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Simunich, Paulett Michele (Bulick), 76, of Johnstown, PA went to be with her Lord on March 5, 2021, from COVID-19. Born in Franklin Borough on June 20, 1944, Paulett graduated from Franklin High School and then earned a degree from the Maryland Medical Secretarial College (Hagerstown, MD). Returning to Johnstown, she worked as a medical assistant for Dr. William Frank until her marriage in 1971.
She is survived by her husband of 49 years, Thomas John Simunich, Jr., her two children, son, Thomas Jason Simunich (48), Johnstown; and daughter, Bethany Ann Simunich PhD (46), Cuyahoga Falls, OH; her brother Peter Michael Bulick, sister-in-laws Frances Santichen, Maryann Masoryak, and Anna Marie Mowry, many cherished cousins, nieces, and nephews, as well as extended family in her ancestral village of Jarabina, Slovakia, including Ivan Bulík, Nadezda Petríková, Anna Hončárová, Božena Lesigova and so many other beloved family members. She is preceded in death by parents Peter and Julia Bulick, aunt, Margaret (Mino) Moran, uncle, John Mino, sister-in-law Catherine Buchan-Haebich, and Ivan and Victoria Bulík (Jarabina, Slovakia).
Paulett had many passions in her life, and truly was at her best when she could share those passions with others. She was passionate about education, serving on the Richland School Board and the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education (P.A.G.E.). She passed this love on to her children, both of whom are employed in fields related to education/educational research.
Many knew Paulett as the “Pysanky Lady”. She began painting pysanky Easter eggs at age 9, and for five decades taught classes on the folk art to hundreds of people eager to learn this ancient tradition. For many years, Paulett and her pysanky were constants at the Johnstown Ethnic Fest and most recently the Johnstown Slavic Festival. Locally, her art has been exhibited at the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center (Johnstown) and the Community Arts Center of Johnstown. In 2010, an expert juried panel chose Paulett’s work to join the traveling exhibit, Making It Better: Folk Arts in Pennsylvania Today, alongside that of 30 other master artists. She pursued the arts throughout her life, singing in the church choir, her high school choir, as well as the Johnstown Symphony Chorale, and learned to play piano as an adult. With her family, she enjoyed many evenings filled with music and song by the Johnstown Symphony, at Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, and the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.
Paulett also loved educating others on her Carpatho-Rusyn heritage, and was fluent in the language. In 2009, fulfilling a lifelong dream nurtured by her father, Paulett immersed herself in her Carpatho-Rusyn heritage when she travelled to Slovakia and connected with her relatives in Jarabina. She was also grateful and honored to have been asked to speak at several ceremonies honoring her Carpatho-Rusyn relative, Sgt. Michael Strank, USMC, and to have been interviewed for the Strank documentary, Our Flag Still Waves.
Paulett was a person of deep and loving faith. In her youth, she attended Holy Trinity Byzantine Catholic Church (Conemaugh, PA). After marriage, she joined St. Rochus Parish, where she was active in many St. Rochus Arts Festivals and teaching the art of pysanky. Annually, her pysanky and those of her students adorned the Easter Tree inside the church. Paulett re-joined Holy Trinity Byzantine Catholic Church in 2009, participated in various church functions, and frequently donated her pysanky for raffles, auctions, and special occasions. Through decades of prayer, correspondence, and years of attendance at the Mount Saint Macrina Otpust (Uniontown, PA), she nourished a deep connection with the Sisters of the Byzantine Catholic Order of St. Basil the Great.
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, visitation and a funeral service will not be held. At a future date, a Sunday Liturgy at Holy Trinity Byzantine Catholic Church will be offered for the Repose of her Soul.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to the Carptho-Rusyn Society – Slavjane Folk Ensemble (https://carpathorusynsociety.wildapricot.org/Make-A-Donation), Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great at Mount St. Macrina (https://sistersofstbasil.org/make-a-gift/donations-online/), and Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center (http://bottleworks.org/donate/). Donations for a Liturgy at Holy Trinity Byzantine Catholic Church in remembrance of Paulett would be appreciated.
Her family wishes to thank the nurses, doctors, and staff of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and Select Specialty Hospital-Johnstown who have given so much in this pandemic to comfort those, like Paulett, who die from COVID, not being able to be surrounded and held by family and friends.
Arrangements are in the care of Hindman Funeral Homes. Condolences may be made at HindmanFuneralHomes.com