Magdalene Bavelas, fierce, radiant and generous, died peacefully on December 8, 2013 due to complications related to congestive heart failure. She was 59.
Dalene was born to James and Helen Bavelas in Salt Lake City on May 19, 1954. With two older brothers, Dalene was the daughter her mother always yearned for. Helen would spoil her with beautiful, handmade dresses as a girl, and heartfelt affection as a woman, while her father would pepper her with love and unsolicited advice. Some of Dalene’s fondest childhood memories were of sledding with her daddy while her big brothers were away at school.
Raised in Centerville, Dalene graduated from Viewmont High School, class of ‘72. Always adventurous, she moved to Alaska at 21. There she met and married David Erkin. They later divorced. In 1989, Dalene married George Miller. They’ve since divorced but remained close friends.
Dalene was the first person in her family to graduate college. After years of perseverance, she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication, with minors in history and journalism from Weber State University in 2004. Anyone who knew Dalene understood the significance of this accomplishment, as this was her lifelong dream. She met her challenges head-on and didn’t care who she offended.
As the daughter of Greek immigrants, Dalene treasured tradition and grit. She was a member of the Greek Orthodox church and very proud of her heritage. Dalene’s cooking was legendary, second only to her sense of humor. She worked at Clearfield Job Corp for nearly 14 years, mentoring at-risk youth with frank candor and questionable language. In 2011, she was moved beyond words when her students voted Ms. B the “most approachable staff member.”
For most of her life, Dalene was a single mother. Her only child, Alex Miller, 31, will remember her kind heart and empathetic nature. He’ll remember the power she had over a crowd, what a force of nature she was, full of perception, compassion and limitless generosity. She delighted in other’s successes and strove to lessen the burdens of loved ones. Dalene and her son shared a love of travel, movies, crafts, and Star Trek, to name a few. He will miss her boisterous laugh and epic spaghetti sauce, but most of all, her long-winded stories.
Dalene was preceded in death by her father James, and her dearest friend Carla Huckleberry. She is survived by her mother, Helen; brothers Spero and Andrew (Joanne) adoring nieces and nephews. and her son, Alex, as well as her love, Van Nielson and dear friends Toni Mae Dwyer, Irene Newton and Kara Opheikens.
A viewing will be held Thursday, December 12, 2013 at Russon Brother’s Mortuary at 295 N. Main St, Bountiful, where her family will receive visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. A Trisagion Prayer Service will be held at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be held Friday, December 13, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 279 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City. She will be laid to rest at Centerville City Cemetery following the service. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to TEA of Utah at www.TEAofUtah.org.
May her memory be eternal.
Dalene, you were one of a kind!