Obituaries » Mary Cavalaris Mijalis
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June 22, 1929 - March 19, 2020
Mary Cavalaris Mijalis passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at the age of 90. Funeral service will be held at St. George Greek Orthodox Church followed by a graveside service at Greenwood Cemetery. Father Ioannis Krokos will officiate. Sadly, due to the virus pandemic, these will be private services for immediate family only. The family plans to have a celebration of Mary’s life at a later date. Family and friends may visit www.Rose-Neath.com and offer condolences and share fond memories.
Mary was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 22, 1929, to John and Sophia Cavalaris, both of whom were Greek immigrants. As a child, Mary and her family traveled many times to Greece, as her parents wanted the family to understand and experience their Greek culture. On one such occasion, Mary, her mother, and her three siblings were unable to return to the United States due to the invasion of Greece by Germany during World War II. To survive, they were forced to flee their family’s home village and take refuge in the nearby mountains. Mary, her mother, and her siblings were forced to remain in Greece for much of Mary’s childhood, during which time there was no ability to communicate with their father. The entire family ultimately reunited in their hometown of Knoxville. Thereafter, Mary met the love of her life, Alexander Sam Mijalis. They were married, moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, and had three sons, Sammy, Johnny, and Jimmy.
Early in her life, Mary was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Despite excruciating pain from this severe and debilitating condition, she never complained and lived life to its fullest. Mary/Mom/Yiayia was happiest when she was able to spend time with her family. She was a champion despite all the adversities and challenges she faced throughout her life.
She was a faithful and devout Christian and was a member of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church. She was a longtime member of the church choir and the Ladies Philoptochos Society. She was also a longtime member of the Daughters of Penelope.
Mary was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Alex; her parents; her brother, Demetrios Cavalaris; her sister, Jennie Peroulas and husband, Jim; and her brothers-in-law, John Cosse, Spiro Mijalis, and Gus Mijalis. She is survived by her sons, Sammy Mijalis and fiancé, Debby Birky, John Mijalis and wife, Lily, and James Mijalis and wife, Angela; sister, Christine Cosse; sisters-in-law, Alice Stravolemos and husband, Emanuel, and Stacy Mijalis; grandchildren, Marie Lipsky and husband, Scott, Jeanne Baca and husband, Juraj, Alexander Mijalis and wife, Daphne, Andrew Mijalis and wife, Carmen, Dean Mijalis and wife, Stephanie, Alex Mijalis, Eleni Mijalis, Courtney Smith and husband, Justin, and Hunter Birky and wife, Courtney. She is also survived by numerous great- grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Honoring Mary as pallbearers will be Alexander Mijalis, Andrew Mijalis, Dean Mijalis, Alex Mijalis, Hunter Birky, John Peroulas, and Pete Theo. Honorary pallbearers are Emanuel Stravolemos, George Mitchell, Juraj Baca, Scott Lipsky, Johnny Kastanos, Charlie Booras, Pat Booras, George Kleowdis, Dr. John Cavalaris, and Gus Kampas.
The family would like to thank all of Mary’s caregivers over the past several years for their kindness and compassion. The family would like to give special thanks to Donetta Johnson, Johnnie Clark, Sherri Stewart, Mimi Stinson, Veronica Wilson, Gloria Roberson, and the staff at Regional Hospice Care Group.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to St. George Greek Orthodox Church Building/Icon Fund, 1719 Creswell, Shreveport, Louisiana 71101.