Sept. 16, 2021

Zella Jo Thode, 8, of Hutchinson, passed away in the embrace of her parents Thursday, Sept. 16, at Hutchinson Health. Celebration of life "Zellabration" was Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson. The Rev. Dave Wollan officiated. Eulogist was Stacey Schumann. Musicians were Kristen Matthews and Austin Willhite. Special music was "My Lighthouse" by Rend Collective, "'Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus" by Casting Crowns, and "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole.

Zella was born Feb. 22, 2013, at The Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. She was the daughter of Matthew and Sara (Daniels) Thode, and sister of Jones (10) and Hawkins (7). Zella was baptized as an infant Feb. 28, 2013, at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, with a Baptismal Blessing Nov. 2, 2014, at Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson.

For 8 1/2 years, we have had the pleasure to watch in amazement all that she had accomplished. She had proved countless doctors and specialists wrong and defied all odds against her through her two open-heart surgeries, multiple heart caths, and a long list of other procedures. She fought battle after battle with a smile on her face and usually a large bow in her hair. God had a special plan for her from the very beginning and we are so proud and blessed to have been alongside her during this journey.

Zella loved school and was currently attending third grade at Park Elementary School in Hutchinson. Zella enjoyed bossing her brothers around but was also their biggest fan. Her perfect day was going out for lunch with her bestie, Jamie, then browsing Target aisles until she found the one thing she just had to have. She loved Baby Yoda, opening surprise bags, video and arcade games, iPad and YouTube. Her favorite foods were chips and dip, pepperoni and pretzels.

Zella stole the hearts of many. She inspired us every day and showed that "special" has more to do with what you can do than what you can't. She brought people together with her bright personality and infectious smile. She made the world a better place and made us better people. Zella radiated kindness, love and joy.

Zella is deeply loved & brought immense joy to those around her. Blessed be her memory.

Zella is survived by her parents Matthew and Sara Thode; siblings, Jones and Hawkins Thode; grandparents, Timothy Thode and his wife Gail, Gary Daniels and his wife Sharon; great-grandparents, Florian Thode, Joyce Schmidt; best friend Jamie Johnson; many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends residing in the Hutchinson area.

Zella was preceded in death by her aunt Melissa Daniels; and great-grandparents, John Schmidt, Myron and Hazel Daniels, Vernice Thode, and Robert and Luella Gutormson.

Arrangements by Dobratz-Hantge Funeral Chapel in Hutchinson. Online obituaries and guestbook available at