Mario DeYulis, 58, retired Blacklick Valley teacher

Mario Thomas “Toad” DeYulis, a 1960 graduate of Nanty Glo-Vintondale High School and father of four, died July 6 after a brief and courageous battle with brain cancer at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y. DeYulis, 58, was a resident of Jackson Township and Tionesta. Born May 28, 1942, in Nanty Glo, he was the son of Anthony and Alma (Schirato) DeYulis. A eulogy recalled that he served as big brother to his several sisters and influenced the lives of thousands of teenagers in the classroom as a teacher in Blacklick Valley schools. 

“He was a leader, he came from a strong Italian Catholic family and he is going to be sadly missed," said Dan Llewellyn, a brother-in-law and longtime friend who was interviewed by the Nanty Glo Journal. "Students could learn from him, he was important to so many young lives.

“He was a big brother and a teacher who made it a point to spend time with all of the students, even the slower students. He made them feel important,” Llewellyn said. Mr. DeYulis taught geography in Blacklick Valley School District for 33 years, retiring in 1998. Earlier this year he contracted cancer of the brain stem. 

Barbara Lindsay Hakanen, a classmate in the Nanty Glo-Vintondale High School Class of 1960, recalled that the class had a 40th-anniversary reunion just five years before Mr. DeYulis died. “We had all taken time at the reunion on July 1st to write him personal notes, and pictures were taken to be sent to him. They all arrived too late, after he was already in a coma. Needless to say, the whole class is stunned by this sudden loss.”

Mr. DeYulis was married for 38 years to the former Kathleen Marhefka and the couple had four children and five grandchildren. When he wasn't in the classroom or spending time with his children and grandchildren, Mr. DeYulis could be found in the woods and along the steams in Cambria County and around the family cabin at Tionesta, Forest County, southeast of Erie. The cabin was a refuge for him and it served as a gathering place for family members, including Mr. Llewellyn, of Mentor, Ohio. “He was certainly at home in the woods and by a fishing stream,” Llewellyn said. 

For many years Mr. DeYulis shared the Tionesta refuge with friend Walt Galko of Nanty Glo, whom family members described Saturday as being “extremely broken up” over the loss of his lifelong friend. Mr. DeYulis took his love for hunting beyond normal bounds of scouring the woods for deer and small game. He added skeet shooting to hunting and in the mid-1990s captured a state championship in the sport. 

His time at home, especially following his retirement, was spent working in the soil. While an avid gardener, Mr. DeYulis was selective in what he grew. He reftised to “waste his time” on anything he couldn't eat. “He grew everything: berries, fruit trees, vegetables, but there were three things he didn't like,” Llewellyn said. “He didn't like getting dressed up, he didn't like flowers, and he didn't like game wardens.” 

A 1964 graduate of Indiana State Teachers College, Mr. Deyulis received his master's in education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969. Family members said he was referred to as “Mr. D” by his students. Mr. DeYulis was a member of St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church, Mundys Corner where funeral mass was celebrated by the Rev. Paul Robine, followed with burial at St. Charles Cemetery, Twin Rocks.

In addition to his wife and parents, he is survived by two daughters, Marla Ann DeYulis and Wendy Louise Berdomas; two sons, Slade Matthew and Seth Thomas; five grandchildren; six sisters—Madeline Cox, Nancy DeSantis, Elaine Sekerak, Mary Llewellan, Christine Robinson, and Diane DeYulls—and a brother, Francis. 

Memorial donations to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, for brain stem cancer research, were preferred, at Elm and Carlton streets, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203.