Thera Ailanthus Detwiler fell asleep early Saturday morning in the hope of the Resurrection. Born in Wilmington on December 17, 1981, to Douglas Morea and Katherine Sheedy, Thera lived in Newark for all but a few years of her life. As a girl, she attended the Newark Center for Creative Learning, Newark High School, and The New School. Always intense and full of feeling, she grew up with a joy in the outdoors and vigorous physical effort, and at the age of 17, hiked most of the Appalachian Trail.
In 2001, Thera moved to Burlington, Vermont, and returned to Newark in 2004. As a young woman, she worked occasional jobs, mostly as a farm laborer, and also worked as a staff member at The New School. On Easter 2006, she embraced religion and joined the Catholic Church. In 2010, she founded the Kranz Hill Farm with John Detwiler, whom she married on January 29, 2011.
John and Thera were happily married for 8 years, and were blessed with one boy and three girls. In January 2017, just before the birth of her youngest child, Thera was diagnosed with a widespread cancer, which she battled with all her wit and courage. She received the Last Rites on Saturday, July 20th, and, after a week of intense suffering, died in the early morning, Saturday, July 27th.
Thera was a devoted wife, mother, daughter, and friend. With a love for justice and tender heart, a sharp intelligence and concern for the truth, she was a challenging and rewarding companion. She was surprised as a young woman to realize the deep joy of being a wife and mother, and worked always, even in the midst of suffering, to give the best to her children and to raise them in the love of virtue. For all her life she had a biting and critical wit, which she learned to soften with respect and understanding in her maturity. Thera had a strong sense of personal dignity and elegance which was evident to all, and her public reserve masked a deep love and affection for all her friends and family.
Thera is survived by her husband John, her children Johnny, Margaret, Mary, and Josephine, her mother Katherine Sheedy, her father Douglas Morea, and her sister Caroline Ailanthus.
There will be a viewing at Mealey Funeral Home, 2509 Limestone Road Wilmington, DE 19808 on Tuesday, July 30th, from 6 to 8 PM, which will include a vigil service with readings, memories, and eulogy starting at 7 PM. The funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick's Church, 1414 King Street in Wilmington on Wednesday, July 31st, at 10:30, followed by burial at All Saints Cemetery.
Donations for the children's education may be sent to The New School, at 1752 Dixie Line Road, Newark 19702.