Ethel Mae Dulak, age 70, passed away on November 9th, 2020. She was born June 17th, 1950 to Gary and Evelyn Johnson in Katy, Texas where she grew up and graduated from Katy High School in 1968. At the time, Katy was a 2A school with 60 students in her graduating class. She was always in awe of how the little town she grew up in, swimming in the rice field tanks, being a Girl Scout, drinking fresh cream from the local family dairy and getting into small-town shenanigans, could grow into such a massive community known all over the state. She loved telling the tale of going into downtown Houston to pick out an Easter dress with her mother and sister. They were going to town!
She attended Victoria Junior College where she met John Dulak. She was taking notes, in shorthand, when he leaned over her shoulder and asked how he was going to copy her notes if she was writing in secret code. She transferred to Sam Houston State University to complete her business degree and married John Dulak in May of 1972. They lived in Houston while he completed his Chiropractic Degree and moved to Corpus Christi to start their lives and family.
Ethel taught business and typing for many years at several different private and public schools. Shannon Junior High, Martin Middle School and Del Mar College were lucky enough to have her as a teacher. She always told her students that they started the grading period with an A and all they had to do was keep it. She became a stay at home mom for several years but was employed on and off throughout her life. She worked at Port Royal Condominiums, Dinardo's Luggage and Gifts, Flour Bluff ISD, Temple Beth Israel, and most recently with the Diocese of Corpus Christi where she taught classes on Stewardship. She dearly loved working with all the priests, staff and parishioners from all over the Diocese. She treasured all of these relationships and the friendships made until the very end.
She was deeply involved in her community. She was a founding member of St. Andrew by the Sea Church serving as treasurer, lector and teaching Sunday School (much to her children's chagrin) at their dining room table. She dipped her toes into the public arena when she was elected to the Flour Bluff School Board. Her ability to connect with people and have a true understanding of what teachers were facing, but also understand the business side of a large, growing school district made her an ideal board member. "The Girls" became a group of friends that she could always count on. You know who you are. She became heavily involved in the Relay for Life organization through the American Cancer Society. The friends she made there were truly life-changing. She had lost her sister to breast cancer years prior and her son Josh fought two rounds against lymphoma and won.
While she was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 1997, she had the kidney removed with no further treatment. In October of 2012, her battle against cancer became more personal. She was diagnosed with lung cancer despite never having smoked in her life. She found that lung cancer is very prevalent in women, killing more women than breast, ovarian and cervical cancer combined. Due to the stigma that lung cancer carries, tragically, funding to fight this disease is significantly less. This disease slowly became her life. It overshadowed everything and that really ticked her off. She was so much more than this disease. She was a wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister-in-law and friend to many. She could write in shorthand, drive a standard clutch, had the prettiest blue eyes but couldn't gargle, and thought her knees were ugly. She loved nothing more than an ice-cold Dr. Pepper, a plate of fried shrimp, and a piece of New York-style cheesecake. She was determined to be a part of her grandchildren's lives, going on two separate Disney vacations, and riding Every Single Ride she possibly could. Avatar forever! She was so much more than this disease.
She is preceded in death by her parents Gary and Evelyn and her sister Linda, whom she missed dearly. She is survived by her husband of 47 years, Dr. John Dulak, 2 children, Megan Gordon (John), and Joshua Dulak, and 3 grandchildren, Brenna, Conner, and Piper Gordon. Her sisters-in-law Dr. Catherine Dulak (Apu) and Carolyn Dulak (David Lawhon), nieces and nephews Wade and Craig Johnson, and Alex and Sarah Lawhon.
The family would like to thank the Doctors that provided Ethel's care over the last 8 years, especially Dr. Lauren Byers at MD Anderson. She truly connected with Ethel and remembered that she was, very much, more than the disease. While they, of course, spoke of cancer and treatments, there was always time for catching up about families, grandkids, and the state of the world. Her PCP in Corpus, Dr. Pam Smith, was a godsend when trying to figure out the jigsaw puzzle that was Ethel's health. They both became more than just a Doctor… They were friends who also saw so much more than the disease. For this, we are profoundly grateful.
All services will be on Thursday, November 19th. The Memorial Rosary is at 11:00 a.m, followed by the Memorial Mass at 11:30 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church. A Graveside service at 1:00 p.m. at Seaside Memorial Park with a lunch for family and friends directly following at St. Pius X fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society, St. Pius Church X, or a charity of your choice. Please help make the world a better place.
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