her years away from teaching, Toni was a tireless volunteer with local PTAs that led her to a mini-career as a volunteer organizer for Washington State PTA, helping parent and teacher groups across the state form local chapters at their schools.
In the community, Toni was an active supporter of organizations focused on learning and the arts. She served on the Board for CSTOCK, a community-based musical and dramatic performing arts organization, for many years and remained active in the group’s scholarship program throughout her retirement.
Toni and her husband of 45 years were avid travelers and lovers of the arts, inspiring their children and her students to see and learn from different cultures and experiences. Toni loved the outdoors, exploring the Pacific Northwest in her family’s sailboat and RV, and planning journeys to new and different places across North America, Europe and Australia. Toni and her husband were also long-time supporters of the theater and symphony in Seattle. And in the last few years, she delighted in fixing up and enjoying the family’s cottage on Lake Wooten along the Hood Canal.
Toni is survived by her husband Mike, her daughter, Kimberly Kuresman of Bellevue, WA; her son and daughter-in-law, Dan and Nelly Kuresman of Denver, CO; her youngest son and his partner, Ryan Kuresman and Benjamin Underwood of Washington, D.C.; her daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Isaac Steele and grandchildren Abby, Morgan and Brooke of Kingston, WA; and her mother, Lorraine Matheson of Des Moines, WA.
Toni was laid to rest in a private family ceremony on April 1 at Haven of Rest cemetery in Gig Harbor. A community memorial to celebrate her life is scheduled for April 15th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm at Silverdale Elementary School. Remembrances may be made to education or arts-based charities of your choice.