“One’s art goes as far and as deep as one’s love goes.” Andrew Wyeth
It’s probably not surprising that Andrew Wyeth was one of Theresa’s favorite artists; one of her very last trips was to Brandywine, and such sentiment was readily evident in her own watercolors and etchings. But it was apparent as well in the way she lived her life.
As a young woman, Theresa Finley happened to cross paths with Henry “Hank” Raufer while riding the L in Philadelphia on her way to work – as he was heading to his very first day of college at Drexel. Their sixty-one years of marriage were blessed with eleven children – and a close family that readily expanded to worldwide dimensions. She moved with Hank and her growing family (including two sets of twins) to Europe and then to South America – but always managed to find room for one more at their table. Family friends came and stayed – and became part of an extended Raufer “clan” in the Philadelphia and Burlington County, N.J. area. She and Hank continued to travel the world – visiting relatives and friends in China and Israel, the UK and Japan – until Hank passed away in 2010. But Theresa continued their annual extended “family” reunion every August – held for more than twenty-five years in Western Pennsylvania, and open to all of these friends from across the globe.
In addition to her art, Theresa was an avid reader, always surrounded by books and magazines – and especially cookbooks! There was much teasing about this, since it was easier to read and dream about delightful recipes than to actually prepare daily meals for a family of thirteen (plus assorted guests). Theresa’s home was a bustling place, and she was always at the center of it – making sure that meals were cooked, school work was done, that grandchildren and great-grandchildren had plenty of toys to play with, that bruised egos were assuaged, and that all visitors had a place for the night.
Her warm and open heart was honored in recent weeks, as visitors flew in to make sure they would see her – well in advance of the August reunion. Her eleven children (and extended family) will continue to be there, including Roger (Nicki) of Cinnaminson, Dennis (Regina) of Palmyra, June of Delran, Kathy of Delran, Patricia of Weehawken, Sue of Nutley, Mark of Riverside, Denise Eizadkhah (Ali) of Bridgewater, Colin of Great Falls, VA, David (Theresa) of Philadelphia and Robyn Kaminer (Mark) of Medford; and 18 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Bernice Bielesch (Al) of Phila. and sisters-in-law, Julie Finley of Riverside and Rita Sanasac (Ron) of Edgewater Park.
Come celebrate Theresa’s 86 wonderful years (Dec. 9, 1927-July 20, 2014) on Friday from 7-9 PM at the Sweeney Funeral Home, Riverside, and Saturday from 11 AM at Sacred Heart Church 1739 Ferry Ave., Camden, where Mass of the Christian Burial will follow at 12 PM. Interment St. Peter’s Cemetery, Riverside. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to The Heart of Camden, an organization whose mission of restoring dignity and quality of life to the Camden community is in alignment with Terrie’s values.
Please make checks payable to:
Heart of Camden
1840 South Broadway
Camden, NJ 08104