I wish you could have met my friend, Nuria Hawkins Kudlach. If ever there was a person who could put a smile on your face with a single comment or facial expression, it was Nuria. She had this quirky sense of humor that could range from the sincere to the hilarious at a moment’s notice. She looked for the good in people and would go to any lengths if she felt it could make a difference and make someone’s life better.
We met in high school. I had moved to Carlisle and we had the same lunch period… so we became friends. We had a class or two together but went our separate ways for college and our “young married” years. We came together again around the time she had her gastric bypass. Her surgery was done at MCV in Richmond and we lived close enough to be her “way point” any time she had an appointment. I looked forward to those times when she would burst through the door for an overnight visit and her positive energy would fill the house! She loved to shop and loved a bargain, so our visits always included trips to TJMaxx and Marshalls. Wandering through stores with her was therapeutic and we’d chat about life, kids, challenges, and goals. We were so similar in so many ways that it was as if I had another sister. We had the best time doing “nothing”. A visit could include a shopping trip but it could just as easily include sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee while we talk over what was going on in our lives. Nuria was always interested in world events but equally involved in her own community. I loved hearing how much she adored Johnstown and that beautiful home she’d worked so hard to create!
When my younger son was recruited by a D-II school in Greensburg, Nuria opened her home to me anytime I traveled to see him. I would drop him off and then spend the night with Nuria and her family… It didn’t seem to matter what else might be going on, I was always welcomed with open arms. Her home was inviting and warm… and I never felt like an intruder. I remember that Al traveled every Monday through Thursday, so she was protective of her Fridays, since those were days when the two of them could spend time together before Alex got home from school. They planned lots of weekend family activities and took their beagle, Sparky, with them at every opportunity. I thought it was great that they did so much together as a family even though Alex and Al weren’t into sports. My family did the same, although ours were centered around sporting events, so we shared that passion of family togetherness.
I became concerned about Nuria when they moved from Johnstown to State College. I always felt that she’d be ok, but she shared that the move wasn’t as positive as she’d have liked. She said they’d moved to be closer to Al’s new job, but that he’d still be traveling quite a bit. She also shared that Alex was even more insulated and isolated than he had become during his HS years, which had her worried, but she was sure that he’d “grow out of it” in time. Nuria didn’t love the house in State College like she had loved the house she’d built in Johnstown… but she liked the bones of the house and had plans to renovate when and where she could.
Nuria had a really hard time when her mom died. She was an only child and had become her mom’s caretaker, something we discussed especially as my mom was becoming increasingly dependent on me. She shared information on wills, medication, doctors, continued care, and dealing with “parenting” our parents… all things that were hard to discuss but always shared from a loving perspective. Nuria felt great remorse that she wasn’t physically present when her mom died… something she internalized until she tried cutting herself in order to ease the pain. Hospitalization did little to help and she was so embarrassed to have been put in such a position that she refused to return to that hospital for any medical procedure afterward. She felt that they would always see her with that event in the back of their minds and she didn’t want to be seen as a victim.
That’s part of what makes things so hard now. The Nuria I knew would be so pissed that people now see her as a victim. She fought so hard for the underdog… first for children and youth, then for beagles, but always for her family and friends. She helped countless people in so many ways and always wanted to find (and fix) any situation she felt was wrong. She told me that she and Al were having problems but that they were in counseling. She did say that she felt they were headed for a divorce but she never expressed concern for her personally. I wholeheartedly believe that she would have mentioned that concern if she honestly thought her husband could plan to hurt her.
Hearing *his* account of her murder is so unfathomable to me. Nuria had a wicked sense of humor and could make scathing comments, but anyone who truly knew her, knew that she could never hurt another human being. She had a quick wit and could easily throw back a cringeworthy comment that would stop someone in their tracks, but she was absolutely not a violent person. I do know that she was being verbally abused, both by her husband and son when they used the “C” word at her, but her plan for the future didn’t include violence. She had worked hard, gotten her Realtor’s license, and was already finding success in her new career path. Her plan for the future was one in which she could provide for herself and her son… Her plan was NOT to die at the hand of the man she married.
Shortly after Nuria’s murder, our friend Cindy and I realized that there was no one else to write Nuria’s obituary. Included here is the result of our efforts to honor our friend.
Nuria Kudlach, 51, died on August 30, 2015, in State College. Born March 11, 1964, she was the daughter of Kenneth and Meftuha Adyar Hawkins. She grew up in Spain and Portugal, until her father retired from the United States Army, in Carlisle when she was of school age. Nuria is survived by her husband, Alois A. Kudlach; and a son, Alexander Paul Kudlach, of State College. She was preceded in death by her parents. She was a 1982 graduate of Carlisle High School. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Penn State in 1987.
Her first career after college was with Children and Youth Services in McSherrystown. She married in 1989, and moved to California for a short time before they moved to the Washington, D.C. area where she became a full time mother and did volunteer work. The family lived in Johnstown while Alex attended school. In 2013, Nuria relocated with her family to her beloved State College. She recently started a new career as a Realtor with Home Edge Realty Group, LLC, State College.
Nuria had a smile that would light up the room and an infectious laugh she shared with everyone she met. She went all-in on everything she did, from planning events, remodeling her home, to cooking and crafting. She was an avid Penn State fan and always showed her Penn State pride wherever she went. Nuria was full of life and was always planning gatherings for family and friends; her door was always open for visitors. She would do anything to help a friend and would always fight for what was right.
A private memorial service will be held for family and close friends at 12:00 noon on Sunday, September 20, c2015, at Koch Funeral Home, 2401 S. Atherton St., State College. Memorial contributions may be directed to Nittany Beagle Rescue, P.O. Box 127, West Decatur, PA 16878, in memory of Nuria Kudlach. Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at http://www.kochfuneralhome. com or visit us on Facebook.