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Stefani Denise Kurz, 1974-2020

Stefani Denise Kurz, 46, of Tucson, passed away Monday, November 30, 2020, after a long struggle with addiction.

Born in Tucson on February 19, 1974, Stefani was the daughter of Richard (Dick) Anthony Kurz, of Tucson, and the late Christina Charlotte (Zawadzki) Duncan, of Vail. She graduated from Rincon High School in 1992 and earned a veterinary technician certification from Pima Medical Institute. She also attended St. Cyril Elementary School, St. Ambrose Junior High School, Salpointe High School, and Pima Community College.

Stefani had a deep love for animals, especially dogs and horses. She greatly enjoyed her training as a veterinary technician, which she felt was her true calling, and was saddened that health issues prevented her from pursuing that career further. She rarely met a stray dog (or person, for that matter) that she didn't try to rescue, and she will be sorely missed by her loyal dog, Hank.

Stefani also loved to sing and dance. She studied gymnastics for many years as a child, cheerled at St. Ambrose Jr. High School, and sang in the chorus and the Choraliers show choir at Rincon High School. She also loved karaoke, occasionally working as a karaoke host.

Addiction hides in the faces of everyday people all around us. Stefani isn't just another statistic or just "another one gone too soon." She was loved by her friends and family, and can never be replaced.

Those who have experienced addiction or the addiction of loved ones must share what they know. Families, friends, and the community should be honest about their pain and struggles, so others may understand and feel less alone, less confused, less ashamed, and less angry. Tear down whatever obstacles are in the way of reaching out, obstacles of fear and anger, shame and stigma. Stefani and her loved ones did not always succeed at this, but it is important to try. The best way to honor Stefani is for people who read this or knew her to think twice before judging an addict. It is the family's hope that those efforts will lead to better outcomes for other families.

Stefani is survived by her father Richard; stepmother Elizabeth (Liz) Starffin Kurz; and fiancé Ricardo Montanez, all of Tucson; brothers Matthew Kurz (Robin) of Saint Matthews, S.C., Sean Kurz (partner Leslie Stanley) of Mesa, and Anthony (Tony) Kurz of Tucson; stepsister Kimberlee Duncan of Coppell, Texas; and stepbrother Douglas Duncan of Hutto, Texas. She is also survived by her niece and biological daughter Shelbi Kurz of Clemson, S.C.; biological daughter Ilianna Maggio, of Waxhaw, N.C.; niece Cady Kurz, of Clemson, S.C.; niece Alice Kurz of Tucson; and many other family members and friends.

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She was predeceased by her mother Christina and her stepfather Neale Wendell Duncan, formerly of Vail.

Due to COVID, no formal services are planned at this time. An informal remembrance may occur at some point in the future. Anyone who would like to reach out to the family can contact her brother Matthew at mattckurz@gmail.com or on Facebook.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in memory of Stefani to The Haven, Hard Luck Hounds, or Equine Voices Rescue & Sanctuary.

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