Dolores Theresa Debevec
LODI, WI/LONGMONT, CO. -Dolores Theresa Debevec – October 3, 1928 to November 26, 2019
A resounding chorus of “Well Hello Dolly” was heard in heaven when Dolores Theresa Debevec, age 91, passed away on November 26, 2019 in Longmont, Colorado.
Born in a farmhouse bedroom in Willard, Wisconsin on October 3, 1928, Dolores grew up in Chicago with her parents, Helen (Pekol) and Albin Zack (Zakrajsek) and her older brother, Ed. Her world turned upside down in 1942 when in the span of seven months, her father died unexpectedly and her brother entered the army and World War II.
The end of the war brought her brother back and the small family stayed connected with their larger family in Willard. On one of those frequent visits, Dolores was reacquainted with Ralph Joseph Debevec and they got engaged a short time later and married September 1, 1951. They had much in common, including an October 3rd birthday, with Ralph being born exactly one year before Dolores.
Their first years together were in Milwaukee and Madison until they purchased an old farm a few miles outside of Lodi, Wisconsin in 1959. They moved with their three small children (Cathy, Ed, and Barbara) and began a complete remodel of the old farmhouse. They eventually added three more children (David, Jim, and Judy) as they built a loving home and a full life. Dolores was a home-maker extraordinaire – baking from scratch, raising vegetables, canning tomatoes, jams, etc., sewing complete school wardrobes for her then-young children, refinishing furniture, and skillfully decorating and furnishing the farmhouse on a frugal budget.
They were members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Lodi and helped build a new church. Then the diocese changed parish boundaries and they found themselves in St. Thomas parish in Poynette where they proceeded to, you guessed it, build a new church. Dolores was an active member of the Omniana Department of the Lodi Woman’s Club and added her singing and dancing talents to several floor shows that raised funds for the public library. Her mother and step-father built a home on a section of the farm and the family developed a well-worn path over the hill and through the woods to Grandma’s house. The lure of Grandma’s strudel and potica was strong.
The couple started thinking about their retirement years and purchased a lot on Lake Wisconsin where they would build their new home. Before that dream could be realized, Ralph passed away October 28, 1975. Dolores held onto that dream and built a home on the lake where she lived with Jim and Judy for several years. They literally brought a piece of the farm to the new house, hauling rocks that were used to build a huge fireplace. She would sit at the dining table watching how the lake would change every day.
After Ed and David moved to Colorado and several visits there, Dolores decided to move to Colorado herself. She and her mother moved to Lafayette, Colorado in 1983 and were soon followed by Jim and Judy. After losing her mother in 1985, she decided she wanted to actually live in the mountains instead of only seeing them from afar so she moved to Evergreen in 1987 and proceeded to remodel yet another house. She lived alongside elk, mountain lions, bears, and hummingbirds. Barbara and her daughter Caite lived there with her until Barbara graduated from Metro in Denver. When they left, it became too much for Dolores to live there on her own, so she moved to the Longmont area and lived for many years in a converted workshop next to David and his family.
In subsequent years, Dolores traveled far and wide, sometimes following her children and sometimes heading off for an adventure of her own. She saw a lot of Alaska while visiting Ed and Barbara and considered it her second home. She went to Africa when Barbara was working there. Dolores, Barbara, and Caite went to Slovenia where she found a strong connection with her past. She returned to Wisconsin often and spent extended periods of time with her brother Ed in California.
In her free time, Dolores enjoyed playing scrabble, doing crossword puzzles, making potica and her Easter lamb cake, and crocheting things for her family. She and her brother Ed collected their reminiscences and family stories and co-wrote several detailed volumes on the history of the Pekol family and their lives in the Slovenian-American community of Willard, Wisconsin. She collaborated on countless holiday get-togethers and several larger Pekol family reunions. She will be remembered for her strong faith and her love of singing and playing the piano and organ. Her children and grandchildren were the light of her life.
Dolores was preceded in death by her husband Ralph Debevec, mother Helen Zulick, father Albin Zack, step-father Louis Zulick, and grandson Andrew Scott. She is survived by her brother Ed Zack of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA; children Cathy Debevec of Madison, WI; Ed (Jackie) Debevec of Fairbanks, AK; Barbara Debevec of Baltimore, MD; David (Carly) Debevec of Berthoud, CO; Jim (Lisa) Debevec of Grand Lake, CO; and Judy (Royal) Scott of Platteville, CO. She is also survived by her gandchildren: Caite, Andrea, Daniel, Paul, Rachel, Joshua, Sarah, Lisette, Matthew, Cisco, Brandon, Laurie, Laliya, Angelise, Wendy, Joseph, Josh, Amanda, and D.J. and 10 great grandchildren.
Visitation will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, December 6, 2019 followed by a Funeral Mass at 11:00, both at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 521 Fair Street, Lodi, WI. A reception will immediately follow burial at St. Patrick Cemetery.
“My life has had happiness, it has had tears, but most of all, it has had love. Every person in my life has had a special place in my heart. I have felt their love around me and, hopefully, they felt my love for them. Remember always, friends come and go, but families are forever.”
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