Ralph Stanley Marek Sr.
Ralph S. Marek, age 95 went to be with his lord on April 25, 2020. He is now reunited with his spouse and love of almost 65 years, Martha Madeline. Having met in the Navy during World War II they forged a relationship that was a model to his family.
Best known as an Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Ralph's enduring legacy was that he cared about people and always saw the best in them, no matter their circumstances or where they were from. This is evidenced by his unrelenting desire to build a thriving business where the employees were considered its greatest strength. His life's work was to improve the lives of the less fortunate because of the poverty he and his family had experienced growing up during the Great Depression. One of his favorite sayings was that the good lord had given him and his family many blessings and he felt that it was his job to share those blessings with the less fortunate.
Ralph was born to John A. Marek and Hermina Marek in Yoakum, Texas on April 10, 1925. Being raised in a Czech community Ralph spoke the native language and didn't learn English until beginning school. Six years after his birth, Ralph's parents lost their farm through foreclosure in the midst of the Depression. After graduating from high school at age 15, he left Yoakum in 1941 to join his brothers John and Bill. They had moved to Houston and were in the process of founding Marek Brothers Company. That was soon interrupted by World War II and all three brothers put the business on hold to serve their country in the armed forces. After they returned from service they picked up where they left off and the Marek Brothers companies became the largest interior contractor in not only Texas but the South, with branches in Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, Harlingen, and Atlanta, Georgia. Ralph and his brothers also founded Stanley Construction Company which developed several subdivisions and built homes in Harris, Montgomery and Waller Counties, as well as Blue Bell Place Builders a residential rental company. These companies were built on the founder's credo that the customer and the employees of the company come first. Until recently Ralph served as the Chairman of the Board of the Marek Family of Companies which now employs in excess of 5000 skilled craft workers.
Beyond his working life Ralph had a rare Spiritual Life. In 1950 he attended a weekend retreat at the Holy Name Retreat House on Bunker Hill. The Passionist Priests encouraged the retreatants to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit who would help them in making decisions in their personal and business lives. Ralph took their advice and began a spiritual partnership with the Holy Spirit. For the rest of his life Ralph and this partnership with the Holy Spirit grew his involvement with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul which led to the building of the Vincentian Service Center on the Gulf Freeway and assisting countless people and organizations with food and financial support. Ralph was the driving force behind the Marek's involvement in the Circle Lake Retreat Center, a 45 acre facility now owned by the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston, as well the construction of the Bonita House of Hope, a 200 bed facility on Parker Road that provides transitional housing to women with substance abuse problems and their children. The Holy Spirit also led to the Marek Family's decision to donate their homes on Marek Road to the Missionary Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa on Marek Road. This compound includes a 12-bedroom retirement facility and Ralph's house which will now be donated to the Carmelites. Ralph also gave the Holy Spirit credit for his and his brothers decision to form the Marek Family Foundation which provides grants to organizations that assist the poor. Beyond all of these endeavors, Ralph spent countless hours helping the less fortunate in personal ways that he saw as part of his calling from the Holy Spirit. Ralph always credited his charitable endeavors, whether large or small, to the Holy Spirit and the Marek Family, never to himself.
Through his relationship with the Holy Spirit, Ralph could see that he could not only help others monetarily but spiritually as well. He encouraged his relatives and friends to build their own relationship with the Holy Spirit earlier rather than later in their lives. As an encouragement, Ralph authored a book about his relationship with the Holy Spirit and has distributed over five 5000 blessed Holy Spirit medals over the last 15 years. It is Ralph's wish that all who attend his memorial service be given his book and a Holy Spirit medal if they do not already have one.
Besides the other endeavors of running a business and helping the less fortunate Ralph made time to serve on the Advisory Boards of the Dominican Sisters, St. Pius X High School, the Diocesan Development Board and both the Assumption and St. John Neumann St. Vincent de Paul Societies (his favorite charity. Ralph and his wife, Martha, were inducted into the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in October of 1984.
The family would like to give a special thanks to his caregiver of many years, Maria Diaz. Her hard work and dedication added many quality years to Ralph's life.
Ralph is survived by his two sons and their spouses R. Stan Marek and wife Reinnette; Tom Marek and wife Sunghee; He is also survived by five grandchildren, Thomas Neil, Amanda Holly, Michael, Ben and Elisabeth and a great grandchild Avery. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society svdphouston.org
. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions there will be no funeral. A celebration of Ralph's life will be held later this summer.