Ethel Kutac Memorial Bench Installed at Blair Woods

By Jane Tillman

Ethel Kutac was a long-time Travis Audubon member who passed away in 2021. She was a regular fixture at Travis Audubon meetings and participated in many field trips, especially of a “Wednesday group” of friends. She loved getting out of town for Travis Audubon field trips and Texas Ornithological Society meetings and traveled overseas to bird and see the sights too. She served on the Bird Records Committee for Travis Audubon in the years before eBird became the database for sightings.

I was very fortunate to have known Ethel for several years, and hardly a day goes by where I don’t think of her. She was a great role model for aging independently and living with zest.  She stayed engaged and interested in her family, her friends, her church, travel, the Lady Longhorns, politics, world events and birds. She was fun and a great conversationalist— sharp as a tack until the end. Ethel rarely talked about her aches and pains, even as she became frail. She did complain that doctors’ appointments were getting in the way of her birding though.

The commemorative plaque reads: “In honor of our friend Ethel Kutac 1926 – 2021”

Ethel slowed down a bit with age, and loved to sit and rest a while. When Frances Cerbins took her to see the first phase of the accessible trail at Blair Woods, she remembers Ethel saying “You better put benches along the way, especially for the uphill parts.” Ethel would be so pleased to see the location of the memorial bench commemorating her life, up at the start of the trail behind the shed. It’s well situated for those waiting to be picked up, for conversation with other visitors, and to just sit and listen to birdsong and enjoy “the cathedral of nature” that Ethel loved so much. Next time you visit Blair Woods, sit with Ethel’s spirit a while. Thanks to all who contributed to Travis Audubon in her memory.

Are you new to Travis Audubon? Learn more about Ethel here and here.