Remembering Jerome A. Dulski July 27, 1937 – February 11, 2022
Jerome Arthur Dulski was born July 27th, 1937, to Honora and Walter Dulski and was raised in Chicago with his three brothers, Walter, Joseph and George and sister Ann who preceded her brothers in death in infancy. Jerry was Chicago born and grandson of Polish immigrants.
Growing up on Chicago’s West side, (affectionately called, “Little Italy), Jerry enjoyed the ‘Old Neighborhood’ with his close friends, Angelo Tarullo, Joe and Tony Arrigo, and Joe DeRosa. As a teen, he wanted to, but was not allowed to attend Harrison High School, because there was a requirement to learn Italian. (Secretly, Jerry believed that the real reason he wasn’t allowed was because he wasn’t Italian.)
Through mutual friends JoAnn Trotta and Setta Laterza, Jerry met Marlene Raymond. These became the group that hung out at the neighborhood pizza joint. Jerry and Marlene tied the knot on Apr. 18, 1959.
Jerry and Marlene have two children; Jerry chose both of their names; Karen was born on February 2nd, 1960, and Greg, born on August 18, 1961.
After Karen was born, Jerry and Marlene moved into an attic apartment, then rented a house in Norridge. And in 1965 purchased their first house in Glendale Heights and raised their family there. Both Karen and Greg were educated at St. Matthew’s School, the grammar school connected to their home parish; Jerry felt that a parochial education was the best education for his children over public school.
Jerry would describe his life gratefully, as “very blessed”. He thrived and found fullness of meaning in the worlds of art, and classical, popular and sacred music. He made a lifetime commitment to adopt and embrace music and humor; and passed it on to both his family and the greater church and community. His daughter Karen remembers being mesmerized as a toddler, watching him play the violin in the living room with his slick-back black hair, white tee-shirt, narrow black leather dress belt and navy blue 1960’s dress slacks.
Jerry always loved to sing. He blessed congregations with his sweet, powerful tenor voice. In Jerry’s youth, he served as an altar boy. The masses in those days were in Latin and He sang in the church choir from his youth throughout his adult life in the churches he attended. Of the many childhood stories Jerry shared with family, he remembers climbing up the school building to the roof. There, he was inspired to sing an opera song on top of his lungs; this is when a wacky touchy old guy from the neighborhood screamed out of his apartment window yelling for Jerry to shut up as the ‘ol guy shot off his rifle; Jerry dropped down and hit the deck!
At St. Matthew’s annual Christmas services in Glendale Heights, it became the church’s annual tradition to have Jerry sing, “O Holy Night” at midnight mass. A nun at that perish, Sister Mary Claire, frequently commented that she would expect to hear voices so sweet and strong in heaven, whenever she gets there! Once upon a time, Jerry and Marlene went to the Lyric Opera House in downtown Chicago, when Jerry auditioned to be in the famous choir. The intense scheduling of the Lyric Opera with its rehearsals kept him from accepting the position as Tenor in the choir.
Also, Jerry had quite a competitive bone in his body; as a kid, he played baseball in Peanut Park and played hockey with his friends. As a young man, Jerry joined the bowling team and was an excellent player; he later played tennis, also, played ping pong and handball. Jerry was a faithful hockey fan even up to his last week in the hospital as he watched The Blackhawks lose another game. Now that is loyalty! In the early days, he brought Marlene to numerous hockey games on Madison Street in the city, at nighttime! In the 1960’s, while working as a salesman for the Butler Paper Company, he acquired seasonal tickets to Blackhawk and Cubs games to take business clients during the winter months and the summer months.
Once, Jerry veered off the client list and brought Karen, Greg and his father, Walter to a Cubs game on company tickets on a beautiful summer’s day. The seats were right behind home plate. It turned out to be an important and great win for the Cubs when player Don Kessinger hit a home run with bases loaded. It made the news. The next day at work, before Jerry arrived at his desk, his boss laid the sports page face up that showed Don Kessinger landing on home plate. In back of home plate, there, as clear as day, Jerry, Grandpa, Karen and Greg were jumping for joy, clearly visible for all to see. The thing is, the Cubs game was on a workday and Jerry did not ask his boss for the day off, (awkward), and it goes without saying, taking the family to a game without his clients was a no no. Jerry remembers that his work buddies near his desk found this to be very humorous.
Jerry Dulski was a natural born salesman. After years of selling paper for Butler Paper Company in DesPlains, IL., Jerry became a self-taught pianist and organist; Jerry took on a part time job selling Conn theater organs in Park Ridge, IL. His love for his work and his passion for worship music culminated and progressed into his middle-of-life career selling electronic church organs to churches in the Cincinnati Ohio region for twenty-two years.
Jerry and Marlene Dulski moved to Cincinnati in 1982. His business opened a showroom with organ and keyboards in Loveland Ohio where they also bought a house just minutes away. Jerry named his business, “Classic Organ Installations”. And, Jerry became one of the highest sales representatives of Rogers Classical Organs for the Midwest. Jerry became known for having a talent in what is referred to as, “voicing”. This is when the organ sounds or stops are calibrated to make the instrumental sounds sound more like a pipe organ than an electronic organ; it creates a more natural and realistic presence in the hall or church. Churches would call on him specifically to do this work as he was a voicing expert. In Cincinnati, Jerry and Marlene faithfully served at Faith Bible Church, and yes, Jerry sang tenor in the choir.
In retirement, Jerry and Marlene decided to move back to Illinois, along with Marlene’s mother, Mary Raymond who is now with the Lord. They built a ranch house in unincorporated McHenry, IL. and attended Fox Valley Christian Reformed Church for about a decade with Pastor George Cooper and later, Pastor Dan Gregory and now, Pastor Brandon Wilkins. Jerry played the organ faithfully every worship service along with Linda Kragt, pianist. For a time, Jerry and Linda stretched their duet musically and entered into a more Contemporary worship service with his daughter Karen who led the congregational singing. The team comprised of Karen, guitarist and Lia McCoo, vocals and flute, Jerry on the organ and Linda on piano, became the church’s contemporary worship band while Jerry still played a full classical organ! Jerry became a congregational Elder at Fox Valley Christian Reformed Church for several years.
In mid-2008, Jerry had a heart attack that led to a five-artery bypass and renal failure. Jerry is known by many, including his doctors and medical technicians, to have amazing endurance and strength. He began dialysis treatments three times per week for nearly five hours each day, beginning three years after his heart attack. After eleven years of being on dialysis, Jerry’s heart became critically weakened. Finally, several health complications ensued, and Jerry’s body and heart could not continue to sustain him. His spirit was willing, but his body became too weak. Even on his final day with his family around his hospital bed, just before he would no longer be conscious, Jerry made the statement that he was not giving up, yet. Jerry was a fighter and he held on to Hope. He persisted to live to the end.
Jerry is a grandfather to Nathaniel Arthur who was born, Aug. 10, 1995, who is married to Danielle just over a year ago. His granddaughter Rebekah, born on May 12, 1997, is now engaged to be married to David Olsen.
Some fun facts about Jerry:
He played several characters in Show Boat skits, fundraisers for St. Celestines in Elmwood Park, IL. (Two such characters Jerry performed were Crazy Guggenheim and W.C. Fields.) Jerry and Marlene had ‘ol friends over for parties for many years at their house. They were called, “The Group”. Jerry was at his best when he spent time with his friends.
He sang at various churches, bars, weddings and events.
He hosted organ concerts at churches with friend and colleague, Rodney Barbour.
He traveled to the Caribbean, Hawaii, Europe, and took his family on trips to a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Dollywood and Disney World.
He liked to go skeet shooting with his buddies.
He liked to buy clothes and jewelry for his wife and daughter and when he did, people always complimented them on their taste in fashion.
He likes old movies, watched TCM with Marlene regularly.
He loves humor and has a good sense of it.
His favorite Bible book is Psalms
His favorite Psalm is Psalm 23
He read the Psalms every day before starting work.
He loved the Lord Jesus with his heart, prayed for his friends and family, served in the church and is a generous person.
He prayed for family and friends with Marlene every night before bed.
At a point in his young adult years, he considered becoming a priest.
He wanted to be an Air Force pilot but was stopped by the news of the birth of his first child. He recorded a solo Cd, ” Just for Kicks”.
Jerry and Marlene were married 62 years this April 2022.
A few memories of Jerry by family members:
When Karen’s Dad tucked her in bed at night, he would bring up into view from the footboard own white stocking in character, named, “Socks”, Jerry’s original hand puppet. “As Dad imitated a very strange and weird puppet voice that kinda sounded like Daffy Duck, it made me laugh. Then, he tickled me with Socks. That was pretty much the only energy I had left in me before I fell quickly asleep.”
Greg remembers Jerry taking him trap shooting with a shot gun. “Scary, but fun.” Greg remembers playing tennis with Dad, Joe Arrigo and Tony Arrigo and golfing… “Dad taught me how to golf.”
Karen and Greg remember going to Hockey games…”climbing ninety-four stairs to our seats. Yikes.”
Jerry’s granddaughter, Rebekah, remembers the family going to the Butterfly Museum in Branson MO. “Grandpa had on a yellow shirt. So many butterflies landed on him because he was wearing a bright yellow shirt.”
Cyndi remembers when Jerry wasn’t enjoying much in the day to day, from health circumstances; but he would always light up when Rebekah showed up or told him a story. She remembers Grandpa watching the grand-kids and the joy he always had when he would talk to them or see them. The last day Rebekah was able to speak with her grandfather in the hospital, she managed to get a smile out of him…
On Monday Feb 7th, Jerry really perked up when he was able to last speak to his grandson Nathaniel.
These are the memories that just scratch the surface about our Jerry. For now, we’ll miss you Jerry, but we will see you again in the glory of our Resurrected Messiah, Yeshua, aka, Jesus.
Visitation will be held at the Justen Funeral Home and Crematory, 3700 W. Charles J. Miller Road, McHenry, IL, on Monday, February 21, 2022, from 10:30 -12:00 pm. Funeral Blessing will follow at 12:00 pm. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, IL at 2:00 pm.
For information, please contact the funeral home at 815-385-2400, or visit www.justenfh.com, where friends and loved ones may share memories of Jerry on his tribute wall.