Sunday, June 20, 2004
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM EDT
Monday, June 21, 2004
10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
Life Story / Obituary
Educated in the Jesuit tradition, which emphasized community service, Cathy rejoiced in helping others. Cathy dedicated her life to serving those less fortunate. During her youth, Cathy and her family spent their Thanksgiving’s working at nearby homeless shelters. In high school Cathy traveled to Peru to work with the poor. She studied social work and education in college, and spent her adult life serving in the Peace Corps, teaching in inner-city schools and working with underprivileged children. Cathy’s strong faith and Jesuit education firmly instilled within her the ability to help others, and the willingness to do so. A deeply spiritual and service-driven woman, Cathy’s life exemplified the Jesuit motto - “Become a man for others.”
Cathy was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 21, 1969, to proud parents Leonard and Catherine (Delahanty) Bielski. Cathy was the middle child in a family of five. Born at St. Vincent Hospital, Cathy was the baby of the family until her younger sisters came along seven years later. A close-knit family, the Bielski’s lived in the North Willow Farms neighborhood. It was a daily tradition for the family to gather around the table for a warm home-cooked meal prepared by mom. After dinner, the family often took to playing games together or engaged in a lengthy conversation about the day’s events.
When Cathy’s younger sisters, Christine and Mary, were born, Cathy enjoyed playing with them and watching them grow. She acted as a role model to her younger sisters, teaching them “to become girls.” She loved doing their hair and dressing them up. Both Christine and Mary fondly remember how Cathy would always French braid their hair whenever they asked. Cathy only recently told them that she did this because she wanted her younger sisters to always look good.
Always affectionate, Cathy loved being a "human blanket." In fact, her brothers still remember how Cathy always wanted to cuddle when she was a child. In the ultimate show of affection Cathy challenged her dad to see who could give 10 thousand kisses in a year and kept a tally. This may not have been that tough of a challenge considering it was not uncommon for the Bielski's to give 100 kisses after a family dinner! Finally, in 1979, Cathy finished the challenge in the Ozarks while attending a conference there with her dad, giving the final kiss in front of 200 people.
For most of her youth Cathy attended St. Luke, a parochial school on the northside of Indianapolis, although the Bielski family briefly moved to the Chicago area when Cathy was in the 6th grade. Up until this point Cathy had been a relatively shy young lady, but the move to Chicago made her come out of her shell to make new friends. Her family noticed that Cathy’s personality really began to blossom during the two years they spent in Chicago. The same year that the Bielski’s moved to Chicago, Cathy had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii with her father on a business trip. Her father remembers how Cathy loved being the “little princess” on that trip - swimming at the beautiful beaches and staying in upscale hotels.
Just two years later the Bielski’s returned to Indianapolis, where Cathy resumed high school at Brebeuf Jesuit High. Characterized as “the life of the party,” Cathy’s sense of humor and fun-loving nature made her extremely popular with her high school classmates. Cathy was an active member of the school’s swim team, and during summers, she taught swim lessons and worked as a lifeguard at Meridian Hills County Club. It was during high school that Cathy had the experience of traveling to Peru on a service project. Here her interest in helping others was truly born.
Following her graduation from high school in 1987, Cathy attended Xavier University in Cincinnati, a school steeped in Jesuit traditions. She pursued social work and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor’s degree in the field. Cathy also participated on the Xavier Crew team, which required her to be up bright and early for practices on the Ohio River. .
Following her days in Cincinnati,, Cathy took a relaxing job at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. She traveled with her best friend Julie, and the two girls worked at the resort for six months to unwind after a stressful and busy four years of school. While working at the resort, Cathy met lots of nice people. One person she met who was not so much to her liking was a man by the name of John Dubois. John was there to visit a friend and have a good time, but in Cathy’s opinion he was just too loud and partied a little too hard for her taste.
Ironically, Cathy would meet John Dubois again in 1996, at the wedding of her best friend Julie to Andy Wilcox. Cathy had a much more favorable opinion of John after their second meeting and she decided to pursue a relationship with him. Unfortunately John lived in Newport, Rhode Island at the time, while Cathy lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, splitting her time between teaching at inner-city schools in Detroit and pursuing her Master’s degree in education at the University of Michigan. In between their meetings Cathy had also served two years working with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. Despite the distance a romance blossomed between the couple and, after two years of long-distance dating, they were married on June 27, 1998 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Carmel, Indiana.
Soon John and Cathy began their family, bringing two beautiful daughters into the world - Caitlin, born in 2000 and Lauren, born in 2002. Cathy’s first love was being a mom. In the same way she pampered her younger sisters, she always enjoyed dressing her daughters up and fastening their hair with pretty bows and accessories. She taught the girls both how to swim, an activity that Cathy and her two daughters often engaged in.
John and Cathy both shared a long time dream to live in the south, in an area where their children could play outside year-round. It just so happened that John received a promotion which allowed the family to move to Florida, where they bought their dream home! Complete with a back yard, pool and plenty of interior space, the Dubois’ had found the perfect place to raise their family.
In Florida, Cathy continued her involvement with Junior League, a service designed to help underprivileged children. She originally became involved in the program while teaching in Detroit. She loved both the challenges, and the rewards, or working with underprivileged children. Cathy believed she was living her dream, and she did everything within her power to better the lives of others around her.
Church was an important element of Cathy’s life from a very young age. She believed in the power of prayer and was driven by her faith and deep spirituality in all aspects of her life. Aside from her Lord, Cathy valued family and friends above all else. Her warm, bubbling personality, combined with her genuine interest in others and her quirky sense of humor, always made Cathy a crowd favorite. Her group of friends included individuals from all corners of the globe.
Family was so important to Cathy that, even on her wedding day, she chose to stay and celebrate the entire reception with her family and friends. They all remember Cathy dancing for five hours at her wedding! Mostly likely, Cathy requested at least one song by each of her favorite artists - Sarah Mclaughlin and Barry Manilow - to dance to on her special day. Cathy always remembered to send cards or plan special events to celebrate important dates with her family. All of her siblings agree that Cathy was the glue that kept the Bielski brothers and sisters connected. In her life, Cathy was most proud of her wonderful daughters, her years of service with the Peace Corps, and her marriage to her best friend, John. Despite her first impression, Cathy grew to view John as her knight in shining armor. Her feelings of affection were returned in equal part as John described Cathy as super smart, pretty, and funny, in addition to being a wonderful wife and mother to their two daughters. Cathy always said that it didn’t get any better than where she was in life - except for in heaven. John and Cathy were able to spend 10 luxurious days in Hawaii this past March to celebrate their 5th wedding anniversary - a vacation which will always remain one of John’s most cherished memories..
Sadly, Cathy passed away in a sudden and unexpected manner. On the evening of June 14th, Cathy called for help, fainted, and never regained consciousness. It has been determined that Cathy suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage - there was no warning, no bad habits, no logic. Her family surrounded her at her hospital bed, holding her hand, sharing favorite memories, and whispering “I love you’s.” John stayed by her side until the end, holding her hand and sharing his love. Although her family and friends are deeply grieved by the early loss of Cathy from their lives, they can take comfort in the fact that Cathy passed away the way she wanted to - surrounded by those she loved the most.
Catherine E. (Bielski) Dubois, of Winter Garden, FL, formerly of Indianapolis, IN, died suddenly on June 15, 2004 at the age of 34. Cathy is survived by her husband John C. Dubois; her two daughters, Caitlin and Lauren; her parents, Leonard and Catherine (Delahanty) Bielski; and her siblings, Leonard J., Edward G., Christine, and Mary Bielski.
Friends and family are invited to gather on Sunday, June 20, 2004, from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Leppert Mortuary, Nora Chapel. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10 a.m. in Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. Interment will be in Our Lady of Peace Cemetery. To read Cathy’s complete life story, share a memory, send flowers, or make a memorial contribution to the Caitlin and Lauren Dubois Education Fund, please visit her personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com.
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone could have just one ounce of the strength, devotion, faith, and commitment to service that our beloved Cathy had.