Louise Frances Zaruba Marek, 102, of East Bernard, passed away peacefully at her residence on July 29, 2019.
Louise was born Aug. 21, 1916, to the late Richard and Frances Hamala Zaruba in Frydek, Texas. Her mother was an immigrant from Czechoslovakia. Her father was born in Rexville, Texas. She attended school in Frydek until the eigh grade and then attended high school in Wallis. Louise furthered her education at the University of Texas in Austin where she majored in English, Spanish, and Czech. She graduated from the University of Texas in 1942. Louise’s first language was Czech, and she enjoyed teaching the writing and reading of the Czech language to high school students.
Louise’s teaching career began in 1942 in Concord, near Needville, Texas. She taught for seven years at Central located between Wallis and East Bernard. She then taught in the Bernard Prairie School until it combined with East Bernard. She taught second grade for many years, and then taught the Title 1 Reading and Language Arts program.
During World War II, Louise worked in the summers for Brown and Root and Hughes Tool Company in Houston with her sister, Martha. She retired from teaching in 1981 after 29 years; 17 of which were spent in the East Bernard Independent School District. She had a profound impact on many of her students and was known for her patience, kindness, and belief that all children could learn.
Louise lived most of her adult life in East Bernard. After a short courtship that included going to many dances, Louise married Albert William Marek of Wallis at the Yoakum Catholic Church on Sept. 1, 1947, her husband of 70 years. They were blessed with three daughters who followed in Louise’s footsteps to be educators.
Louise took several years off from teaching to raise her daughters. She enjoyed sewing clothes for them, gardening, and cooking. Later Louise enjoyed cooking and baking for her large family. Louise was a beloved grandmother and great-grandmother and was actively involved in the lives of each of her grandchildren.
She was well known for her kolaches, chocolate chip cookies, pies (especially chocolate meringue), cakes, fried biscuit donuts, chicken noodle soup, Thanksgiving dressing, fluffy dumplings, buttermilk pancakes, bread pudding, and hot cocoa. She made sure to pass down all of these exceptional recipes to her daughters and grandchildren. No one ever went hungry at Grandma’s house!
The grandchildren have memories of their grandma wearing her green jumper and big straw hat to protect herself from the sun while picking her vegetable garden with all of the grandchildren. Everyone loved the pickles Louise canned from fresh cucumbers from her garden. Her grandchildren have many fond memories of Grandma babysitting them.
Louise loved to spend countless hours telling the grandchildren stories and talking about life at the university. She enjoyed reading anything and everything. Louise loved to watch “As the World Turns”, “Guiding Light”, and later the “Young and the Restless” soap operas. She was also active in the Altar Society for Holy Cross Catholic Church, taught CCD classes for many years, and volunteered for vacation Bible school.
In addition to her parents, Louise was preceded in death by her husband, Albert William Marek, and sister, Martha Zaruba.
Louise is survived by her loving daughters, Madeleine Peace and husband, John, Mary Kay Williams and Sharon Fay Taylor all of East Bernard, grandchildren, Kristie Taylor and husband, John Duggan, Chris Allison and wife Shae, Katie Allison, Frannie Williams, Claire Williams and
Carl Williams and wife, Valerie, and great-grandchildren, Presley Allison, Paisley Allison, Elizabeth Williams and Tyler Williams, and step-grandchildren, Cash Menard and Carson Menard, sister Mary Sobotik and husband, Jesse of Houston, and brother-in-law Alvin Marek and wife, Ann of Wallis, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to offer heartfelt thanks to longtime caregivers, Lupe Flores and Maria Grijalva. A special thank you to Dr. Larry Penick of Rice Medical Associates and Houston Hospice - El Campo.
Visitation was held on Aug. 1 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in East Bernard with a parish rosary recited at 7 p.m. A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Aug. 2 at Holy Cross Catholic Church in East Bernard with Father Charles Otsiwah officiating. The Rite of Committal and burial followed in the Holy Cross Cemetery in East Bernard. Serving as pallbearers were Chris Allison, Carl Williams, Mainer Gavranovic, John Duggan, Mark Sobotik, and James Marek.
Memorials may be made in Louise’s memory to the Holy Cross Catholic Church. Funeral services under the direction of Wharton Funeral Home. Condolences may be left at whartonfuneralhome.com.