Shared Memories

Mary Alice Howell Bevilaqua was my wife and my best friend. She bravely fought cancer while always thinking about other people. She never complained and always kept it positive. The gift of having Mary Alice in my life for 52 years is one for which I will always be grateful. I miss Mary Alice more than words can express and greatly appreciate the love and support by all who have reached out at the news of her passing.

John Bevilaqua

The motto of the UDC is "Love, Live, Pray, Think, and Dare." There's one more unofficial part of life in the UDC that Mary Alice never failed to demonstrate: HAVE FUN. Another would be COURAGE - we have all marveled at the extraordinary spirit and fortitude it took for her to keep her illness private and carry on as though everything was just fine. She even came to my house last November and helped me prune some huge azaleas before they were to be dug up and moved. And yet she was the one ordering me to go sit down! She lived the UDC motto during her twenty-eight years as a member - including during her term as Division President from 1998 to 2000 - in spite of the diagnosis of bilateral breast cancer. She served in nearly every Chapter office, sometimes multiple times. The only Chapter office she did not hold was that of Treasurer. Her comment to an inexperienced but willing member taking that job: "Yes, you are out of your mind, but destined for sainthood because of it! "She was willing to take on another office for this upcoming term and had been duly elected as of our Chapter Anniversary Luncheon on May 10th, right before she went into the hospital. She was determined to do everything she wanted to do, including serving her Chapter and enjoying time with her "sistahs."

Sharon Steele-Smith

Mom was very involved in my schools when I was younger. Homeroom mom, helping with parties, ect. When I was in 2nd grade at Holy Innocent's Episcopal School we had a Halloween Party. There were tables set up with things like "brains" (wet noodles), etc. Most of the mom's that came to help came in their everyday clothes. But not my mom! She showed up in black stockings, a black leotard and had cut out 6 cardboard "legs" which she had attached to her leotard. She was a SPIDER! At the time I was mortified and informed her to "please just dress like the rest of the mom's".

Elisabeth Alexander, Loving Daughter

I knew Mary Alice as a very active member of our graduating Class of 1965 at Chattanooga Central High School. I went away to college and a 25-year military career. Even though I live in Washington State, about 7 years ago, I reconnected with my classmates and involved myself in maintaining the class contact database, class newsletter, etc. I built a class website and broadcast e-mail system. Mary Alice and I began exchanging e-mails and telephone conversations about class activities and much more. There seemed to be a very special connection, and our friendship grew to be one the closest I've ever had. Mary Alice knew about my military career and wanted to recommend me for Awards given by the Daughters of the Confederacy. Since I could document descended from a Civil War Veteran, she initially concluded I might qualify for three awards--interestingly enough I did because of an unusual assignment in South East Asia in the early 70s. It was the practice of the Daughters of the Confederacy only one award would be given for a period of service. Mary Alice pushed the recommendation through, and I received one award which I treasure. Periodically, Mary Alice and I discussed views on various topics, and those who know her well can guess one of those was 2nd Amendment rights. She seemed pleased to know I have a Washington concealed carry permit. Tennessee accepts Washington State permits, but Georgia does not. I consulted with Mary Alice about how I might get my handgun from Hartsfield Airport to Chattanooga on one of my trips--will leave it to your imagination on what she told me. We spoke often about her treatments and how she was feeling--she was an extraordinary trooper throughout, never complaining. It was great to see Mary Alice and John attended our 45th Class Reunion. See also attended the Dedication of a Tennessee Historical Marker for Chattanooga Central High School on Dodds Avenue. Mary Josephine Smith Bevilaqua, Mary's mother-in-law, graduated from Chattanooga Central High School in 1933 and was honored as the oldest living graduate at the Dedication. I miss you Miss Mary Alice, but I believe you are in a better place and will continue to be my special friend.

Bob Johnson

I was one of the sitters at Northside Hospital with Mary Alice. I feel so honored that God assigned me to one of his beautiful daughters and such an awesome resilient woman. Thank you for living a life of Peace and kindness.

Donna C. Salcedo

Having met Mary Alice & John for the first time at mutual friends 4th of July party I instantly knew this was a women I wanted to know better. She did bring the culinary hit of the party, her famous Mary Alice's trifle. We subsequently met for lunch, she shared her recipe telling met was a real "pain" to prepare & became friends over a far too short time. I still feel cheated with her passing.

Victoria Smith
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