Dolores Zapalac Schumann, 87, passed away Sunday, February 05, 2017.
Dolores was born December 30, 1929 to Willie D. and Albina (Pesek) Zapalac on their beautiful farm on the outskirts of Schulenburg, Texas. Growing up on the farm, she learned about plants and animals and became a more observant person of nature.
She married William L. (Bill) Schumann August 7, 1950 in St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Schulenburg. She soon became an Army wife when Bill was called to serve in the Korean Conflict.
Her four children were her “grandest legacy and pride and joy.” Dolores devoted her life to help her children excel in school, church, sports and any endeavors they chose. She encouraged her children to travel and learn about different cultures. As teenagers, the four children participated in the People to People Ambassador Program where they stayed with host families in nine countries across Europe. In return, Dolores and Bill played host to exchange students from Germany, Switzerland and Peru, as well as 4-H club members from the United States.
Dolores was especially proud of her husband’s role as County Extension Agent in Comal County because she felt “it was the best place in the world.” In 1966, they moved to New Braunfels and this became “home” for their family. The rest is history.
In 1981, while president of the Guada Coma Garden Club, Dolores noticed something unique about the many species of trees growing in Landa Park. With the help of Bill, experts were called in from the forestry department of Texas A&M University and the Texas Forest Services to identify the tree species growing exclusively in Landa Park. To the experts’ surprise and delight, they identified 49 different species of trees, making it the richest tree area in Texas. Based on this, she convinced the members of the garden club to sponsor an arboretum in Landa Park. In 1981 New Braunfels had a city-approved arboretum: The Living Library of Trees. Dolores intended that this richly endowed tree area serve as an educational resource for students, residents and tourists. Today, the arboretum has 80 species of trees.
In 2007, much to Dolores’ embarrassment, the City of New Braunfels renamed the Landa Park Arboretum the William and Dolores Schumann Arboretum.
Dolores and Bill spent hours, which led into days, watering trees and fighting to keep the trees healthy. Her mission was to have each tree be a perfect example of the species, and she made her concerns known to the city officials until her death. It was her expectation that if the arboretum was to serve as an educational venue, then it should be maintained as an example of good tree cultivation and nothing else.
Together, Dolores and Bill continued their study of trees by attending seminars and visiting arboretums and botanical gardens in Europe, Seattle, New York City, Orlando, St. Paul and Fullerton, California.
In her study of trees in Landa Park, Dolores and her best friend, the late Joyce Kolodzie, noticed a 300-year-old Live Oak tree in the middle of Landa Park being abused by climbers. Together, the ladies campaigned to “Save the Oak.” On June 14, 1986, they convinced the community to make the historic relic, affectionately called the Founder’s Oak, the Texas Sesquicentennial Project. In 2012, Mayor Gale Pospisil read a proclamation naming Founder’s Oak a “Famous Tree of Texas” in honor of Dolores and Joyce.
Dolores has three trees planted in her honor in the arboretum and was the recipient of many arboretum-related awards, including: Individual Achievement Award of the 1996 Texas Community Forestry Awards from the Texas Forest Service and the Texas Urban Forestry Council; Presidential Citation as “The Founding Mother of Landa Park Arboretum” by the President of Texas Garden Clubs; Recognition by the National Arbor Day Foundation; Presidential Citation from the State and Garden Clubs; named Unsung Hero by the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung; named by the Comal-Guadalupe Soil and Water Conservation District #306 as the “2008 District Winner for Outstanding Conservation Homemaker” and in 2009 as the “Texas Soil and Water Conservation Region III Conservation Homemaker.”
Dolores often combined her passion for trees with her love of writing. She wrote and directed a documentary on Landa Park. To Dolores’s delight, the video was shown on the big screen in the Brauntex Performing Arts at the First International Film Festival in 2009. It can be viewed on You Tube. She also wrote a brochure titled “Harry Landa Self-Guiding Tree Trail and Growing Guide” that earned the national Lawrence Enersen Award in 1997 presented in Nebraska by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Besides the arboretum, Dolores was involved with several other projects in the community. She served in many offices in the Guada Coma Garden Club; co-chaired the first Water Symposium with her husband in 2006; organized and served as an officer in the Friends for the Preservation of Historic Landa Park; served on the Board of Raven Star Outdoor Education; was a charter member of the Bereavement Committee in Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church; and helped with 4-H activities for thirty years.
Dolores and Bill received the Raven Star Plant Heroes Award in 2011 for their dedication to the environment and youth of their community.
Dolores was a member of Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church and several organizations, including: St. Ann’s Christian Mothers & Altar Society; Guada Coma Garden Club; Friends of the Preservation of Historic Landa Park; Herman Sons Lodge No. 21; Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary 2999 (lifetime member); Gruene Orchid Society (lifetime member); Texas Garden Clubs, Inc. (lifetime member); New Braunfels Garden Club; Raven Star Outdoor Education; and Social member D.R.T.
Her many hobbies included dancing, cooking, baking, photography, scrapbooking, gardening, flower arranging, writing and traveling.
In one of her travel stories, Dolores exposed and reported a suspected theft ring in the souvenir shop at the Statue of Liberty. For her alertness, Dolores was rewarded by the Statue of Liberty National Park System with a sterling silver image of the Statue of Liberty.
On August 22, 1967, Dolores received national fame when she was bitten by a coral snake and needed an emergency dose of antivenin. Herman Park Zoo in Houston was the closest place with the serum. The zoo officials arranged for nearby Ellington Air Force to fly the serum to New Braunfels. Astronaut William A. Anders flew a T-33 jet training plane to Randolph Field in San Antonio in record time. The serum was then delivered to New Braunfels. The mercy flight received wide acclaim for the speed of the delivery.
Dolores’ most enjoyable pastime was entertaining her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. She would photograph their time together and then send the children a small scrapbook as a remembrance of their time together.
Dolores’ deepest and most cherished love was for her family. She is survived by her loving husband of 66 years. She leaves behind four children: Diane S. Wood (Paul), Lawrence W. Schumann (Nicki), Glenda S. Boenig (Roy Lee), Ronald D. Schumann (Elena); six grandchildren: Lauren S. Bauer (Steven), Dr. Catherine B. Parra (Albert Parra, M.D.), William Schumann II (Kayla), Ashley S. Pampe (Derek), Michael Boenig (Kelsie), E. Mitchell Schumann (fiancé Carmen Pina); three step grandchildren: Daniel Wood, Ekaterina (Katya) Sokolova (Grigory Sokolov), Antonina (Tonia) Krauklis Montez (Rodolfo Pena Montez III); eight greatgrandchildren: Owen and Adelaie Bauer, Alexa, Avery and Albert Parra Jr., Emma and Hadley Schumann, Tatum Boenig; three step great grandchildren: Lubov Sokolova, Leo Sokolov and Zoya Ann Montez; fifteen loving nephews and nieces, many great nephews and nieces and Godchildren Ismael Gonzalez Jr., Austin Whatley, Alyssa Whatley, Adrian Graham and Amada Buys..
Dolores is preceded in death by her parents; sisters Dorothy M. Olson, Marzeline Z. Krupala and Bernice Guynes; grandson Jared Schumann; nephews Jack Guynes, David Neal Guyes and James Guynes; and niece Mary Lynn Schumann.
Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at Zoeller Funeral Home, 615 Landa Street, New Braunfels, Texas.
A Celebration of Life Funeral Mass will be held at 12:00 noon Friday, February 10 at Saints Peter &Paul Catholic Church, 386 Castell St., New Braunfels, Texas. Entombment will be at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Mausoleum on Common Street in New Braunfels, Texas.
Pallbearers are grandsons Steven Bauer, William L. Schumann II, E. Mitchell Schumann, Michael Boenig, Derek Pampe, Albert Parra, M.D., Rodolfo Pena Montez III and Daniel Wood.
Honorary pallbearers are her granddaughters, great grandchildren and godchildren.
Dolores wanted to especially thank her many friends and neighbors with her deep appreciation for their love. They are Mary Anne and Jimmie Higdon, Deanne, Jeff, Elliott and Griffin Hagelman, Wayne Herrera, Marie Offerman, Bill and Joyce (deceased) Kolodzie, Kay and Paul Nelson, Verna Mae Dean, Kenneth and Donna Gullett, Dolly (deceased) and Al Koehn, the Ismael and Margie Gonzalez Family, David and Kathy Whatley, all her loving dear nieces and nephews and especially her dear friend Irma and her husband Ramron Castilleja, who have looked after her and Bill in so many ways. These people made her life so complete, and she loved them so much. Dolores was so thankful for her friends and is sorry she can’t name all of them.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the charity of your choice or to Friends For The Preservation of Historic Landa Park, the SOS Food Bank or the CYO of Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church.