In Memory

Ada Zirjacks (Sutherland)

Ada Zirjacks (Sutherland)

Ada Kay Zirjacks Sutherland - Victoria, TX - a Victoria native and linchpin of the local community died in her home early Holy Saturday morning, April 16, 2022. Born Ada Kay Zirjacks to parents Winston Luther and NIxie Ladner Zirjacks, and raised in the same house where she spent the lst years of her life.  Mrs. Sutherland made her mark on her city early on, being elected president of the third grade Brownie troop of the Presbysterian Day School in 1950, and by age 15 leading a story-hour for young children every Saturday at what was then the Victoria Bronte Public Library.  As a senior in the new Victoria High Shool in 1958 -1959, she served as president of the student council, while also finding the time and the movitation to serve as captain of the drill team, the Victoriadores, also acting in high school productions as well as with local troupes, the Children's Creative Theatre and the Civic Theatre.  She also served as president ot the MAN group, a club of nine girls formed for the purpose of just having fun, all its members swornnevr to reveal the secret meaning of its acronymous name.  A dedicated performer, she took a six-workshop in drama at Trinity University one summer while in high school andand after graduating served as an apprentice worker at the Ally Theatre in Houston.

Ada studied at Victoria College, where her father was a longtime trustee, and then at Sam Houston State College.  It was in Huntsville that she met U.S. Army Lt. John R. McCormick of Corpus Christi, a West Point graduate.  The two of them were wed in March, 1962, soon thereafter decamping to Schweinfurt, Germany, wher he was stationed.  While in Germany, she gave birth to their first daughter, Bettina Marie.  After a short stint in Fort Knox Kentucky, the family moved to Paris (France, not Texas) for a year.  There Ada learned so-called kitchen French while shopping for food and deaing with merchants, as well as French cooking.  Whie in Europe, she sent tapes back home to the Zirjacks family recounting events from her daily life.  A military wife during the Vietnam War, Ada did not escape the heartaches of that time, with John doing two tours of duty.  On his return, he was deployed to Fort Hood, and they lived nearby in Temple, where their daughter Aimee Rene' was born.  Soon after he retired from the Army, and they moved to Corpus Chrisit in 1974. 

It was in Corpus that Ada found the calling that she would follow for many years.  Having  graduated in English, after the family's return to Texas, from what was now Sam Houston University, and obtained a teacher's certificate, she soon became director of religious education at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Episcopal School, teaching the children at the affiliated St. James Episcopal School all about their faith: "my faith is the framework by which I live my life," she told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times in and interview in 1990.  She was known for the elaborate Christms pageants she staged, as well as for her downright scary Hallowe'en haunted houses.

Ada and John divorced in 1992, and she moved back home to Victoria.  Before too long, in 1996, she was serving as youth minister for both St. Francis and Trinity Episcopal churches.  In that office, she organized many a missioin trip, including one to San Antonio in1997, to Honduras, for relief of hurricane victums in 2000: and to New York City, to help those suffering after 9/11, in 2002.  Most notoriously though, she started planing plastic flamingos in folks' yards at Christmastime, extorting cash from homeowners to have the tacky birds removed, all to raise money for the youth ministry.  Somehow, it worked.

Ada was inducted into the Bronte Club in 1997, joining her sister, Grace Faulker, and following in the footseps of their mother.  In 1999, she married her childhood sweetheart, Duncan Sutherland III.  Together they were active members of Trinity Episcopal Church, she with the youth ministry, he with the Looking at the Lectionary group, and both of them with Education for Ministry. 

After the deaths of her parents, they moved in the house she had grownup in at 603 North Main, along with Duncan's godson, Troy Henry Lindeburg.  Ada found great joy in welcoimng her friends and family into the old Zirjacks homestead, and even after her retirement from the youth ministry in 2006 did not stint in devoting her energies to the betterment ofher hometown. With Rev. Bur Dobbins and her sister, Grace, she started what they caled the sandwich outreach, bringing bagged sandwich meals to the indigent at local motels and government housing.  As program coordinator of the Pine Street Community Center, she brought an offshoot of New York City's Manhattan Art Program to town, offering free art programs every Saturday to children in one of Victoria's poorer neighborhoods.  She served a board member of Brownson Home as her father did before her, and a chairwoman of its child guidance committee spearheaded the bulding of a new playground there in 2016. When at last she retired into private life to backk the pound cakes she was known for and to knit prayer shawls for hospice patients, it can only be said that there was no one to replace her.

Ada is survived by her daughters Bettinna McCormick (Walter Benson) and Aimee (Gregory) Ford, brother Winston Luther "Chic" Zirjacks Jr (Judy) sster Grace (Thomas) Faulker, grandchildren: Victoria Constance, Walter Gant, and Ada Grace McBenson, and Estrella Sofia and Temple Antonia Ford: cousin Nic Harrison; nephews Greg and Johathan Faulkner and Winteon Luther Reed" Zirjacks III; Jason Hawn, wife Cari, and their children Polly David and Hannan; Heather LIndeburg and daughter Isla: brother-in-aw Bill Sutherland; and many other loving relatives,  She is predeceased by her husband, Duncan Sutherland III, parents Winston L. and NIxie Zirjacks and by Troy Lindeburg.

Donations may be made in her memory to the Winston L. and Nixie Zirjacks Endownment Fund at Victoria College or Trinity Episopa Church and School.

A funeral service is to be held at

Trinity Episcopal Church, 1501 N. Glass Street, Victoria, TX on June 3, 2022 at 2:00 PM

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04/25/22 09:03 AM #1    

Linda Anne Perry (Gillespie)

I read Ada Kay's obit yesterday. What a remarkable life of service! May she rest in God's peace.

04/26/22 09:56 AM #2    

Odin Toness, Jr.

I remember  two Adas,  one from high school where she seemed consumed by high school activities and distant. I began to know her better when we were both at Victoria Junior College for a year after HS graduation. She was sensitive, caring, intelligent.  I am saddened by her passing. 

04/28/22 08:49 AM #3    

Mike Abernathey


I love people that have no idea how wonderful they are and just wander around making the world 

a better place.

This was you, Ada. You not only made the world a better place, you brought sunshine into the life of everyone you touched. God has called one of his angels home. You are at peace in God's loving arms.

Till we meet again,


04/29/22 07:53 AM #4    

"Marie" Elizabeth Frerichs (Brandl)

Dennis and I cannot even add anything to Mike's comments.  She was a shining star among us all & Duncan was the love of her life.  May she Rest In Peace.

Marie & Dennis

04/29/22 10:25 AM #5    

"Brenda" Lee Fowlkes (Harris)

So many fond memories of Ada...she was smart, kind, funny, and a good friend. 

04/29/22 05:52 PM #6    

"Bill" H. McCleary

So many of the people, classmates and otherwise, who knew Ada must be having a struggling, wrenching time with finding out this news. I certainly am.  Reading her obituary obviously reveals her exceptionalism. But for those fortunate enough to be her friend and spend time with her, her character and warm kindness, so natural for her, just raised the bar to levels precious few humans attain.

When my family moved to Victoria in 1955, just before entering ninth grade, I knew absolutely nobody.  A lonely time for me, I got active at the old First Presbyterian Church downtown. Despite my having one of the worst singing voices in all history, I joined the Youth Choir there. Ada, despite being so young, was the choir director! I realized quickly she must have achieved enormous responsibility trust from the church adults, and, it was obvious she was extraordinarily popular with her peers, a true "big person on campus".  Yet, despite my being a new nobody (and with a horrid singing voice), Ada immediately and always thereafter treated me like we'd been dear friends since birth.

That was Ada. And we're all going to miss her dearly.

Bill McCleary


04/30/22 05:54 PM #7    

James "Barney" Phillips

Bill, I felt the same way when I showed up as a new senior in 1958.  I remember Ada's kindness as well.



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