Carolyn Gavalas, 70, died Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at her daughter's residence in Vinton following a short battle with cancer. Memorial visitation will be held from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, at Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home in Vinton.
Carolyn was born Feb. 6, 1949, in Vinton, Iowa, the daughter of Frank B. and Mary Jean Hurlbut Carmen. She was a 1967 graduate of Washington High School in Vinton. She graduated from the University of Iowa in 1971. On June 6, 1976, Carolyn was united in marriage to James N. "Jim" Gavalas at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Waterloo. He preceded her in death on May 2, 1999.
Carolyn began working as a medical technologist at Virginia Gay Hospital in Vinton in 1977. She became the laboratory manager in 1993, a position she held until her retirement in 2013, and a position she left so she could care for her great-nephew, Roman.
Carolyn was a longtime member of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Waterloo, serving as church treasurer. She had recently transferred her church membership to Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Mason City.
Carolyn enjoyed crafts including scrapbooking and cross stitch, reading and genealogy. She was a fan of pop culture, including live concerts and movies (especially featuring Johnny Depp). She also loved traveling, especially to visit her ancestral homeland of Ireland. She was actively involved with and honorary Grandma to her three great-nephews, Ian, Hudson and Roman. She coordinated events for the Class of 1967. She loved spending time with her family and friends. Carolyn was not afraid to speak her mind, was very loved and will be missed by many.
Carolyn is survived by her beloved Maltese, Stella Rosa; her daughter, Stephanie Gavalas and her fiance, Ryan Justice, and granddogs, Tuna and Sammie of Vinton; sister, Nancy Jane Carmen and niece kitty, Charli of Vinton; sister-in-law, Kitty Gavalas of Saginaw, Mich.; her nieces and nephews and their children, Nikki (Jeff) Hartwick of Saginaw, and their children, Allison and Emily; Mark (Becky) Goodell of Blue Springs, Mo.; Matt (Monica) Goodell of Vinton and their children, Sierra, Kaitlyn, Lexi and Maci; Jolene (Turner) McGarity of San Antonio, Texas, and their children, Anika and Mac; Drew (Lindsy) Sallee of Vinton and their children, Ian, Hudson and Roman; and special friend, John McElroy, of Topeka, Kan.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her mother- and father-in-law, Nicholas and Helen Gavalas; and brother-in-law, Conn Gavalas.
A memorial fund has been established.
Van Steenhuyse-Russell Funeral Home of Vinton is caring for Carolyn and her family. Condolences may be left at www.vsrfh.com.