Paul "PJ" Kulak

March 25, 1994 ~ April 25, 2022 (age 28)


Paul Anthony Kulak (PJ) passed away at home surrounded by family the afternoon of April 25th 2022 in Rutland Illinois.  He died of untreated congestive heart failure.  

PJ is survived by his parents Paul and Sally and his brother John Paul  whom he had a beautiful, typical brotherly love / hate relationship with & his fiance Megan Tunget. As well as Grandmothers Diane Stutts of Rutland Illinois, Helen Short of Galesburg Illinois, Grandfathers Irvin ¨Uncle Bud¨ Stutts of Las Vegas Nevada and Phillip Kulak of Orland Park Illinois (Patricia) , Godmother and Aunt Angela (Mimi)  Stutts, (Rolando), Uncle Phillip, Aunt Mary and Aunt Genevieve, Uncles Thomas Jefferey, John Jay, Stephen, and Clark and many, many,  cousins and great aunts and uncles too. 

Paul  Anthony Kulak (PJ) was the first child born to Paul Andrew and Sally Jeanine Kulak (Short) at Bromenn hospital  in Bloomington Illinois on March 25th 1994 and grew up in his family's home on East Broad Street in Rutland Illinois.

He was preceded in death by his namesake and great grandfather Anthony Certa, his Great Grandma whom he loved so dearly, Ann Certa, his Great Grandpa Thomas Short, and his great uncle Anthony Certa and his cousin Joe Burdi.

Paul attended the Bright Beginnings Preschool program in Minonk guided by his awesome teacher Jody Knepp. He attended Fieldcrest schools in Wenona, Toluca, and Minonk.  He later attended Regional Safe School  in Washburn IL guided by wonderful teachers and a woman he held the highest respect for, Phyllis Glazier whom he spoke fondly of even in his last days.  He received his GED from IVCC May 10th 2012. 

Paul participated in tee-ball, basketball, and baseball briefly during his elementary school years, but preferred outdoor sports with less competition.  He was a member of Sandy Ford Shooters Club in Streator and enjoyed paintballing and bb gun target shooting at home.  Paul enjoyed being outdoors, exploring the creek, fishing, hiking at state parks, 4 wheeling and dirt biking with both family and friends, and making people laugh.  He was interested in observing the moon, stars and all weather events.   Paul spent a lot of his teen years at Lake Wildwood with his Aunt Dona and Uncle Dan and extended family fishing, jet skiing, playing ¨bags¨ (cornhole),  water skiing while smoking a cigarette and watching the abundant wildlife there while he entertained all, young and old,  with his wit and charm. 

Paul enjoyed messing with people's minds, pushing people to their limit, making them think outside the box, and was always straightforward and  painfully honest.  ¨I know exactly where that line is and I dance on that line all day long,”  he said,  ¨. . . and people love me for it.¨ he told his parents.  His fiance Megan and friend Trey said, PJ  looked  deep inside  others and always knew how to make their day and make them laugh and feel like a kid again.   Paul had a very generous and kind heart and he loved to help all people. 

PJ, as we call him, since his first name is the same as his dads, had many jobs.  At age 7 he saw an advertisement for a paperboy in our local newspaper and begged his family to let him have the job.  Mom made him wait until he was 9.  In September 2006,  he was named paperboy of the month and later paperboy of the year for 2006.   He enjoyed a complimentary dinner for that award at Mona's restaurant of Toluca.  He received a trophy, and not one who enjoyed being recognized, he later smashed it to pieces. LOL.  He detasseled corn and babysat for local friends in the summer.  PJ worked at the Roanoke IGA as a stock boy too and charmed the elderly ladies shopping there.   He was one of the best employees Spring Green Lawn Service of Minonk ever had and they received many special requests from customers to only have him treat their lawn.  PJ worked for some time at Oak State Cookie factory as a mixer and loved to eat the Reeses (his favorite) for the Chips Ahoy cookies he was making. He also did factory work at James Hardie in Peru.   

PJ  left home for the first time  in December of 2019 to work for CyberDog Communications and  installed and sold Internet for Metra Net of Davenport Iowa. He later posted proudly on his Facebook that he served as Project manager for Highlight Construction in Iowa.  He is very proud of his work in Iowa away from home and finally out on his own ¨free to make all my own choices¨ he said.

Paul reluctantly returned home to Rutland in the  summer of 2021.

PJ had many accomplishments in his short life; In addition to paper boy of the year,  Pj won  first place in the Minonk VFW  # 7185 Women's Auxiliary Essay writing contest in 2006. His Essay was on ¨ The Goodness of America.¨  

He loved animals and rescued an injured  mourning dove in the road, who remained, nesting outside his window with young of its own for years.  He could stand beside the nest and speak to the dove and it did not fly away.  He rescued a beautiful all white injured kitten who is still a member of our little family. Ruth Chambers house was one of his favorite stops on his paper route so he could spend time with her dog Sam.   Apollo was his dog.  A beautiful black and white great dane that also led a very short life due to illness.  He planted a tree with Apollo's ashes in the backyard of his childhood home in Rutland.  It is growing strong and tall and is absolutely gorgeous in the fall.

Pj was very thrifty with his money as a young boy.  He saved money from all of his birthdays, Christmas, & other holidays,  and paper route money too and then proudly purchased his own dirt bike at age 12.

As a Cub Scout, in November of 2001 PJ organized an aluminum can drive in his little home town and donated almost $1000 to the Minonk Food Pantry.  He received his arrow of light from Cub Scouts of America in February of 2005. Once he received this highest award, he was done with Scouts. 

When he was earning good money out on his own in Iowa,  he bought gifts for his family; A lightweight vacuum for his Grandma ¨to make it easier for you grandma¨, a no lift water cooler for his mom ¨ so you don't have to lift those heavy water jugs anymore mom when I'm not here to do it for you¨, and an awesome huge smart TV for his dad  to enjoy while he was recovering from surgery. He was generous and incredibly thoughtful. 

PJ will be deeply missed by all who knew him. 
A casual celebration of life open to all will be Saturday May 21st  from 1:00pm-11:00pm at the Rutland American Legion  Post # 1121  @ the corner of US Route 251 and Broad Street Rutland IL.  61358 

Come and enjoy the photos and share your stories.  Food and Drink will be available to enjoy as you share memories of PJ. 

To send flowers to Paul "PJ" Kulak's family, please visit our floral store.


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