Melinda Uhler Cotrufo May 29, 1947 – May 2, 2011 Melinda died from complications related to diabetes at her home in Torrance, Monday May 2, 2011. She was born in Los Angeles, to Milton and Marilyn Uhler, the first of three daughters. Melinda graduated from Palos Verdes High School, a member of its Charter Class, in 1965, and was a three year varsity cheerleader. She took part in every school activity she could fit into her schedule. Drama, dance and yearbook, were a few. She went on to obtain a master’s degree in English and Communications from CSU Dominguez Hills, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Her biography was published in the National Dean’s List 1984-1985. Melinda spent her entire career as a teacher with the LA Unified School District, the last 30 years at Lomita Math & Science Magnet School where she excelled and was loved by her students and all the other teachers. Melinda taught and mentored many of our fine teachers. She also worked nights at Dominguez teaching future teachers the art of teaching 5th grade science. Melinda was an avid gardener and horticulturalist (she had a very green thumb) and a long-time member of the Neighborhood Church, where she taught Sunday school. Melinda is survived by her mother Marilyn Uhler Wolf of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; sisters Melissa Ohlsson of Las Vegas, NV; Marcine Aniz Uhler of Costa Mesa, CA; half sister Carolyn Petruconis of NE; “adopted sister” Britta Latto; grandchildren Lauren McPeak, Darci Cotrufo and Jacob Cotrufo, and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her two sons, Christopher and Jason Cotrufo and her half sister, Elaine Kiefer of Omaha, NE. Services will be held at 2:00 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at the Neighborhood Church, 415 Paseo Del Mar, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Melinda Cotrufo’s name to either Lomita Magnet School or Neighborhood Church.

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  1. Wishing the family of Ms Cotrufo our sincere condolences. She was a wonderful teacher to my two daughters at Lomita Magnet.From, Lisa,Corrine,Charlotte & Diane

  2. Dear Cotrufo family, I am sorry for your loss. May each of you find comfort in knowing that God is “near to those that are broken at heart; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.” (Psalms 34;18)

  3. Sorry to hear about Mindis’ passing. She was one of my favorite students at PVHS, bright, articulate and well liked by all. She was one of the top students in my Western Civilization class. I’m sure her students and friends will also miss her very much.

  4. To the family of Ms. Cotrufo, Sorry for your loss. Ms. Cotrufo was my beloved elementary teacher, and most inspirational mentor. Her memories are with me forever. May God bless her soul, and may God bless you all. With Love, Sara Jacob

  5. I send my sincere condolences to the family of Melinda Cotrufo. I was fortunate enough to be a room mother over 20 years ago for her 3rd grade class at Lomita Magnet. She was an excellent teacher and someone I have always admired. The kids loved her!! She will be missed.

  6. I’ve been so lucky in my life to have an Aunt that has shared so much of herself with me and my family. Mindi has always shown so much affection and interest in my sons, even after the loss of hers. What strength, what character..what beauty she was made of. A loss that will always be lingering in my life. A woman with the curiosity of a child and the grace of a woman of great depth. A student of life and a teacher of life. A measure of what a woman should be, my Aunt Mindi carried beautifully and gave freely. As I grieve deeply what Mindi has meant to my self and so many others, I embrace her reunion with her sons. Grandmother Marilyn, Missy and Marci…your not alone with your grief and I hope the love that so many had for Mindi, reaches and comforts you all.

  7. Mindi was a wonderful woman, mother, grandmother, daughter, aunt, teacher, friend, mentor, and the list goes on. She will be deeply missed by so many. I am only thankful to have known her and had the opportunity to spend time with her. When I think of Mindi, I think of a woman with class and grace. This is such an unfortunate time for so many. My heart goes out to her family, especially Marilyn. Words could never express the loss her family must feel at this sad time. We are all lucky to have such an angel to look over us all. I can only give my condolences and love to those she has left behind. WE LOVE YOU MINDI!

  8. I remember first meeting Aunt Mindi when I was too young to even figure out how we were related. As time progressed I realized that it didn’t matter because she was family and that is how she treated me, as family. Even though we lived half way across the country from each other she made sure to take an interest and stay connected with my family, as well as with every other part of her extended family. I always assumed Aunt Mindi extended her kindness and caring nature with not only her students but also with everyone she knew or met, as if the world were her family. That is the kind of lovely woman she was. She was always so gentle and elegant yet exciting and fun. I could always tell she was genuinely concerned about the well being of others. Aunt Mindi you have taught so much outside of the classroom and will be missed by the many people you have touched in this world. Thank you for being the person you were, the epitome of a good human being. My thoughts and condolences are with Grandma Marylin and the rest of your family. Love, Dallas

  9. Aunt Mindy, though I hadn’t spent alot of time around you, the time we did spend together was always Good. You cared about Family, even your extended one and we really enjoyed catching up when you visited. You my dear lady will be missed!!! My deepest sympathy to Grandma Marilyn and her other 2 daughters. Mindy is at peace now, and at a better place with her sons and Father. Love Always, Chris

  10. Aunt Mindi had an amazing spirit… always gentle, loving, caring, inviting…but fun and full of life too. It seemed like she never wanted to be held back by circumstances, she just wanted to enjoy people and pour into their lives. She truly knew what it meant to love and care for others more than herself. I could see it in the way she reached out to my family and always wanted to stay connected, and she was obviously invested in the classroom too. She was the kind of person you knew would go above and beyond, she led a life of loving and serving others. I’m especially thankful for the brief time we spent together last summer when she and Marilyn visited Omaha. She showed such a genuine interest in my life, she always spoke in that soft and tender way she does, and our conversations were so meaningful. Thank you Mindi, I love you and miss you. I’m praying for comfort for Marilyn, and for everyone whose life you touched and is missing you now.

  11. Aunt Mindi has always had one of the most heart-warming personalities in the world. Every time she walked into a room, she lit it up with her smile in a way that only she could. Her sincerity and love was always felt by everyone around her, and she had an authenticity about her that made everyone feel so comfortable just being with her and sharing great family moments with her. When I was young, she would push me to learn — one of her true passions — and it has stuck with me my whole life. Mindi was the person everyone wanted to be around. She was so thoughtful, smart and overflowing with energy. When I was in elementary and middle school, I remember two friends of mine who had met Mindi would ask me from time to time, “When’s your Aunt Mindi coming back?” — the answer was always “Not soon enough.” Mindi will be missed more than any words can say, but she will always live on in the curiosity, selflessness and compassion that she projected out into the world for all of us to soak up, enjoy and reflect into our own lives. Aunt Mindi, I love you and will always have such a big place in my heart for you, and thank you for the incredible affect you’ve had in touching so many lives.

  12. May it comfort the family to know that your loved one will return to the days of her youthful vigor – Job 33:25. A world free from suffering and death is close at hand – Isaiah 33:24.

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